Energy, Royal Commission on

The Royal Commission on Energy (Borden Commission) was established (1957) by the government of John DIEFENBAKER under chairman Henry BORDEN, the president of Brazilian Traction, Light and Power Co, Ltd, to investigate "a number of questions relating to sources of energy."

The most important issue before the commission was the demand by the Alberta independent oil producers to find a market for their crude oil by building a pipeline from Edmonton to Montréal. Their opponents, the large, international oil companies, found it more profitable to use imported oil in their Montréal refineries.

Probably the most influential individual at the hearings was Walter J. Levy, a New York oil consultant, who proposed that the pipeline not be built and that Alberta oil be exported to the US while Montréal continued to be supplied from abroad. In its reports (1958 and 1959), the commission accepted this recommendation, called the National Oil Policy, thereby securing the market west of the Ottawa Valley for western oil producers. The NATIONAL ENERGY BOARD, proposed by the commission to administer the policy, was established by Parliament in 1959. The NOP, established in 1961, remained in effect until the events of the 1970s precipitated dramatic changes in ENERGY POLICY.