Skip to: Content
Skip to: Site Navigation
Skip to: Search


Gas prices a top issue for US-Canada-Mexico summit

Gas prices, Mexican oil exports, and Keystone pipeline should figure prominently in Obama's summit with Canada's Harper and Mexico's Calderon. High gas prices threaten fragile US recovery and Obama's reelection. 

By Mark S. SmithAssociated Press / April 2, 2012

A commuter drives past a gas station signage displaying current prices for self serve and full serve gasoline in La Jolla, Calif., last month. High gas prices in the US will make energy a top issue at Obama's summit with North American leaders Monday.

Mike Blake/Reuters/File

Enlarge

WASHINGTON

Painfully high gas prices are the backdrop as President Barack Obama convenes a summit Monday with leaders from Mexico and Canada that aims to boost a fragile recovery and grapple with thorny energy issues.

Skip to next paragraph

The session at the White House is meant to make up for a planned meeting last November on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific summit. Obama ended up meeting just with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper when Mexican President Felipe Calderon's top deputy was killed in a helicopter crash.

Sure to feature prominently in Monday's Oval Office session: Mexico's role as a major oil exporter and the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada that Obama has shelved pending further review.

Republicans denounced Obama's move as a blow to job-creation and U.S. energy needs. But he maintains GOP leaders in Congress forced his hand by insisting on a decision before an acceptable pipeline route was found.

The pipeline would link Alberta's oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, but environmentalists fear both its local impact and a major uptick in greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.

Harper has voiced disappointment with Obama's decision. He also visited China in February to explore alternatives. Canada has the world's third-largest oil reserves — more than 170 billion barrels — after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and daily production of 1.5 million barrels from the oil sands is expected to rise to 3.7 million by 2025.

Trade also topped the North American summit agenda, with Obama hoping that booming exports will help drive the U.S. recovery. The White House also listed growth and competitiveness, citizen security and climate change as key issues, along with the agenda for the next summit on the docket, the hemispherewide Summit of the Americas later this month in Cartagena, Colombia.

Obama, Harper and Calderon are well-known to each other from international gatherings — but are headed in different electoral directions.

While Obama faces a tough re-election battle for the next seven months, Calderon is term-limited. The battle to succeed him formally kicked off last week and will culminate with Mexican elections July 1. The main issue is the deadly war his government has waged with drug cartels, which has claimed an estimated 47,000 lives.

By contrast, Harper, who has led Canada since 2006, appears secure in his job, having led his Conservatives from minority status to a majority in Parliament in elections last May. He doesn't have to face voters again for four years.

Another reason Obama might envy Harper: thanks to that majority, the budget Harper's government introduced last week should pass easily, including its budget cuts designed to eliminate Canada's deficit by 2015.

Read Comments

View reader comments | Comment on this story

  • Weekly review of global news and ideas
  • Balanced, insightful and trustworthy
  • Subscribe in print or digital

Special Offer

 

Editors' picks

Doing Good

 

What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Endeavor Global, cofounded by Linda Rottenberg (here at the nonprofit’s headquarters in New York), helps entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Linda Rottenberg helps people pursue dreams – and create thousands of jobs

She's chief executive of Endeavor Global, a nonprofit group that gives a leg up to budding entrepreneurs.

 
 
Become a fan! Follow us! Google+ YouTube See our feeds!