Ottawa – Should Canada work with the OPEC oil cartel? And would Canada be at the table when OPEC meets Russia next week?
These were some of the questions put to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by reporters during his daily coronavirus briefing from Rideau Cottage, Ottawa, on April 3.
Asked about the scheduled OPEC+ meeting on Monday, April 6, and if Canada would be taking part in those talks, Trudeau said, “I can assure you that we’ve been coordinating closely with the United States and other allies in looking at the challenges paced by OPEC right now. We recognize that this catastrophically low oil prices are having an impact on many people’s economies, and indeed, on Canadian oil sectors. We’re trying to coordinate, to ensure that we make sure that our economy doesn’t face the kinds of challenges that its been facing. We need to continue to support workers across the country. We will continue to work internationally to try and impact on the difficult decisions made by OPEC in the past weeks. And we will keep you posted on that.
Regarding the support package for the oil sector, Trudeau said, “We are continuing to work with provinces, with particularly the province of Alberta, to ensure that we’re giving support to workers who are in particularly distressed industries. The wage subsidy and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit will be help to people right across the country, including in the oil sector, but we recognize that certain industries are facing much greater stresses than others, and we will continue to work with that, with the provinces. I can highlight that in our conversation last night, the premiers and I did discuss this. I heard directly from Premier Kenney, and others, on the importance of support to the oil sector, and we’re going to continue to work with them.
In recent days there’s been talk in the media of the formation of a North American oil cartel, as a counter to OPEC.
Asked if Canada is at the table on Monday, or if Canada is dealing with the U.S., and the US is dealing with OPEC, Trudeau responded, “We are continuing our conversations with the international community, including with OPEC. There have been communications between OPEC and Canada. We will continue to stress that we need to work together, as a world, to work together to get through this economic crisis, as well as a health crisis. We will continue to insist on that.”
Asked if Canadian producers should cut production further, and whether it should coordinate with the price-setting cartel that has caused many of the current problems in the global pricing of oil, Trudeau said, “Well, I can assure you that conversations are ongoing with the United States on how we can work together to ensure that we are countering some of the measures being brought in by OPEC, and we will continue those conversations.”