Friday, September 06, 2013

Harper Drops His Drawers to Save Keystone

Steve Harper is so desperate to win Obama's support for the Keystone XL bitumen pipeline that he's willing to accept America's demands for greenhouse gas emissions reductions in the oil and gas sector.  The thing is - Harper capitulated to Obama without even knowing what the White House will stipulate or how in hell Ottawa will comply.

Sources told CBC News the prime minister is willing to accept targets proposed by the United States for reducing the climate-changing emissions and is prepared to work in concert with Obama to provide whatever political cover he needs to approve the project.

The letter, sent in late August, is a clear signal Canada is prepared to make concessions to get the presidential permit for TransCanada Corp.'s controversial $7-billion pipeline, which will connect the Alberta oilsands to refineries in Texas.

But there's a huge snag. Obama hasn't said what he wants, or needs, to assuage environmentalists that Keystone XL is in America's national interest, or to convince congressional Democrats facing re-election next year that it can be approved without sabotaging their campaigns.

And the White House has yet to respond to the letter.

Harper and Obama met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Friday, but the president's pre-occupation with Syria sidelined the Keystone issue, which is what the prime minister really wanted to discuss.

What a pickle Steve must be in.   At home he's accustomed to saying one thing and then doing nothing and getting away with it.  But if he tries to pull the same thing on Washington, he might wish he hadn't.   My guess is that the White House might want some bullet proof commitments from Steve.


crf said...

1) For someone who claims to be good at chess, Harper seemingly can't think too many moves ahead. So he shouldn't be playing this game. It is a horrible combination of desperation and stupidity that he thinks someone on another team, Obama, should move Canada's pieces for him.

2) No State or Province wants a dilbit pipeline. The exceptions are the extractors (in Canada) and the Texas and Louisiana refineries (lots of votes for Obama and Democrats there). Certainly B.C. isn't ever going to allow one. Total blockade.

3) The answer is to process the oil in Alberta. There was a whole billion dollar upgrader built in Alberta which was mothbolled when Harper and the Alberta governments signalled their complete subservience to laissez-faire corporatism (or were convinced that it was the same as Canada's interest). That was a real smart move. Like sacrificing your rook 3 moves into the game because someone whispered over your shoulder that it would result in checkmate (whose?).

Lorne said...

To state the obvious, Mound, Dear Leader's willingness to bend over for the Americans while proving obdurate in his opposition to domestic concerns over the environmental implications of the tarsands is an insult to all Canadians. Perhaps it is something voters will remember in 2015.

rumleyfips said...

Its a bit more serious than merely bowing and scraping. Inviting Obama to write legislation for little Steve to force through is a abdication of Canadian sovereignty.

His willingness to give up control to satisfy his oily masters is a jaw dropper.

The Mound of Sound said...

Chris, I couldn't agree more with each of your points. Yes, bitumen should be fully refined on site in Alberta. There should be no transportation of something as dangerous as dilbit.

I suspect they have several reasons for sticking with dilbit trafficking. It's a convenient way to also peddle petcoke and it keeps the refining emissions off Alberta's already heavy emissions books.

I hope you're right about the ability of British Columbians to stop Northern Gateway and the expanded Kinder Morgan. I hope.

Lorne, I see this issue through the eyes of a British Columbian. I'm not sure the rest of Canada sees it the same way. We live in hope.

Rumley, Harper abdicated Canadian sovereignty when he green-lighted China's Politburo and their guest worker policies.

kootcoot said...

"Perhaps it is something voters will remember in 2015."

I can only hope, but most likely the few people not discouraged enough yet to even show up will only remember the last week's attack ads on Tommy's beard and Julio's hair! And the only leader who occasionally makes sense, Lizzy, is a leader with no caucus and not chance........

Purple library guy said...

All the stuff about Harper's lack of eptness is no doubt true. On the other hand, why would we imagine Obama wants anything other than some face-saving verbiage on the environment? What part of the Washington establishment (let alone Obama) has ever indicated they want genuine action on climate change?