In Canada, now a major oil producer from Alberta’s tar sands, polls are jumping about nervously, as Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper seemed up in April, then down in July. Harper has been in power since 2006, so “regime fatigue” is judged to be a large factor in the public’s ambivalence toward him. The fall in the price of the commodity that accounts for a quarter of the country’s export revenue and nearly 10 percent of its GDP is not his fault ”” but it’s happened on his watch. This will only aggravate the fatigue. Elections are in October; a credible critique of Harper’s economic policy at a time of falling revenues could tip it for the opposition.
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari doesn’t have to face an election soon ”” he just won one. But like other leaders from oil-producing nations, he does have to cope with a price slump in the commodity, which comprises 80 percent of the government’s revenue. It has meant civil servants in most states are owed months of pay; capital projects have been frozen; and an already restive and divided country shows more signs of revolt.
The turmoil is felt by countries throughout the Middle East ”” by those desperately reliant on oil revenue (Iraq, Syria and Libya) and those with vast riches (Saudi Arabia).
And yet the Russian Federation, and Scotland buck this trend. Their leaders are the Teflon Kids of the oil slump: Hit by sliding prices but not public scorn.