By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – The American political brawl over the approval of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL…
WASHINGTON – The American political brawl over the approval of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline shifted into overdrive on Wednesday as Republicans in the House of Representatives made yet another attempt to take the decision out of U.S. President Barack Obama’s hands.
Legislators voted 241-175 in favour of the Northern Route Approval Act, which would give Congress the power to greenlight the pipeline and nix the need for a presidential permit. The bill, however, faces a far less certain future in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.
As legislators debated the bill, their arguments fell along largely partisan lines — Republicans touted the jobs and energy independence that Keystone XL would purportedly spur, while Democrats warned the pipeline poses grave risks to the environment and argued that job creation claims are exaggerated.
One pro-pipeline Democrat — Nick Rahall of West Virginia — said that while he supports Keystone XL and has backed previous pro-pipeline House bills, he could not sign off on legislation that attempts to do away with the permit process altogether.
“Waiving permits for a foreign company? We don’t even do that for our domestic companies,” he said on the House floor. “This bill’s a mockery.”
Nineteen Democrats, however, voted in favour of the legislation.
The White House has threatened to veto the bill, saying it “seeks to circumvent long-standing and proven processes for determining whether cross-border pipelines are in the national interest.”
Democrats in the House attempted to trip up the bill by way of a handful of amendments, including one that would require any oil and refined product that is transported via Keystone XL to stay in the United States.
Democrats have argued for years that rather than make the U.S. less dependent on oil from hostile OPEC regimes, Keystone XL will allow carbon-intensive Alberta oilsands bitumen to be exported abroad from the Gulf Coast.
Another Democratic amendment would have required Calgary-based TransCanada (TSX:TRP) to disclose its campaign contributions for the past five years before construction of the $7 billion Keystone XL proceeds.
But only one amendment got the green light — one that would require TransCanada to submit its oil spill response plans to the six governors of the states along the pipeline’s route.
Republicans have long insisted that Congress has the authority under the U.S. Constitution to regulate international commerce — and that includes the pipeline, they say, since it aims to carry bitumen from Canada into the U.S.
On Wednesday, they maligned the Obama administration for taking so long to make a decision on Keystone XL. Nebraska’s Lee Terry, the bill’s sponsor, called the project “the most studied pipeline in the history of mankind.”
Jeff Denham, his Republican colleague from California, added: “When is enough enough? Five years? Six years? Ten years?”
Environmentalists consider the pipeline a symbol of dirty oil, one that will contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions. They’ve been urging Obama to reject it for years.
They were universal in heaping scorn on the latest Republican attempt to force approval of the pipeline.
“This bill is nothing more than an effort to run roughshod over protections for landowners, wildlife and drinking water supplies so that TransCanada can get oil to Gulf coast refineries for export to China and other countries,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.
North of the border, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government has nearly doubled its spending on the promotion of Keystone XL, from $16.5 million from $9 million a year ago.
Its beefed-up efforts included Harper’s visit to New York last week to pitch the pipeline to the Council on Foreign Relations and in roundtables with U.S. business leaders.
Obama rejected the pipeline early last year, but invited TransCanada to file a new application with an altered route that would skirt Nebraska’s ecologically sensitive Sand Hills region.
TransCanada did so, earning the thumb’s up from the state of Nebraska and a draft environmental assessment from the State Department that suggested it posed minimal environmental risks. The State Department is assessing the pipeline because it crosses an international border.
The powerful Environmental Protection Agency, meantime, has rebuked State’s environmental analysis, saying it’s mistakenly concluded that oilsands bitumen would find buyers with or without the pipeline, most likely via rail lines.
The State Department is now reviewing all public comments, including the input from the EPA, before finalizing its draft report. Ninety days after that report, State officials will then determine whether Keystone XL is in the national interest of the United States.
After that, it will be up to Obama to either block or bless the pipeline.
By Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press - Monday, April 29, 2013 at 6:34 PM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – A former Liberal prime minister says he plans to head to Washington,…
CALGARY – A former Liberal prime minister says he plans to head to Washington, D.C., to speak out in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline.
