Palin urges Obama to seek closer ties with Canada
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Tuesday, December 9, 2008 8:52AM EST
Just a few days after signing a historic agreement that will see a Canadian company build a massive pipeline to flow natural gas from Alaska to Alberta, Gov. Sarah Palin says she is working to strengthen relations with Canada, and Barack Obama should too.
Palin, who recently lost her vice-presidential bid on a shared ticket with presidential candidate John McCain, spoke to CTV's Canada AM from Fairbanks, Alaska, just after signing the deal with TransCanada pipeline. She granted the company US$500 million to plan the pipeline, with construction set to begin in 2011.
She suggested the contract is an example of cross-border co-operation that Democratic president-elect Barack Obama can learn from.
"I want to grow the relationship we have with Canada," Palin said.
"I know Alaska is doing all we can to grow that relationship and we've gotta have faith that the newly elected administration will see the light on that and work very hard to increase and strengthen the relationship between our two countries."
She said Alaskans and Canadians have much in common, from a shared love of hockey to an appreciation for the outdoors, hunting and fishing.
The 44-year-old self-described "hockey mom" stole headlines during the U.S. presidential campaign with her unpolished, shoot-from-the-hip style, her teenage daughter's pregnancy and claims that she and her family's racked up massive clothing bills.
Her announcement as John McCain's running mate also reinvigorated and energized a campaign that was lagging in the polls.
Palin predicted the newly signed 2,700-kilometre pipeline project will boost U.S. domestic energy supply by 7 per cent and reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil sources.
"This has been long hoped for, prayed about, wished for, for really about 50 years here in Alaska," Palin said.
She said Alaska has vast reserves of oil and natural gas that are virtually being "warehoused" at the moment.
"It's time to tap those, throw them into our own hungry markets so we can be less reliant on foreign sources and less beholden to some regimes that control energy that we import. Some of those regimes don't like America," she said.
Though the Republican and Democrat camps traded barbs during the race, Palin struck a hopeful, conciliatory tone when discussing the change in the White House. She met Obama just a few days ago, along with other U.S. governors and said the tone was "respectful."
"President-elect Obama is surrounding himself with good people and we're very optimistic we're going to get our economy back on the right track."
Palin said she hopes that correction in the U.S. economy will come through tax cuts to boost small businesses and give families more spending money, which will in turn buoy the economy.
Obama was 'wrong'
However, Palin was less agreeable when discussing the suggestion from the Obama team during the campaign that he would make changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement.
"I think he was wrong to send a message that he would unilaterally want to go in and renegotiate," Palin said.
"I do not support that, but I think...he's going to see some conditions that will allow him to temper his position even on that."
NAFTA, she said, has resulted in jobs in both the U.S. and Canada, and must be protected in order to keep both countries' economies "revving."
Palin said she agrees with Obama's choice of Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, saying she was surprised he hadn't chosen the former first lady as his vice-presidential running mate during the campaign.
As for her own political future, Palin was less clear, saying "some days politics make me roll my eyes and say 'I don't know if politics are in my future'" and "it's certainly not the be-all, end-all for me personally."
"If there are platforms, opportunities for me to be able to effect positive change in people's lives, whether that's political or another venue I will embrace that," she said.
"But I don't know if it's going to be in politics or running for president in '12."