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Canada-U.S. oil and gas relations, 1958 to 1974 Nemeth, Tammy Lynn


While there were overtures from each country to develop a more formal accord to govern the trade of oil and natural gas at different times since 1958, Canada rejected that option in 1974 when it decided to phase out oil exports to the U.S. The main purpose of this research is to trace the development and evolution of Canada-U.S. oil and gas relations from the beginning of the informal continental relationship in 1959, through attempts to formalize a continental oil and gas agreement in the late 1960s, to the initial reversal of continentalism by Canada in 1974. This study examines and compares the changing influence of the explanatory variables of interest groups, international forces, national security, economics, ideas, and personalities on the energy decision- and policy-making processes of Canada and the U.S. between 1958 and 1974. Four key decisions or events that can be considered turning points in the Canada-U.S. oil and gas relationship are analysed and include: Canada's exemption to the American Mandatory Oil Import Program (MOIP); Canada's National Oil Policy (NOP); the near revocation of Canada's MOIP exemption; and Canada's decision to phase out oil exports. These events and relationships are situated in the larger context of interdependence, intergovernmental and transgovernmental relations, and the altered bureaucratic structures of governments in both countries over this period of time. Although decisions concerning Canada-U.S. oil and gas relations, and the pursuit and reversal of continentalist policies, were influenced by concerns regarding the pressure of various interest groups, international forces, national security, and changing economic and ideological circumstances; in the period examined here, the personalities of and personal relationships between Presidents and Prime Ministers, and the actions of key officials, as well as their transgovernmental networks across the border, often made the difference in determining what policy or approach was chosen when and why.

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