Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney brought up Canada three times during his debate with President Barack Obama Tuesday night.
Romney attacked Obama for not approving the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada's oil sands to Texas refineries, while praising the 15 per cent tax rate for businesses brought in by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government. You can see video of both exchanges above.
"We’re going to bring that pipeline in from Canada," Romney said. "How in the world the president said no to that pipeline? I will never know."
Obama ignored the pipeline jab the first time around, but Romney would persist. "I will fight to create more energy in this country, to get America energy secure. And part of that is bringing in a pipeline of oil from Canada," Romney asserted.
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"With respect to this pipeline that Governor Romney keeps on talking about, we’ve — we’ve built enough pipeline to wrap around the entire earth once," Obama said. "So, I’m all for pipelines. I’m all for oil production. What I’m not for is us ignoring the other half of the equation," Obama declared, referring to newer forms of energy such as wind power.
Obama did not, however, directly address his decision to deny a permit in January of this year for Keystone. The President acted upon a recommendation from The State Department which argued that there had not yet been sufficient time to assess whether the project was in the "national interest."
Many have speculated that if Obama wins in November he will revive the contentious pipeline, avoiding the ire of voters concerned about the environmental consequences of the project.
Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, has said that, if elected, their administration would OK Keystone on its first day in office.
Ryan has also been a vocal fan of Canada's corporate tax policies, a view which was reiterated by Romney during Tuesday's debate.
"Canada’s tax rate on companies is now 15 per cent," Romney said. "Ours is 35 per cent. So if you’re starting a business, where would you rather start it?"
Obama seemed to agree that Canada has the right idea. "Both Governor Romney and I agree actually that we should lower our corporate tax rate. It’s too high," Obama said.
Canada's corporate tax rate is actually closer to 26 per cent when provincial rates are added to the equation, but Canada does have one of the lowest rates for business in the G7, according to analysis by The Wall Street Journal of Calgary economist Jack Mintz's calculations.
As for Romney's own tax plan, a recent paper from Reed College economist Kimberly Clausing found it would create 150,000 new jobs in Canada. The jobs would largely come as a result of the repeal of the repatriation tax, which requires businesses to pay tax on profits they bring home from abroad.
While the details of Romney's tax plan are notoriously difficult to nail down, it seems certain that regardless of who wins the White House, the next President will be looking to Canada not only for energy, but for fiscal advice as well.
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