John Turner, who is 83, says he intends to spend time with Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer before meeting with some leaders in both the U.S. Congress and Senate.
“I may be introducing him to a few people,” said Turner with a chuckle while attending a luncheon speech in Calgary on Monday. “I’d like to meet with the president, No. 1, but I doubt I will get to see him.”
Turner said he is working out the details, but intends to go to Washington as a private citizen.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 9:52 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Jim Flaherty made a pitch on Thursday for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL…
WASHINGTON – Jim Flaherty made a pitch on Thursday for TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline with a top Obama administration official, telling Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the contentious project is vital to both countries’ economies.
“He emphasized that the process is being followed,” Canada’s finance minister told a media roundtable after he attended G20 meetings in the U.S. capital on Thursday.
“I emphasized that the State Department report indicates this is a very important project for both economies, particularly for employment in the United States — more than 40,000 well-paying jobs. And that environmentally, it is more beneficial to transport bitumen by pipeline than by rail.”
Keystone XL would carry bitumen from Alberta’s carbon-intensive oilsands through six U.S. states to Gulf Coast refineries. It’s become a flashpoint for U.S. environmentalists, who are exerting intense pressure on President Barack Obama to nix the project.
Flaherty’s meeting with Lew was the first between the two finance chiefs since Lew was sworn into his new job on Feb. 28.
“I’m stating a political fact — he’s an influential person in Washington,” Flaherty said of his American counterpart.
“He’s the fourth secretary of the Treasury with whom I’ve dealt …. I’m looking forward to a casual and cordial relationship with him like I had with (former Treasury Secretary) Tim Geithner.”
The State Department held the only public hearing Thursday into its latest environmental assessment of the project, a document that essentially said there were no compelling ecological reasons to block Keystone XL. A State official said there have been 800,000 public comments submitted in response to the department’s revised environmental analysis, released in March.
The eight-hour hearing in Nebraska was frequently raucous as construction workers, TransCanada executives and environmentalists tried to shout down one another while they took turns speaking.
Officials with the State Department, which has been assessing the project because it crosses an international border, tried to maintain order during the proceedings.
“There are a lot of strong feelings about this,” Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state for oceans and international environmental and scientific affairs, told reporters at the hearing.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 9:57 PM - 0 Comments
CALGARY – Alberta Premier Alison Redford said she’s not worried that her frequent trips…
CALGARY – Alberta Premier Alison Redford said she’s not worried that her frequent trips to Washington, D.C., to promote the Keystone XL oil pipeline will create an overexposure problem with the American public.
Redford has visited Washington four times since she became premier 18 months ago. She has attracted the attention of anti-Keystone protesters, including some who repeatedly interrupted her speech to the Brookings Institution last week.
“The challenge is to make sure that your story is heard,” Redford told reporters prior to her annual leader’s dinner in Calgary on Thursday.
“If you are lucky enough to be one of those people where your story is heard too much and no one wants to hear from you anymore then you’ve just done an excellent job.”
Redford said there are key discussions in committee rooms at both the Congressional and Senate levels regarding Keystone XL and it is essential to keep Alberta’s message front and centre.
“I’ll tell you that every opportunity that we have to go to Washington … to talk to decision makers is critical and particularly so right now,” she said.
“From our perspective it’s important to be there to keep saying what we’ve been saying, to make sure people know what we’re doing in Alberta, what our values are, what our environmental record is.”
The pipeline has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate over climate change. Republicans and business and labour groups have urged the Obama administration to approve the pipeline as a source of much-needed jobs and a step toward North American energy independence.
Environmental groups have been pressuring President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline, saying it would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming. They also worry about a spill and have mounted an aggressive advertising campaign critical of Keystone.
“I think some of them are absolutely ridiculous,” Redford said.
“There are a lot of those ads and we’ve got to pay attention to them. That’s one of the reasons that we invested in ads to make sure the record is clear and the facts are on the table.”
