Harper won’t take ‘no’ on Keystone
NEW YORK—Canada won’t “take no for an answer” from the U.S. when it comes to the Keystone XL pipeline, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday as he sharpened his sales pitch for the controversial cross-border energy proposal.
The logic in support of the project going ahead is “overwhelming,” and governments at all levels on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border are endorsing it, Harper told a high-powered business audience in New York.
“We haven’t had that. “[And] if we were to get that, that won’t be final,” he added.
“This won’t be final until it’s approved and we will keep pushing forward.”
In his strongest rhetoric to date on the much-maligned project, Harper also dismissed the divide between his government and the White House over projections of how many jobs Keystone XL will create.
“It’s just politics,” Harper told the audience at the Canadian American Business Council event.
There is no real “Plan B” for Canada should U.S. President Barack Obama turn down the pipeline, he added.
Harper has been pushing the Obama administration to approve the Keystone project—insisting that it will create thousands of jobs on both sides of the border.
But American critics of the proposal, including within the White House, have significantly played down the economic benefits of the plan.
Supporters of Keystone XL, including Harper himself, tout it as a major step towards making North America self-sufficient when it comes to energy—eliminating the need to import oil from overseas countries that are politically unstable and less environmentally responsible.
Opponents, however, see the plan as an environmental catastrophe in the making. They worry about bitumen leaking into ecologically-sensitive areas.
They also argue that Canada’s oilsands are major producers of greenhouse gases and urge less production there, not more.