On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a public stand that Joe Biden cannot duplicate, even though it is essentially a symbolic “virtue signal” for Trudeau.
Biden continues to allow more than a half-million barrels of Russian crude oil to be imported to the US each day, even though it has been clearly shown that America has the resources available to supply all of its own energy needs and export substantial amounts around the world.
Trudeau announced his country is banning Russian oil because the industry has dramatically benefitted “Putin and his oligarchs.” He received glowing reports from international media as a result, with Global News of Canada saying Trudeau “wants Biden to follow suit.”
However, the ban ends up being not much more than a public relations opportunity. Canada has not imported any crude oil from Russia in years. On Monday, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told the Canadian Parliament that the country had not purchased any Russian oil since 2019.
Even though Trudeau himself quietly admitted that Canada has “imported minimal amounts in recent years,” media reports passed over that fact to give maximum volume to the message being sent to Putin and Russian strongmen.
Reporting from the BBC and Reuters did not discuss the lack of any imports of Russian crude oil and instead focused on $228 million spent on other Russian energy in 2021. The angle in the reporting created an impression that the sacrifice being made by Canada is much larger than it is.
The BBC went so far as to say that the new ban on Russian oil imports would “have a major impact” on Russia and its aggressive invasion of Ukraine. However, the reporting did not cover Trudeau’s ban and does not cover natural gas or energy products other than crude oil.
The Wall Street Journal reported that its analysis revealed that the Canadian ban is expected to have “zero impact” on the Canadian economy.
Many Western governments have spent the last week condemning Russian aggression, and rightfully so. Time will tell if the aid to the Ukrainian resistance will be primarily symbolic or more beneficial to the people fighting against Putin’s invasion.