The Obama administration is considering whether to approve the pipeline, which would carry 800,000 barrels of oil a day from Alberta across six U.S. states to the Texas Gulf Coast, which has numerous refineries. A decision is expected later this summer.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said it is important to keep an open dialogue with the United States over Keystone XL.
“We are doing that at every level of the government and in coordination with the province of Alberta and others,” Harper said at an event in Calgary on Thursday. “We really do have a Team Canada approach to this.
“This is a matter that I think is vital to both the economic growth and the energy security in all of Canada and the United States as well.”
He said he was glad to see Redford working hard to “tell our story of the actions we are taking here in Alberta and across the country.”
By The Associated Press - Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 12:14 AM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Jobs numbers and other benefits touted by supporters of the Keystone XL…
WASHINGTON – Jobs numbers and other benefits touted by supporters of the Keystone XL oil pipeline are probably exaggerated, President Barack Obama told House Republicans on Wednesday, according to lawmakers who attended the closed-door meeting.
But Obama did not rule out a decision to approve the $7 billion pipeline, according to participants. Obama told Republicans at the Capitol that he’s still weighing a decision on the pipeline, which would carry oil from western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Calgary-based TransCanada, which is proposing the pipeline, initially said it could create at least 20,000 jobs, including 13,000 construction jobs and 7,000 jobs among suppliers and manufacturers. The company later clarified that the figures were for one person per year, based on a two-year construction timetable. The State Department has estimated the project would create about 5,000 to 6,000 jobs.
Republican Rep. Lee Terry said Obama appeared “conflicted” on the pipeline, saying that many of the promised jobs would be temporary and that much of the oil produced likely would be exported.
But Terry said Obama also indicated that dire environmental consequences predicted by pipeline opponents were exaggerated.
“He said there were no permanent jobs, and that the oil will be put on ships and exported and that the only ones who are going to get wealthy are the Canadians,” Terry said.
A White House spokesman said Wednesday no decision on the pipeline has been made.
Terry, who supports the long-delayed pipeline, said he wished Obama’s comments were less negative, but said he was still hopeful the project would be approved, a view echoed by Republican Rep. Steve Scalise, another pipeline supporter.
Scalise, who asked Obama about Keystone at the Republican meeting, said the president “made light” of jobs numbers predicted by supporters, including some who have predicted that the project could create as many as 100,000 direct and indirect jobs.
Obama said the pipeline “is not going to create as many jobs as you (Republicans) hope,” Scalise said.
A draft environmental report released by the State Department this month said there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed pipeline route, which goes through Montana, South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.
State Department approval is needed because the project crosses a U.S. border.
On at least one aspect of the pipeline, Obama is “flat-out-wrong,” Terry said. While some oil is likely to be exported, the total is far less than a majority, Terry said. “That was disturbing to me,” he said.
By The Canadian Press - Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 10:49 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Canada hasn’t done a great job promoting…
WASHINGTON – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says Canada hasn’t done a great job promoting the Keystone XL pipeline as he embarked upon a full court press in the U.S. capital on Thursday to extol the virtues of the controversial project by lauding Canada’s green credentials.
“We should have been doing a better job in this country, in this city,” he said during a breakfast meeting with reporters on Capitol Hill.
Canadian officials, Wall asserted, would have been wise to tell their American counterparts throughout the Keystone XL debate: “Here’s the economic case, here’s the energy security and oh, by the way, we care about the environment and here’s what we’re doing with respect to the environmental piece of this.”
Wall’s remarks came just a few hours before a Republican legislator in the U.S. House of Representatives detailed new efforts to take the decision on the pipeline out of the Obama administration’s hands.
Lee Terry, a Nebraska Republican, is preparing legislation that would do away with the need for a presidential permit for Keystone XL. The permit is currently required because the proposed pipeline crosses an international border.
“If we see further delays as we have in the past; Congress is ready to act,” Terry said in a statement.
Two Democrats back Terry’s bill, as does Republican Fred Upton, who met with Wall on Wednesday. He’s the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Wall is just the latest Canadian politician to head stateside to make the case for the $7.6 billion pipeline, a project that would carry millions of barrels of Alberta oilsands bitumen a week through six U.S. states to Gulf Coast refineries.
