WATCH ABOVE: The Alberta government is on the hook for more than a billion dollars after the new U.S. president blocked the Keystone XL pipeline. The province had invested more than a billion dollars of into the project. Fletcher Kent has more on the investment finger pointing that has followed.
Within hours of being sworn in on Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the Keystone XL permit.
The move drew quick criticism from the premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan, whose energy sectors were depending on the US$8 billion project.
Last spring, the Alberta government invested about US$1.1 billion (C$1.5 billion) in the project. Kenney has said the province has about $1 billion at risk if the project is killed.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dated Jan. 21 and obtained by Global News, Kenney expressed his “profound disappointment” over the project’s cancellation and what he called the lack of federal response to “our repeated requests for your personal intervention with the incoming administration.”
Kenney said “at the very least,” he is calling upon the government of Canada to press the U.S. Administration to compensate TC Energy and the Alberta government for billions of dollars of costs incurred in the construction to date.
“These costs were incurred on the assumption that the United States has a predictable regulatory framework, and based on the Presidential permit authorizing the Keystone XL border crossing which was installed in the summer of 2019,” Kenney wrote.
“For the United States to retroactively cancel the permit, on the basis of which investment decisions were made, is a clear violation of the investor-protection provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which were extended as a result of your government’s successful negotiation of the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement.”
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Kenney said the project needs to be at the top of Canada’s priority list.
“By retroactively revoking the Presidential permit for this project without taking the time to discuss it with their longest standing all, the United States is setting a deeply disturbing precedent for any future projects and collaboration between our two nations,” Kenney wrote.
“If the U.S. is unwilling to listen, then we must demonstrate that Canada will stand up for Canadian workers and the Canadian economy.”
Kenney said a path to a reconsideration of Keystone XL must be found.
During the First Ministers call Thursday night, Trudeau faced anger from some of Canada’s premiers over the cancellation of the pipeline.
Trudeau touched on the call briefly during a media availability Friday morning.
He said during the conversation, he expressed his disappointment with the United States’ decision on Keystone.
“To workers, especially in Alberta and Saskatchewan who’ve been hit really hard, we will continue to have your back,” Trudeau said Friday.
The prime minister noted that Canada needs to work shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. on a number of fronts, including “rebuilding economies that benefit everyone.”
“This is something I look forward to discussing with President Biden when we speak on the phone later today,” he said.
“Canadians and Americans are more than just neighbours – we are allies, partners, and friends.”
Friday’s call will be the new U.S. president’s first with a foreign leader after being sworn into office Wednesday.
With files from Sean Boynton and David Akin, Global News.
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