Fact: All pencils in Canada look like this.
Fact: All pencils in Canada look like this.

Dear America,

How are you? We are fine. It’s been a bit warmer than usual up our way. But not too bad, considering.

I wanted to check in with you about the Keystone XL pipeline proposal that many of you seem to be rather upset about, and actually ping you for a bit of neighborly advice. While some of us on this side of the border really want Secretary Kerry to give Keystone the thumbs-up, many of us are pretty cool on the idea.

The truth is, just beneath our mild-mannered veneer, we Canadians are a tormented people. Here’s why.

Unlike you -- with your Netflix, and Apple, and Facebook, and Boeing, and General Electric and so on -- we have a resource economy. Since our early days as the global leader in the beaver-pelt industry, we've cut down trees, and dug up rocks, and pumped stuff out of the ground, and sold it to you -- and others -- so you could turn it into more useful things like furniture, appliances, houses, suburbia, and so on.

Today, thanks to our oil sands, our fossil fuel sector is going gangbusters. In 2010, energy accounted for 6.8 percent of Canada’s GDP, with oil and gas contributing roughly half of that amount. This is in large part thanks to you. Even without Keystone XL, we are already your No. 1 supplier of imported petroleum — we more than double Saudi Arabia's contribution.

Fossil fuels literally keep the lights on in these parts, put bread on the table for hundreds of thousands of us, and provide critical government revenue that we have come to depend on for hospitals, schools, and other social services. But we’re just starting to realize the growing risk and uncertainty associated with this economic model.

Which is why we’re so ... conflicted.