Joe Oliver, the natural resources minister, was in Chicago and Houston this week to make a similar pitch, while Alberta Premier Alison Redford was also in D.C. recently. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird met with Secretary of State John Kerry a month ago.
Wall said officials in both the U.S. and Canada tend to take the bilateral relationship for granted at times, a state of affairs that’s caused Keystone XL opposition to become a bigger problem for the Obama administration than necessary.
Canada-U.S. relations need a “little extra tending” on several fronts, Wall said, particularly regarding trade, agriculture and energy issues.
“Like a long-lasting marriage, it’s important to have a date night,” he said.
After his breakfast event, Wall met later in the day with Kerri-Ann Jones, the assistant state secretary who’s been leading the State Department’s review of the pipeline. An aide to the premier said the discussions with Jones were productive and positive.
On Wednesday, Wall met with mostly Republican lawmakers who already support the pipeline.
But he added he also had a 10-minute “hallway meeting” on Capitol Hill with Ed Markey, a fierce Democratic climate hawk. Wall conceded he didn’t change the congressman’s mind on Keystone, but assured him that oilsands bitumen would not be destined for foreign markets once it reached the Gulf Coast.
The Conservative premier has not just been cheerleading for Keystone XL during his three days in D.C. He’s also been touting his province’s $1.4 billion clean-coal project as proof of Canada’s intent to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.
Wall says he’s also been reminding Americans about Alberta’s carbon tax and long-awaited federal government regulations on the oil and gas sector, expected by the summer.
“What the administration needs is some elbow room around the environment,” he said at a late-morning panel discussion on North American energy at the Woodrow Wilson Center think tank.
“We need to indicate that we’re serious about the environment, because we are, and give the administration the elbow room they need with that remaining flank of opposition to say: ‘Here’s the record, here’s what they’re trying to do, and it’s meaningful, and it’s not inexpensive.’”
He urged pipeline proponents to pivot from focusing primarily on the pipeline’s job creation and energy security benefits to heralding Canada’s environmental gravitas instead.
Given Saskatchewan currently has no oilsands development, Wall added, he’s in a good position to argue objectively in favour of the pipeline to American stakeholders. The province does, however, produce conventional oil that would be transported by Keystone XL.
“We’re here principally to make the environmental case,” he said.
Pipeline proponents on both sides of the border are increasingly nervous that Obama might want something from Canada in exchange for approving Keystone XL, including a change in Canadian environmental policy.
Wall said such a strategy would “not be helpful,” suggested it might violate the North American Free Trade Agreement and noted Canada would never attempt to impose policy stateside in exchange for greenlighting an American project.
Indeed, the premier recently made a high-profile complaint to David Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, about speculation the U.S. could go that route.
“There seems to be an inference that it would be easier for the president to approve (Keystone) if there was some kind of quid pro quo change in U.S.-Canadian policy,” he said. “We got a response back from the ambassador — and we will take them at their word — that that’s certainly not the case.”
The premier added he’s confident Keystone will soon be approved, particularly following the U.S. State Department’s draft environmental assessment of the pipeline that was dismissive of many of the environmental movement’s concerns about it.
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 9:42 PM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – Several leading American environmentalists were among dozens of people arrested outside the…
WASHINGTON – Several leading American environmentalists were among dozens of people arrested outside the White House on Wednesday as they protested TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, a flashpoint for the U.S. climate change movement.
After 48 activists gathered outside the White House’s northernmost wrought-iron fence, along a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue where protests are prohibited, police began their methodical arrests as supporters chanted: “Hey, Obama, we don’t want no climate drama.”
Among those arrested were Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club; James E. Hansen, a prominent climate scientist; Bill McKibben, a vocal anti-Keystone XL activist; and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Brune is the first Sierra Club leader in the organization’s 120-year history to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience after the Sierra Club suspended its longtime policy against the practice due to Keystone XL.
Civil rights activist Julian Bond and actress Daryl Hannah, who was arrested in August 2011 at a similar anti-Keystone protest outside the White House, were also apprehended during the peaceful protest.
