PMO says anti-Keystone ad featuring Harper 'distorts the facts'
Published Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:28PM EST
Last Updated Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:31PM EST
The Prime Minister's Office says an anti-Keystone XL pipeline advertisement that depicts Prime Minister Stephen Harper as a villain "distorts the facts" about the controversial project.
Harper's spokesperson Jason MacDonald said the ad, which is scheduled to air during the broadcast of U.S. President Barack Obama's state of the union address on Tuesday, works against Americans and Canadians who would benefit from the pipeline’s approval.
"The ad, which is funded by an American billionaire, ignores the fact that U.S. companies are actually the major players in the Canadian oilsands and that the real beneficiaries of the project are the Americans and Canadians who will get the well-paying jobs the project will create," MacDonald said in a statement to CTV News.
"An ad like this not only distorts the facts, it actively works against the hard-working Canadian and American workers who would benefit from the Keystone project."
The advertisement, funded by NextGen Climate Group and led by a deep-pocketed Obama donor, suggests the pipeline would mainly benefit Chinese companies that have invested in the Alberta oilsands far more than it would benefit Americans.
It shows Harper shaking hands with China's ex-premier Wen Jiabao and calls the Keystone project "a sucker punch to America's heartland.”
MacDonald said the pipeline would create well-paying jobs on both sides of the border and noted that the U.S. State Department determined last year that the $7.6 billion project will not contribute to the warming of the planet.
"Distorting the facts and hysterical fear mongering is not productive and we'd rather let the benefits of the project, and the facts, speak for themselves," MacDonald said.
The ad will air amid anticipation that a crucial U.S. State Department review of the project could be released within days. The final decision on the pipeline will come from Obama.
If approved, the 2,700-kilometre pipeline would carry Alberta oil to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
While lawmakers on both sides of the border have hailed the project as a job creator, environmental groups have launched vocal campaigns to pressure Obama to say no to the pipeline.
The U.S. government has said it will not put a timeline on when it will hand down a decision on the pipeline, despite pressure from Ottawa.
With files from The Canadian Press