Revoking of Keystone XL permit a blow to Canada’s oil sector

by Stephen Dafoe

Shortly after his inauguration as America’s 46th president, Joe Biden signed several executive orders, including revoking the Keystone XL permit.

Premier Jason Kenney, who held a press conference late Wednesday afternoon, expressed his disappointment in the decision.

“The United States is our most important ally and trading partner. Amongst all of the Canadian provinces, Alberta has the deepest economic ties to the United States with $100 billion worth of exports, and strong social connections that go back over a century,” Kenney said, adding he was deeply disturbed that one of President Biden’s first actions was to rescind the Presidential permit for the Keystone XL Pipeline border crossing. “My thoughts are with the 2,000 people who lost their jobs today, and all those who are coping with the devastating consequences of this decision.”

Kenney went on to say the U.S. State Department’s analysis during the Obama administration concluded that Keystone XL would actually reduce emissions, as the alternative was rail transport.

“The Government of Canada has more ambitious emissions goals than the new U.S. Administration, and our provincial government is investing billions of dollars in the development of emissions reductions technology,” Kenney said. “This means that Alberta, Canada, and the Keystone XL pipeline are part of the solution in the energy transition.”

Kenney expressed his disappointment that the decision was made without giving Canada a chance to communicate formally with the new administration.

“That’s not how you treat a friend and ally,” Kenney said. “We will continue to fight for Alberta’s responsible energy industry, and for the 59,000 jobs that this project would create.”

Kenney called on the Prime Minister to enter into immediate talks with the Biden administration on their cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline in the context of a broader agreement on energy supply and climate action.

“Failing an agreement with the American government, we call on the Government of Canada to respond with consequences for this attack on Canada’s largest industry,” Kenney said. “We are not asking for special treatment, simply the same response that Canada’s government had when other areas of our national economy were under threat from the US government.”

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley commented it was a difficult day for the province’s energy sector and that the Biden decision would harm thousands of Alberta workers and their families.

“For all Albertans; however, this decision is made far worse by the Premier’s reckless gamble of at least $1.5 billion on a project that most people understood was at great risk and over which he had no authority,” Notley said. “We continue to call on the Premier to stop hiding the deal he struck with T.C. Energy from Albertans. There is still another $6 billion at stake, and Albertans deserve to know how much of that we stand to lose.”

Trudeau issued a statement Wednesday saying he was disappointed but acknowledged President Biden’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL.

“I spoke directly with President Biden about the project last November, and Ambassador Hillman and others in our government made the case to high-level officials in the incoming administration,” Trudeau said. “Workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and across Canada will always have our support. Canada is the single-largest supplier of energy to the United States, contributing to U.S. energy security and economic competitiveness, and supporting thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.”

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Erin O’Toole called the cancellation devastating and laid the blame at the prime minister’s feet.

“Justin Trudeau should have done more to stand up for our world-class energy sector and the men and women who depend on it to provide for their families,” O’Toole said. “For years, Conservatives have been calling on the Trudeau Liberals to champion Canadian energy and workers. Yet, they have failed to do so time after time.”

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  1. I am frustrated by the keystone decision, but not surprised.
    I am frustrated by the comments from the Prime Minister, but not surprised.
    Chasing this further would be politics, but not action.
    We need to turn our efforts to solutions.
    Energy East. With US shutting down line 5 to Sarnia, eastern Canada has 2 choices. Energy east, or more tankers from Middle east. ( I grant that then they will have more money to buy armaments manufactured in eastern canada to subdue their populations)
    Amend the tanker regulations on the west coast to enable compensating for lost capacity Keystone, and soon line 5, impacts Canadians.
    Look at Russia’s program of Ice breakers, ports, and tankers in the north.
    Yes, study the safety concerns. Yes, consult and benefit populations equally. Yes, regulate the environmental impact.
    Get to work. Speaches, lamentations, won’t solve this.

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