Trudeau, Ambrose united in 'disappointment' about Keystone XL
Sonja Puzic and Josh Dehaas, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, November 6, 2015 12:50PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 6, 2015 8:49PM EST
A politically diverse group of Canadian leaders is expressing disappointment that U.S. President Barack Obama has rejected the Keystone XL pipeline.
Among those who criticized the decision are Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Conservative interim leader Rona Ambrose, NDP Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, in contrast, celebrated Obama’s choice.
Trudeau said Friday morning in a statement that he is “disappointed” with the rejection, but that he is looking forward to “a fresh start” with Obama that will strengthen ties between the two countries.
“The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one project,” Trudeau said.
“We know that Canadians want a government that they can trust to protect the environment and grow the economy. The Government of Canada will work hand-in-hand with provinces, territories and like-minded countries to combat climate change, adapt to its impacts, and create the clean jobs of tomorrow,” he added.
Obama said Friday that he spoke with Trudeau and the two leaders agreed that “our close friendship on a whole range of issues -- including energy and climate change -- should provide the basis for an even closer co-ordination between our countries going forward.”
'A fait accompli': Ambrose
In a statement, Ambrose expressed “extreme disappointment,” but also called it a “fait acompli.”
Ambrose pointed out that, in her view, “the rejection of Keystone will not stop Canadian oil exports to the United States. It simply means we will continue to rely on transportation alternatives like shipping and rail.”
The interim leader later pointed out on CTV Power Play that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had given its approval to the project, and the State Department had given conditional approval, so she agreed with former prime minister Stephen Harper that it was a “no brainer.”
Ambrose said that Obama’s “political interference” had created great “uncertainty” for “market access that is so incredibly important for our economic viability.”
“I’m from Alberta,” Ambrose added. “Fifty-thousand people have lost their jobs in less than a year. This is tough news for Alberta, and this is tough for the energy sector.”
“(Obama) has been focused squarely on the Keystone XL pipeline as a symbolic gesture to his environmental legacy and his environmental supporters,” Ambrose added, “when we know that there (have) been thousands of miles of pipeline built in the meantime.”
Ambrose said that she spoke to Trudeau soon after the rejection and urged the prime minister to “please continue to advocate for Keystone XL.”
“The politics of Keystone continue to unfold and there may be an opportunity for the (U.S.) senate and (U.S.) congress to still intervene,” she said, “so I urged (Trudeau) to please work with me on opening up market access for our energy sector (and) he agreed to work with me on that.”
Mulcair ‘very satisfied’
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair told reporters in Vancouver that he is “very satisfied that president Obama has come to the same conclusion as us, which is that it’s not a good project.”
“As we head into the Paris conference on climate change, it sends a strong signal that everybody’s taking these issues more seriously,” Mulcair said.
Pipelines are 'low-emissions': Notley
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley echoed Ambrose’s comments about moving oil by rail in her statement to reporters in Edmonton.
“Pipelines are actually low-emissions ways to transport oil,” she said. “Rail cars are not low-emission ways to transport oil.
“We need to be able to have careful drama-free conversations about the economics of our energy infrastructure,” Notley added.
“One of the ways we can help make that happen is for this government to do its part in ensuring that our commitment to combatting climate change is real.”
Pipelines 'far safer' than rail: Wall
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was also “disappointed.”
“This decision is more about U.S. domestic politics than it is about good environmental policy,” Wall said in a written statement.
“The fact is pipelines are safer -- far safer than other means of transporting oil, like rail,” Wall said, adding “the equivalent of 10 Keystone XLs (have been) built in the U.S. since 2010.”
Wall said that the decision means Energy East, a planned pipeline project from Alberta to New Brunswick, is “even more crucial and it will be one of Saskatchewan's top priorities as we begin our work with the new federal government.”
Nenshi 'very disappointed'
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi also expressed disappointment.
“I am very disappointed that one pipe, nearly a metre wide, is being asked to bear all the sins of the carbon economy,” Nenshi said in a statement.
“Nonetheless, Canadian energy must have access to markets, and I will continue to partner with industry and other orders of government to advocate for other alternatives, of which there remain many viable options.”
Dion: 'Our oil is clean'
Global Affairs Minister Stephane Dion told CTV Power Play the decision is disappointing, but also a reminder that Canada “needs to invest more in our ability to say to the United States and the rest of the world that our oil is clean and that we do our best to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.”
Dion said he disagreed with Obama’s comment that Canada’s oil is “dirty.”
“I don’t think it’s accurate,” Dion said. “I don’t think our oil is so much emitting more than the other sources of emissions, but it’s true that we need to do more to not be vulnerable to this kind of criticism.”
The minister said his government believes in the Energy East project, “but at the same time we want to do it properly (with) strong environmental assessments.”
'Absolutely committed': CEO
Despite Obama’s rejection, TransCanada Corp. said it will review all of its options, including filing a new application for a Presidential Permit.
"TransCanada and its shippers remain absolutely committed to building this important energy infrastructure project," Russ Girling, TransCanada's president and chief executive officer,” said in a news release.
"We will review our options to potentially file a new application for border-crossing authority to ship our customer's crude oil, and will now analyze the stated rationale for the denial."
Girling said TransCanada “continues to have the support of American and Canadian workers, labour organizations, industry and most of all, the American and Canadian people.”
'The right decision'
Environmental Defence, a vocal opponent of the Keystone XL project, welcomed Obama’s announcement Friday.
“Obama’s rejection of Keystone XL demonstrates historic leadership by saying no to new fossil fuel infrastructure,” the group’s climate and energy program manager, Adam Scott, said in a statement.
“For the first time, a pipeline has been rejected because it puts our climate at risk – a litmus test that the new Canadian government should adopt.”
Scott said the rejection sets an important precedent just days before the climate change summit in Paris.
“Canada’s newly-elected government must learn from President Obama’s rejection and rethink our failed economic strategy that has focused so heavily on exporting fossil fuels,” he said.
Kenney: An “insulting decision”
Potential Conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney called the rejection “insulting” on Twitter.
But Justin Trudeau told us that his plan to impose a de facto carbon tax on our economy would help obtain US approval of #KeystoneXL.— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) November 6, 2015
How is it in the interests of the United States to buy oil from problematic Middle Eastern regimes & Venezuela, rather than friendly Canada?— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) November 6, 2015
US State Department report concluded that rejection of #KeystoneXL means moving more Canadian oil to the US by rail. How is that preferable?— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) November 6, 2015
Liberals wave white flag on a political decision that will cost the Canadian economy $ billions & thousands of jobs: pic.twitter.com/AseBFJSli0— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) November 6, 2015
J Trudeau's response to this insulting decision: don't worry, we'll impose a de facto carbon tax on Canada anyway. pic.twitter.com/lhvrhOORe2— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) November 6, 2015