Biden’s plan is outlined in transition documents seen by The Canadian Press.
The documents suggest that despite its best efforts, Canada has failed to convince the incoming administration of the virtues of importing fossil-fuel energy from a friendly ally and trading partner with similar climate change goals.
Jason Kenney says halting construction on the controversial project will be disastrous for both the Canadian and U.S. economies and their relationship.
“That would be, in our view, an economic and strategic error that would set back Canada-U.S. relations with the United States’ most important trading partner and strategic ally: Canada,” Kenney said on Monday morning.
According to Kenney, Biden’s transition team is not communicating with foreign governments “given events over recent years.” But Alberta’s premier is urging the team to change that policy in this case because of the relationship between the two countries.
“All we ask at this point is that president-elect Biden show Canada respect to actually sit down and hear our case about how we can be partners in prosperity, partners in combating climate change, partners in energy security.”
Kenney says his government — which announced a $1.5-billion investment in the expansion last year — is prepared to “use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project.”
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He said the province has hired lawyers in both Canada and the U.S. and believes they have a “very strong” case for any legal recourse.
“This is, I believe, without precedent for an American administration retroactively to seek to cancel a piece of infrastructure that already exists.
“Costs have been incurred and if the project is effectively killed by a presidential veto of this nature – a retroactive veto – we believe that under the Canada-United States-Mexico trade agreement and other international trade agreements that there would be a solid legal basis to, at the very least, seek damages.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has so far been silent on the issue, but his ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman, is defending the pipeline, saying it fits into Canada’s climate plan and promises good jobs.
In a statement to Global News, federal Minister of Natural Resources Seamus O’Regan said Canada is looking forward to working with the incoming U.S. administration, but said it will continue to make the case for Canadian oil.
“Canadian oil is produced under strong environmental and climate policy frameworks, and this project will not only strengthen the vital Canada-U.S. energy relationship, but create thousands of good jobs for workers on both sides of the border.
“Workers in Alberta and across Canada will always have our government’s support.”
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In a statement, MP for Calgary Nose Hill Michelle Rempel Garner, said the cancelation of the project would have “significant” negative impacts for workers on both sides of the border.
“This project stands to create thousands of jobs and is a project of national significance,” she said.
“At a time when we should be strengthening the bilateral relationship between our countries, looking for ways to take energy off of rail cars and into safer transport methods and reducing our dependence on energy produced in countries with far less rigorous environmental standards then our own, the cancellation of this project should not happen.”
If the permit is pulled, Kenney said his government’s next steps are to sit down with TC Energy Corp. and the government of Canada to determine next steps.
The immediate loss to taxpayers if the permit is cancelled is about $1 billion, Kenney said.
– With files from the Canadian Press
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