Sep 30, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 04 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
It's not often officials from the nation’s largest business lobby and an AFL-CIO-affiliated union speak to one another, let alone work together. But last week, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and North America’s Building Trades Unions held a joint press conference on Capitol Hill in support of the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring oil from Northern Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Nearby that same day, exactly five years after Trans-Canada Corp. applied for a permit to build the pipeline, the House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing whose title said it all: “Keystone’s Red Tape Anniversary: Five Years of Bureaucratic Delay and Economic Benefits Denied.”
Both events featured a bipartisan group of policymakers and experts whose statements ranged from puzzlement to pique that the Obama administration still hadn’t adjudicated TransCanada’s application. Keystone’s five-year review has taken “far longer than any other cross-border pipeline project and more than twice as long as it will take to build the pipeline,” Building Trades president Sean McGarvey said. Lucian Pugliaresi, president of the Energy Policy Research Foundation, declared at the hearing, “It’s not something that should have created all this furor.”
Nobody thought it would take the president this long to make a decision on the $12 billion venture that would move nearly 1,000,000 barrels of oil a day. Pundits predicted he would approve the pipeline soon after his reelection last year, once he could afford to alienate the environmental groups that oppose the plan. But Obama’s indecisiveness knows no bounds, as we just saw with the Syria debacle. The president declared the Middle Eastern country would face serious strikes after using deadly chemical weapons, then backtracked, sending Secretary of State John Kerry to Congress and abroad to make a confused case for an abbreviated battle the American public didn’t want. Now Obama has suggested that the ultimate authority for Keystone lies with that same, humiliated functionary. The State Department released its final environmental impact report two years ago, finding Keystone would have “no significant impacts.” The president insisted then that more research needed to be done and recently told the New York Times that it was “John Kerry’s decision or recommendation” that would finally end the debate.
The State Department is involved only because the pipeline would cross an international border, so it seems ridiculous for the president to pass off his duty to Kerry. But Keystone might well turn out to be a matter of state and security. Refiners say Canadian oil could replace up to half the 2 million barrels imported each day to the Gulf Coast from less friendly countries. Consulting group IHS CERA, Forbes reports, believes “that if the tar sands don’t come from Canada then heavy crude oils—with similar attributes—would be shipped from Venezuela.” The environmental impact would remain the same; the difference is that America would be doing business with (and contributing to the economy of) an unfriendly dictatorship rather than a close friend.
Neither Obama nor Kerry will decide whether the tar sands of Alberta will be developed. It’s not a matter of if the fuel below ground will be extracted, but when—and for whom. The Chinese government has already begun making purchases in an attempt to secure these resources for itself. If the administration rejects Keystone—or even just continues to delay its decision—it’s likely that Canadian oil will instead be sent to China. Environmentalists haven’t explained how shipping oil across the Pacific by boat will result in a smaller carbon footprint than piping it down to Louisiana. They certainly haven’t considered what it might mean to cede control over a vast resource to our biggest (and least friendly) competitor.
That’s not why North America’s Building Trades Unions joined forces with the Chamber of Commerce to urge approval of the project, of course. Both groups—and the American public—have something more pressing in mind: jobs. The president’s own State Department estimated that the initial construction period of the pipeline would result in over 42,000 jobs a year. But Obama then claimed, in his New York Times interview, that “this might create maybe 2,000 jobs during the construction” and “between 50 and 100 [chuckles] jobs” afterwards (sneering sound in original).
When Canadians watch ice hockey, this is what they see.Apr 22, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 30 • By MICHAEL TAUBE
When the four-month-long National Hockey League (NHL) lockout was resolved this past winter, a collective sigh of relief could be heard—especially in Canada, where ice hockey is viewed as a national pastime that defines a way of life. Hockey stories, legends, and heroes are passed down in an effort to preserve the history and frozen mystique of “our game.”
But didn't thank the Americans, and the CIA and State Dept. in particular.9:43 AM, Feb 25, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
In accepting the best movie award last night at the Oscars, Ben Affleck thanked Canada.
The greatest (fictional) detective just may be Canadian.Dec 24, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 15 • By MICHAEL TAUBE
Who is the world’s greatest detective? For fans of mystery and detective fiction, finding a solution to this perplexing question is their raison d’être. But countless hours spent debating the merits of legendary figures usually end up with no answer in sight.
Peter Lougheed, 1928-2012.
Oct 1, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 03 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
A cerebral law professor takes his progressive ideas into politics and inspires a personality cult that catapults him to the highest office in the land. Encouraged by the heady mixture of popularity and power, he makes an unprecedented move to abuse his authority. It guts the federalism on which his nation was founded—but who can stop him? One man: a brash lawyer who declared the region he led would go on strike before it would submit to unconstitutional bullying.
Short answer: badly.6:14 PM, Apr 24, 2012 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
If I ever doubted that reporters crave a good story more than almost anything else, my own reaction to the Alberta election last night would have reminded me of its veracity. Before the polls in the province were even closed, I had begun thinking about how I’d pitch a short piece about it to the bosses: Tea Party-like upstart gains power in one of Canada’s wealthiest provinces just a few years after its founding.
3:15 PM, Mar 28, 2012 • By IKE BRANNON and LOGAN ALBRIGHT
Americans tend to think of Canada as a friendly, clean bastion of European-style socialism, replete with cradle to grave entitlements and a perpetually tepid economy. However, over the last few years Canada has set a pace for economic growth that clearly demonstrates that our current economic malaise is escapable.
2:00 PM, Jan 19, 2012 • By FRED BARNES
President Obama’s rejection of a pipeline to bring more Canadian oil to the United States is enormously revealing. He sided with the environmental lobby, a major Democratic interest group, over the majority of Americans who favor the job-creating pipeline. And that’s not all.
8:08 AM, Nov 15, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
Speaker John Boehner and Alberta premier Alison Redford met yesterday to discuss the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project--and how President Obama has delayed his decision on the pipeline until after next year's election. As the speaker's office explains:
Making the case against mindless tinkering.May 16, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 33 • By KELLY JANE TORRANCE
by John Pepall
Toronto, 176 pp., $19.95
Canada’s Conservative party won a clear majority in last week’s federal election. So the Canadian constitution is safe, for now.
Are they now the natural governing party of Canada?May 16, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 33 • By FRED BARNES
Who’s the most powerful conservative leader in the Americas, north and south? That may sound like a trick question, but it’s not. The answer is Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister who triumphed last week in an election that all but destroyed two opposition parties, the Liberals and the Bloc Québécois (BQ).
10:06 AM, Apr 22, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
Across the Great White North, "Human Rights Comissions" are running amok and making a mockery of the Canadian Charter of Rights, which guarantees "freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication."