Canada History

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Prehistory | 2 Worlds Meet | New France | England Arrives | Clash of Empires | Revolution | British America | Reform/Revolt | Responsible Government | Confederation | Nation Building | Laurier | The Great War | Roaring 20's | Great Depression | WWII | The Peace | Cold War | Trudeau | PC's in Power | Modern Canada

3 Wisemen | Trudeaumania | October Crisis | Bilingualism | Petro Canada | 72 Super Series | Wage & Price Controls | 1976 Olympics | PQ Comes to Power | Interlude | Western Alienation | 1980 Referendum | The Constitution | Changing of the Guard

As the seventies began and world economic relationships and dynamics began to change, one of the first major events was the formation of OPEC or the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Although Canada did not belong to OPEC, oil had become a major export of Western Canada. Many felt that big corporations controlled the energy sector in Canada and that Canadians were not fully benefitting from the increasing amounts of oil that was going to the U.S. and the amount that was being charged for the oil in Eastern Canada.

's government decided that they needed a window into the oil industry in order to assess and control Canada's valuable natural resources. The Canadian Parliament passed the Petro-Canada Act in 1975 establishing a Crown Corporation to meet these targets. Many in the Alberta Oil industry felt that this was an unwelcomed intrusion into the business world and campaigned to have Petro-Canada and its activities restricted.

The largest source of Oil in Canada was in the Alberta Tar Sands which was much more difficult and expensive to get the oil out f then a normal well hole. in 1978, Petro-Canada invested in Alberta's Syncrude which became the largest producer of the Tar Sands and held a 12 percent ownership position.

In 1979 Petro-Canada bought Pacific Petroleum, an Alberta based coming and then partner with Chevron, Gulf and Mobil to explore the Hibernia oilfield in the Atlantic off the coast of Newfoundland. Over then next 5 years Petro-Canada continued to expand its exploration and drill operations well growing it's retail gas operations across the country. In 1981 Petro-Canada bought Petrofina, in 1983 BP Canada and in 1984 discovered the Terra Nova oilfield off the east coast.

When the Tories were elected under Brian Mulroney, they responded to the oil industry and provincial governments wishes that the Federal Government get out of the oil business and Mulroney began to privatize Petro Canada.

Petro-Canada came to represent the federal/provincial battle for control over the oil resources in Canada and where the two Federal governments stood on the issue.