Canadian oil and business executives are well-represented in the delegation travelling to China with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, since oil exports are expected to be high on the government's agenda.A delegation assigned to Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver includes eight mining or oil and gas companies.Harper's own delegation includes a wider businesses focus, with top executives from Air Canada, SNC Lavalin and Bombardier, Manulife and Scotiabank.Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz will also visit China.China's total investment in Canada used to add up to millions of dollars, but since 2009 has increased to up to $20 billion.It has come with a shift in this country from relying solely on the United States as the only buyer of Canadian oil and gas — something Harper emphasized repeatedly when U.S. President Barack Obama delayed a decision and then denied a permit to TransCanada for its Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would have sent oil from Alberta through the U.S. to the coast of Texas.
The president would like to pretend there are no consequences to his non-decision on the pipeline. He's wrong. These talks, while always an option that would be considered, are moving forward faster as a direct result of the president's delays.