News Canada

Harper: Keystone XL is important for jobs

By Daniel Proussalidis, National Bureau

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency

Prime Minister Stephen Harper. DIDIER DEBUSSCHERE/QMI Agency

OTTAWA - 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Canada's ambassador to the U.S., Gary Doer, have a good cop/bad cop routine going on the Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

Harper pulled his punches Friday in response to U.S. President Barack Obama's very public attempt to undermine the job-creation argument for the pipeline that would carry oilsands crude from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

"Clearly this is a project that will create jobs on both sides of the border and it is in our judgment an important project, not just for our economy and for job creation, but for the long-term energy security of North America," Harper said in Quebec City.

That's a much softer approach than Doer's response to Obama's claim that the project would create just 2,000 temporary construction jobs and only "between 50 and 100 jobs" for ongoing pipeline operations.

Doer told Sun News Network there would be 40,000 construction jobs over two years — 20 times Obama's lowball figure.

"We also are making the point that the president can approve the pipeline or, if he doesn't, the oil is coming down from Canada on train," Doer said Monday.

While TransCanada awaits Obama's go-ahead on Keystone XL, it's pushing forward with a $12-billion Energy East proposal to ship Alberta and Saskatchewan crude to refineries in Montreal, Quebec City and Saint John, N.B.

That's an idea that makes Harper smile.

"But it is, I think, a good idea that we find pan-Canadian solutions, so that all of this country benefit from our energy products, and that we enhance our own energy security," he said. "So I think in principal projects like that are a good idea, but they'll be subject to rigorous independent analysis."

Part of Energy East would cross Quebec, which may be sensitive to the concerns about oil transportation given the runaway oil-train explosion in Lac-Megantic that killed 47 people on July 6.

Harper said worried residents should be reassured that "the absolute safest way to transport energy products is through pipelines."

"Projects like this are subject to independent evaluation that will look at these kinds of issues, environmental issues, safety and security issues," Harper said.

Almost three-quarters of the Energy East route would use converted natural gas pipelines that already exist, but new pipeline would have to be built through Quebec and New Brunswick.

TransCanada says it's sure it can ease Quebec's concerns about the pipeline's proposed route.

Poll

Are you in favour of the Keystone XL pipeline project?


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions


Featured Businesses

Go to the Marketplace »