Common Sense Canadian

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ at Obama’s killing of Keystone XL…Get over it

Posted November 6, 2015 by Damien Gillis in Energy and Resources
Trudeau 'disappointed' at Obama's killing of Keystone XL...Get over it

Justin Trudeau visits US Capital in 2013 (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

It’s official: After seven years of withering on the vine, the Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the US Gulf Coast is dead, by President Barack Obama’s hand.

Newly-minted Canadian Prime Minister and avowed Keystone supporter Justin Trudeau is reportedly disappointed at the decision but says he respects the US government’s right to make it. “The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one project and I look forward to a fresh start with President Obama to strengthen our remarkable ties in a spirit of friendship and cooperation,” said Trudeau in a statement.

Obama finally came to the long-awaited decision on the basis that the project would “not serve the national interests”, adding:

The pipeline would not make a meaningful long-term contribution to our economy.

He also noted that it had taken on an “overinflated role” in the climate debate and relations with Canada.

The announcement explains proponent TransCanada’s recent request to the US government to “pause” its pipeline review – which the Obama administration rejected just two days before officially killing the project. It evidently didn’t want to drag the process out any further, preferring, at long last, a clean break.

On that note, Mr. Trudeau would do well not to sulk over the death of a project he once ventured to Washington, D.C. to defend.  Trudeau also argued in a speech to Canada’s oil men and women at Calgary’s Petroleum Club that then-PM Harper’s downfall was his ham-fisted handling of the file, not the fact that he was backing it. Trudeau argued that he could do a better job selling the project south of the border. “Alberta’s interests have been compromised more than just about anyone else’s by Mr. Harper’s divisiveness,” Trudeau told the energy industry.

“It has made enemies of people who ought to be your friends, and turned what should have been a reasonable debate into an over-the-top rhetorical war. Most importantly, it has impeded progress.”

But he made no bones about his support for the project, saying:

Let me be clear: I support Keystone XL because, having examined the facts, and accepting the judgment of the National Energy Board, I believe it is in the national interest…On balance, it would create jobs and growth, strengthen our ties with the world’s most important market, and generate wealth…Most of all, it is in keeping with what I believe is a fundamental role of the Government of Canada: to open up markets abroad for Canadian resources, and to help create responsible and sustainable ways to get those resources to those markets.

Apparently, Mr. Obama didn’t share those views – nor did the woman who wants to replace him in the Oval Office, Hilary Clinton. The former secretary of state, who at one time oversaw the project’s review, has spoken out against it during her presidential campaign.

By the time Mr. Trudeau took over the file from Harper, it was clearly too far gone for him to do anything about it. Now, if he’s serious about forging a new relationship with Obama and the US, he would do well not to shed a tear over Keystone and to move on to more important matters.


About the Author

Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.



    Keystone XL is like Canada sharing their cable TV service to China but running the cable through your living room and you pay if it breaks.


    “I support Keystone XL because, having examined the facts, and accepting the judgment of the National Energy Board, I believe it is in the national interest…”

    Accepting any judgement by the NEB is a huge mistake on Trudeau’s part.


    Wow! Is Kelli ever right!!! What ever happened to this national committment to weaning.ourselves off fossil fuels?

    Could it have anything to do with Postmedia making a deal to promotd the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and the plethora of corporate blowjobs for the fossil fuel industry that have ensued?

    Or perhaps the deal the Vancouver Province has made to promote WoodfibreLNG.

    Just thought I’d ask?


    It seems to me this was the most expedient and political means of killing the project for Trudeau anyway. He was never going to ‘fight’ Obama’s decision. Why should he? It was already dead and he knew that. This is exactly how he moves on with the least fuss from those who wanted to keep floating this.


    Wouldn’t it be a lark if the kid had his dad’s balls as well as his mother’s hair and
    questioned America’s TPP deal saying.. it did “not serve the national interests”.


    This decision was made months ago. Nothing in US politics is permanent. We’ll be discussing this again sometime in the future.
    Harper’s arrogant stance lives on ……….
    Its a shame it wasnt dumped in Harper’s lap before the election to explain to his petroleum financial backers why his ham fisted tactics didnt work.

    Ron Wilton

    I suspect JT is not as ‘disappointed’ as he indicates.

    Anyone who knows the full details of the project as to who benefits and who does not would easily agree with Obama.

    Perhaps a letter outlining those ‘details’ sent to JT would be in order.


    Justin, we have to get over the petroleum economy. Why? Because it’s 2015.

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