Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says U.S. President Barack Obama’s “likely denial” of Keystone XL pipeline would be a political nod to interest groups and Hollywood, and damage Canada-U.S. relations.

Last month, U.S. Republican Senator John Hoeven, a supporter of the TransCanada project, predicted Obama would reject the $8-billion pipeline when Congress went on break in August. 

Wall told CTV’s Power Play on Monday that such a decision would hurt the long-standing relationship between Canada and the U.S.

“It will be a strictly a political nod to NGOs and maybe Hollywood, or other interest groups that the president wants to support. I don’t think it’ll be good for the relationship,” Wall said.

“I don’t think this presidency’s been very good for the relationship.”

According to a Canadian Press report on Monday, TransCanada is has begun planning its response to the anticipated rejection of the controversy-plagued project. While the company is publicly expressing hope that Obama might approve the pipeline, sources close to the project told the Canadian Press that they feel rejection is likely.

On McQuaig comments: ‘Words matter’

Wall also reacted to controversial remarks from NDP star candidate Linda McQuaig, who last week said in an interview that in order for Canada to meet its climate change targets, "a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground."

“Words matter in an election campaign and if someone that’s been touted as a front bencher and, I guess potentially a cabinet minister, uses words to that effect, there’s going to be a need for a clarification,” said Wall. “I’m hoping that common sense prevails with all three parties with respect to energy transportation.”

Since the comments, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair has tried to brush off McQuaig’s remarks, reiterating his party’s support for developing natural resources and creating markets for them as long as there are proper environmental reviews and safeguards are in place.

Don’t drag ‘innocent’ provinces into election battle

Wall said he hopes a political spat that erupted between Conservative Leader Stephen Harper and the Alberta and Ontario premiers last week does not affect other provinces.

“If the prime minister and the premiers are going to go at it, I hope that other innocent provinces aren’t dragged into the debate,” said Wall.

Last week, Harper blasted Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne for her hopes to enhance the Ontario pension plan. He also targeted Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley for her decision to raise corporate and income taxes.

While Wall couldn’t remember a time when a prime minister battled it out with premiers during an election campaign, he said he doesn’t think the recent events will affect the long-term relationship between the provinces and federal government.

“I don’t think a campaign precludes the fact that, after it’s all over, that a constructive bilateral can’t continue for each of us with the federal government.”