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Trudeau supports Trump on Keystone XL pipeline

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he backs incoming US President Donald Trump’s declaration of support for the 830,000 barrel per day Keystone XL pipeline.

CBC reports, “During a question and answer session following his speech at the [Calgary Chamber of Commerce], Trudeau said he supports a renewed push to get the Keystone XL pipeline built, a project Trump has vowed to approve shortly after he takes office. Trudeau told the business audience that he and Trump discussed Keystone in their first conversation after the U.S. election. ‘He actually brought up Keystone XL and indicated that he was very supportive of it’, Trudeau said during a question-and-answer session after his speech. ‘I will work with the new administration when it gets sworn in … I’m confident that the right decisions will be taken.'”

In October 2013, when Trudeau visited Washington, CBC reported, “The Montreal MP said during the talk that he supports TransCanada’s proposed pipeline that would carry crude oil from Alberta to refineries on the Gulf Coast because it would be good for Canada and the U.S. He acknowledged that his position may have surprised some in an audience that would have included strong critics of the project.”

Trudeau highlighted, “My support for Keystone is steadfast. …The fact that I’d be talking positively about the project I think got people thinking about the fact that perhaps it’s not as bad as it’s been caricatured.”

And then when President Barack Obama rejected the pipeline in November 2015, Trudeau stated, “We are disappointed by the decision but respect the right of the United States to make the decision.”

As early as May 2016, CBC reported, “Trump said that he would approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline proposal if elected, reversing a decision by the administration of President Barack Obama to block it over environmental concerns. ‘I would absolutely approve it, 100 per cent, but I would want a better deal. I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits. That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.'” And on December 11, Trump stated, “The Keystone pipeline, you’re going to have a decision fairly quickly. And you’ll see that.”

TransCanada is pushing for approval of the pipeline too. On November 9, just hours after Trump’s election win was announced, the Canadian Press reported, “TransCanada Corp. says it’s evaluating ways to engage the newly elected Donald Trump administration on the potential benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline. Company spokesman Mark Cooper said that TransCanada remains fully committed to building the controversial project that U.S. President Barack Obama rejected last year.”

Filling the Keystone XL pipeline with tar sands crude would facilitate a 36 per cent increase in current tar sands production and increase greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 22 million tonnes a year. The 1,897 kilometre pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta to Houston, Texas would also – just like the Dakota Access Pipeline – cross numerous waterways and put drinking water at risk.

The Trudeau government has already approved the 890,000 barrel per day Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline and the 760,000 barrel per day Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. Trump’s statements and his appointment of an Exxon executive as US Secretary of State all but guarantees the 830,000 barrel per day Keystone XL will be approved quickly. On top of that, the Trudeau government has just appointed new members to the National Energy Board to enable the review of the 1.1 million barrel per day TransCanada Energy East pipeline to proceed.

The Council of Canadians travelled to Washington numerous times to join protests against Keystone XL, including calling on the Canadian embassy in August 2011 to demand that they stop lobbying for the pipeline, participating in the Surround the White House action in November 2011, and the Forward on Climate protest in February 2013.

We will continue to work in the new year with our allies to stop Keystone XL.