Canadians fund foreign threats through a law that empowers authoritarians and armed groups.

Candian statesmen can abolish that rule now.

For 40 years the West's major threats and crises have come from oil states.

ISIS. Al Qaeda. Putin. Assad. The Syrian refugee crisis. Gaddafi. Saddam. 9/11. Darfur. The Saudis’ spread of an extreme anti-Western ideology. The Soviets’ surge ahead in the nuclear arms race. Iran’s incessant support for terrorism.

The West has financed these threats and crises by buying oil from authoritarians and armed groups. The West will face ever more energy instability and national security threats if it continues to buy oil from violent and coercive men.

We no longer need to buy oil from those men.

Better policies will require no military action, no changes in diplomatic relations, no new treaties, no new international bodies—only determined, principled action.

A Clean Trade Act will taper off Canadian imports of oil and other natural resources from all authoritarian regimes and failed states.

Parliament should pass a Clean Trade Act now.

A North American Clean Trade transition away from authoritarian oil would take months and would be almost costless.

- Nick Butler, former Vice President of BP and Energy Columnist for The Financial Times

By passing a Clean Trade Act, Canada will only change its own laws, for its own people, on its own soil. The troops can stay home.

Canadians can say that who rules in oil-rich countries is ‘none of our business’; but autocrats and armed groups will get ‘none of our business’ for oil.

With Clean Trade, Canada will counter the ‘Western imperialist’ narrative that recruits so many extremists.

Canada will peacefully affirm the rights of the peoples of resource-rich countries—as it gets out of business with those who oppress and attack the people.

Clean Trade can also further other priorities, like increasing the value of Canadian oil on world markets, developing Canada’s own energy resources, and furthering an ‘Authoritarians to Alternatives’ plan to replace today’s imports of blood oil with greener energy sources.

Parliament should pass a Clean Trade Act now.

Today's Oil Curse

Countries where oil arrived before democracy suffer more authoritarianism, more civil conflict and more extremism--and their violence regularly spills over to the West.

Unlike the rest of the developing world, oil states are no freer, no richer, and no more peaceful today than they were even in 1980.

Oil-dependent Authoritarian and Failed States

Tomorrow's Oil Curse

The ‘arc of oil’ from the Middle East to Africa will experience a youth bulge as it gets hotter and more crowded.

This will mean more instability from uprisings, armed conflict and terrorism—while authoritarians and armed groups gain more powerful weapons and drones.

Business as usual for oil will produce increasing energy and security threats to the West.

Data from Michael Ross
Data from Michael Ross
The Middle East is the worst it’s been for 50 years, and faces unprecedented bloodshed

-CIA Director John Brennan, March 2016

Why is this happening?

An archaic law turns oil into unaccountable power: ‘Might Makes Right’.

All countries today still make it legal to buy oil from whoever can control the wells by force. ‘Might Makes Right’ forces consumers to do business with the world’s most repressive and violent actors. Because Canada's law says that coercive control over oil will win large revenues, Canadian law incentivizes armed conflict over the wells and empower petrocrats to stay in power.

Last year Canada imported over 400 liters of authoritarian and conflict oil for each Canadian citizen.

Every country's default law for the oil of other countries is, ‘Whoever controls it by force can sell it to us.’

Because of this bad old law, consumers' cash flows to whoever can keep military control over oil wells overseas. Authoritarians and armed groups use this money to escape public accountability by buying off threats and crushing dissent.

Coercion there creates legal property rights here. That violates fundamental market principles.

It also turns oil into the largest source of unaccountable power in the world.

The better, modern rule for resource trade: A country's resources belong first to its people.

All governments must be accountable to their citizens when they privatize resources (as in Canada) and when they sell resources to foreigners.

Popular Resource Sovereignty

Leaders worldwide already publicly affirm popular resource sovereignty. Its language is already enshrined in major treaties ratified by nearly every country (Canada, the US, China, India, etc.) covering 98% of the world’s population. The principle is entirely compatible with resource privatization.

Test for Popular Resource Sovereignty: Can citizens hold officials accountable for resource decisions without fearing for their liberty or their lives (e.g., Freedom House ‘Free’ or ‘Partly Free’).

Today over 50% of the world’s traded oil is exported without any accountability to the people. This means this oil is being stolen from the people.

Nations like Canada that believe in popular sovereignty and market freedom should not buy oil that’s been stolen from the citizens of other countries.

Passing a Clean Trade Act is the best way for Canada to stand with the peoples of the world, and to stop adding fuel to the fire in regions like the Middle East. A Clean Trade Act is also entirely WTO-compatible.

Historic Global Leadership

300 years ago, ‘Might Makes Right’ was the rule for all of international law.

300 years ago, 'Might Makes Right' was the international rule even for human beings: ‘whoever can control them by force can sell them to us.’ This was the rule made the Atlantic slave trade legal.

In that violent era, ‘Might Makes Right’ also made colonial rule and apartheid legal.

‘Might Makes Right’ for natural resources is one of the few remnants of the old, violence-based international system.

The next campaign against the law that once authorized the slave trade, colonial rule and apartheid can begin now.

Continuing business as usual with ‘Might Makes Right’ for oil will mean sending trillions more to increasingly dangerous foreigners.

By abolishishing this anti-market law, statesmen can show that Canada respects the rights of peoples everywhere, while leading the world to greater freedom and security.

Parliament should pass a Clean Trade Act now.


Contact: Leif Wenar, PhD

Created By
Leif Wenar

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