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.