WASHINGTON, Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The incoming Liberal government in Canada is called on to move away from an oil-based economy, the Natural Resources Defense Council said.
The Liberal Party of Canada defeated the Conservatives in national elections Monday, pushing Prime Minister Stephen Harper's party into the opposition and Justin Trudeau into the leadership position in Ottawa.
Anthony Swift, director of the NRDC in Canada, said the incoming administration should move closer to a low-carbon economy for the sake of prosperity.
"The new Liberal government in Ottawa has an unprecedented opportunity to move Canada away from the dirty fuels of the past and toward a clean energy future that will bring jobs, prosperity and security for all Canadians," he said in a statement.
Low oil prices are hurting a Canadian economy that's dependent in large part on oil and gas for revenue. Apart from a weak energy market, most of the Canadian exports head to a U.S. sector where domestic shale production has reduced imports of foreign reserves.
Statistics Canada reports a national average unemployment rate for September at 7.1 percent, relatively unchanged for four straight months. Real gross domestic product in Canada increased by 0.3 percent in July, the last full month for which data are available. While the oil and gas sector helped drive momentum forward, July's rate compared with a 0.4 percent rise in June.
Harper's administration had worked to bring Asian and European investments into the Canadian oil sector. Tim McMillan, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said the industry would work with the Trudeau administration on finding a balanced approach to the economy.
"The oil and natural gas sector is crucial to the economic health of our country as it creates jobs, provides significant government revenues and helps create prosperity for all Canadians," he stressed in an emailed statement.
From a U.S. perspective, the State Department said the energy relationship with Canada would not be swayed by politics. On the Keystone XL pipeline planned from Canada through the United States, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the project would be judged on the merits of a "very exhaustive" federal review.