Alberta ‘big loser’ on Keystone XL; NDP says Kenney made a bad investment

EDMONTON — As Jason Kenney threatened possible legal action over the reported cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline Sunday – his critics in the wildrose province were pointing fingers directly at him for what they allege was a bad investment.

“The risk surrounding the Keystone XL pipeline has been very obvious for some time. Nevertheless, Jason Kenney jeopardized up to $7.5 billion of Alberta taxpayers’ money on this project and now we’re learning it may be stopped altogether,” Rachel Notley wrote in a statement. 

CTV News confirmed with a source Sunday night that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will kill the Keystone XL pipeline as soon as he takes office Wednesday. 

Biden first made it clear in May 2020 that he planned to stop the roughly US$8 billion project that was supposed to deliver 830,000 barrels of oil from Hardisty, Alta. to Steele City, Neb. 

The Kenney government has invested at least $1.5 billion in the project – with billions more in loan guarantees.

Last week CBC News reported that Alberta spent $1.1 million dollars to lobby Washington in favour of Keystone XL. 

In a statement, Kenney did not clarify exactly how much of Albertans money has been spent or was at risk – but said he was “deeply concerned” by the reports. He argued the U.S. still needs Alberta oil. 

“As President-elect Biden’s green jobs plan acknowledges, Americans will consume millions of barrels of oil for years to come. It is in perfect keeping with this plan that the United States energy needs should be met by a country that takes the challenges of climate change seriously,” Kenney wrote. 

Kenney and the UCP scrapped the previous NDP government’s carbon tax, and has sued over Canada’s federal carbon tax. 

“This is a Premier with no vision for the future and no willingness to listen to international investors practically begging for a real plan to acknowledge and combat climate change,” Notley said, as she called on Kenney to release detailed numbers on how much Albertans might lose. 

Political scientist Duane Bratt called Alberta a “big loser” if Keystone XL is cancelled. 

“It looks like that investment is now going to be lost,” Bratt, from Mount Royal University in Calgary, said of Kenney’s $1.5 billion dollar deal

“I’m not sure what lobbyists are going to do between now and Wednesday afternoon. The decision to hire lobbyists may have been just another mistake, to go along with the partial purchase by the Kenney government,” he added. 

Kenney’s statement said he will work with TC Energy to “use all legal avenues” to protect Alberta’s investment. 

Here’s some other reaction from the political world Sunday night:  

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