‘Show Canada the respect’: Kenney asks Biden to hear case for Keystone XL

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is urging United States President-elect Joe Biden to reconsider his reported decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline extension when he takes office on Wednesday.

On Sunday, CTV News reported Biden planned to sign an executive order to scrap the US$8 billion-cross-border pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of oil from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Neb.

Kenney repeatedly reminded Biden Canada is the United States’ top trade partner as well as the safest option to transport energy responsibly.

“By far, the largest exports of Canada to the United States are represented by Alberta crude oil exports. Canada, on an average year, exports some $100 billion worth of energy through primarily Alberta crude to the United States, through border crossing pipelines every year,” the premier said.

“Here’s the simple choice: Either the United States has access to environmentally responsible energy produced in a close democratic ally or it becomes more dependent on foreign oil imports from Venezuela and other OPEC dictatorships in the future.”

CANADA-U.S. RELATIONS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reportedly spoke about Keystone XL with Biden when he called the president-elect in November to congratulate him in his win over U.S. President Donald Trump, who approved the pipeline in 2017.

Kenney said he has been in discussions with Democrats in D.C. and U.S. state officials, but he urged Trudeau to speak with Biden again before his inauguration.

“Surely, the relationship between Canada and the United States is worth at least having that discussion,” he said.

“I believe as the most important ally and trading partner of the United States, that the United States government owes Canada the respect to at least sit down with us and talk about this vital project in the broader context of our shared challenge of addressing climate change, continental energy security and broader issues.”

In a statement to CTV News Sunday, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, said the Trudeau government remains committed to the project.

“The government has announced a strengthened climate plan with $15 billion in investments to build a cleaner, more resilient economy, and exceed our current 2030 GHG reduction target,” Hillman wrote. “We are also legislating Canada’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

“Underpinned by a crucial and longstanding trade and security partnership, there is no better partner for the U.S. on climate action than Canada as we work together for green transition.”

Her statement did not comment on Biden’s decision.

WHAT WOULD HAPPEN WITH OTHER PIPELINES?

Alberta’s premier is worried a death to Keystone XL would set a precedent that could take down other projects, such as Line 3 and Line 5.

He consistently said the “same political forces” that want to put an end to TC Energy’s pipeline would feel emboldened and go after Enbridge’s projects.

“So this is about more than just Keystone XL, this is about the Canada-US relationship, this is about tens of thousands of jobs here, this is about billions of dollars of revenue for government to pay for things like healthcare,” Kenney said.

An end to Keystone XL would cost Albertans $1 billion, Kenney estimated.

Alberta NDP leader Rachel Notley called Keystone XL a risk and said Kenney jeopardized taxpayers’ money.

With files from CTV News

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