Some of the protesters had tied themselves to the fence on a grey, drizzly day while others simply refused to move when police repeatedly asked them to vacate the sidewalk.
The protest came the day after U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his fourth State of the Union address. While he reiterated his call for swift action to combat climate change, Obama made no mention specifically of Keystone XL.
John Kerry, Obama’s new secretary of state, said last week that a decision on the pipeline was coming soon. Kerry, a fierce climate hawk during his 28 years in the U.S. Senate, gave no indication of his stance on Keystone in a joint news conference last week with Canada’s foreign affairs minister, John Baird.
The State Department will decide the fate of Keystone XL since it crosses an international border.
The controversial pipeline would carry bitumen from Alberta’s carbon-intensive oilsands to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Environmentalists view the pipeline as a symbol of “dirty oil,” and have been urging the president to make good on his climate change rhetoric by nixing TransCanada’s latest permit application for the $7 billion project.
“The Keystone pipeline has become the purest test that there’s ever been on whether the president is serious about doing something about climate change or not,” McKibben told the crowd before walking across Pennsylvania Avenue to tie himself to the White House fence.
Kennedy Jr. told the gathering that he predicts the anti-Keystone forces will prevail.
“The science is clear,” he said.
“Climate change is not just an economic issue, it is a moral issue. I do not believe that Keystone XL will happen. I believe that President Obama and Secretary Kerry will do the right thing. And we need to show our support.”
As the activists were hauled off to jail, the American Petroleum Institute and the AFL-CIO, a prominent U.S. labour federation, urged Obama to green-light the project during a conference call to reporters.
The wait has gone on long enough, Sean McGarvey, the president of the AFL-CIO, said during a conference call to reporters. He vowed to escalate efforts to convince Obama to approve Keystone XL.
Jack Gerard, CEO of the petroleum institute, said his group would start pouring more money into advertising and social media efforts to mobilize pipeline proponents.
He argued that Keystone XL offered Obama the perfect opportunity to achieve his oft-stated goal of creating jobs for the middle class. Keystone proponents argue that the pipeline will create much-needed jobs in the U.S. while freeing it from its dependence on oil from hostile OPEC regimes.
Environmentalists, meantime, are planning another protest in D.C. on Sunday, this one along the National Mall. It’s expected to draw thousands of protesters.
The U.S. ambassador to Canada said Wednesday that Obama’s State of the Union call for speedy action on climate change should be interpreted as a challenge to Ottawa as well.
Obama warned Congress on Tuesday to either agree to market-based solutions to climate change or he’ll use his executive powers to do it himself.
“We all need to do as much as we can. And that is true in your country and in mine,” Jacobson said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“Obviously the more that the energy industry — whether it is the oilsands in Canada or the energy industry in the United States, or any place else — the more progress they can make to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce their consumption of water, to other environmental consequences, the better off we all are.”
Washington-based stakeholders from both sides of the border increasingly suspect Obama is going to try to extract from the oil industry and Republicans some kind of quid pro quo — either a carbon-pricing scheme or limits on greenhouse emissions from existing power plants in exchange for approving Keystone.
On Thursday, two senators will introduce legislation to impose fines on greenhouse gas emissions. They’ll be joined by two of the environmentalists arrested on Wednesday, Brune and McKibben.
Under legislation from Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, and California Democrat Barbara Boxer, fees raised from greenhouse emissions would fund investments in energy efficiency and clean energy technologies.
Their bill would also reportedly provide rebates to consumers to offset any attempts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices. The legislation, however, has dim hopes of being signed into law.
By Chris Sorensen - Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 7:00 PM - 0 Comments
How the most valuable resource in our history got mired in politics, protests and logistical nightmares
Prime Minister Stephen Harper first dubbed Canada an “emerging energy superpower” back in 2006. He was talking, primarily, about Alberta’s oil sands. “We are a stable, reliable producer in a volatile, unpredictable world,” he said, sending a clear signal that Ottawa intended to realize the oil sands’ full economic potential, as well as the geopolitical clout that comes along with it.
