Today (June 10), oil prices rose above US$71 per barrel. That's more than double the annual low of US$33.87 last winter.
Petroleum prices often rise in the summer, but the pace of the recent uptick has the potential to slow an economic recovery. It's not good news for the B.C. tourism and film industries. That's because higher oil prices inevitably push up the value of our dollar because Canada has become a petrostate, thanks to the oilsands.
When oil shot up to US$147 per barrel last year, it had a devastating impact on international trade.
This afternoon, the new B.C. Liberal cabinet will be sworn in. The B.C. Liberal ideology has been centred on turning Vancouver into a "gateway" for trade from Asia. This has resulted in massive public investments in infrastructure projects, including a $1.4-billion expansion to Vancouver International Airport.
The province has also suggested that there will be a shortage of industrial land for port operations.
But what if this ideology misses the mark in the same way that Marxist ideology missed the mark for the former Soviet bloc?
What if oil prices keep rising, and we end up with far more regional trade and far less trans-Pacific trade? Will B.C. have foolishly bet the farm on converting agricultural land into roadspace to ship containers from Asia?
Will Port Metro Vancouver have foolishly secured agricultural land to store containers from Asia when, in fact, there won't be so many containers coming from Asia in the future?
These are important public-policy questions. We'll have more on this topic in the print edition of the Georgia Straight, which will be distributed across Metro Vancouver on Thursday (June 11).