It was music to Albertans’ ears. With the world’s third-largest proven crude oil reserves, some 175 billion barrels, behind Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, the province had long been aware it was sitting on a gold mine. All that was needed were global oil prices above US$80 a barrel (needed to offset the expense of separating gooey bitumen from the sandy soil) and the necessary political vision to make it all happen. Canada finally had both. Industry forecasts predicted that, over the next quarter-century, the oil sands would draw more than $364 billion in investment, create some 3.2 million “person-years” of employment and add $1.7 trillion to Canada’s GDP. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM - 0 Comments
In conversation with Luiza Ch. Savage
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was in Washington this week to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama. As Americans gathered for the public ceremony and the black-tie galas, the minister attended the Canadian Embassy’s invitation-only inaugural “tailgate” party at its plum location on Pennsylvania Avenue, which featured Beavertails, Tim Hortons coffee and some of the best views in the U.S. capital.
Q: You’re here for the second inauguration of Barack Obama. Are you going to any balls?
A: No, I’m not. I’m not a ball guy.
Q: Can you imagine a million Canadians coming to Ottawa because a Prime Minister was taking the oath of office?
A: I was just telling someone that I remember when the Prime Minister was sworn in. I think we had cookies and coffee afterward. Then there was a dinner for the cabinet that evening, with the food prepared in the parliamentary restaurant. They certainly do things much grander here in the United States. The sense of national pride is exciting. One thing that is bittersweet for me is Hillary leaving. We had a great relationship. Continue…
By Grant Schulte, The Associated Press - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 1:00 PM - 0 Comments
Keystone clears a major obstacle
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman approved a new route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday that avoids the state’s environmentally sensitive Sandhills region.
Heineman sent a letter to President Barack Obama confirming that he would allow the controversial, Canada-to-Texas pipeline to proceed through his state.
The project has faced some of its strongest resistance in Nebraska from a coalition of landowners and environmental groups who say it would contaminate the Ogallala aquifer, a massive groundwater supply.
Canadian pipeline developer TransCanada and some workers’ unions say the project is safe and will create thousands of jobs.
The original route would have run the pipeline through a region of erodible, grass-covered sand dunes. The new route skirts that area, although the pipeline’s most vocal critics remain firmly opposed to it as well.
“Governor Heineman just performed one of the biggest flip-flops that we’ve in Nebraska political history,” said Jane Kleeb, executive director of the group Bold Nebraska.
Heineman said previously that he would oppose any pipeline route through the Sandhills region. In his letter to Obama, he said the new 195-mile (320-kilometre) route through Nebraska avoids the Sandhills but would still cross part of the aquifer. Heineman said any spills would be localized, and the clean-up responsibilities would fall to TransCanada.
The governor said the project would result in $418.1 million in economic benefits for the state and $16.5 million in taxes from the pipeline construction materials.
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Friday, November 16, 2012 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
In conversation with Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.
Gary Doer, the former premier of Manitoba, has been Canada’s ambassador to the United States since 2009. He has been at the forefront of pushing Ottawa’s agenda in Washington, including the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would bring bitumen from the oil sands to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast. Another proposed project—a new bridge between Detroit and Windsor—got a boost on Election Day when Michigan voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have hamstrung the project. And, on Jan. 1, Washington is facing the so-called “fiscal cliff”—half a trillion dollars of expiring tax breaks and scheduled budget cuts which, if allowed to take effect between 2013 and 2021, could tip the U.S. economy into another recession.
Q: During the election campaign, were you reaching out to Mitt Romney to lay the groundwork for continuity on issues of interest to Canada? How does that work?
A: There is a fine line. You are obviously dealing with the elected government of the day. As for people on the other team, you follow their platforms and you go to the conventions to find out what their thinking is on issues that are important to Canada. For example, you could pick up at [the Republican National Convention in] Tampa fairly easily that there was a split among delegates on Afghanistan. That is important given Canada’s commitment to remain in Afghanistan until 2014. Continue…