Alberta NDP calls for release of Keystone XL deal documents
Alberta's NDP is calling on Premier Jason Kenney to release documents on the Keystone XL deal. (File photo).
CALGARY -- Alberta NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley is calling on Premier Jason Kenney to publicly disclose details of the Keystone XL deal signed by the province in March.
The Kenney government has invested $1.5 billion in the project and provided $6 billion in loan guarantees.
U.S. President Joe Biden revoked the permit for the US$8-billion pipeline hours after being sworn into office on Wednesday, a move Kenney called "a gut punch" to Albertans.
"This news is a devastating blow to our province, especially to those Albertans working on the project, and to the towns benefiting from the economic activity, like Hardisty and Oyen."
Ganley added the province should have known the project was in peril as Biden campaigned on rescinding the permit. As well, former U.S. president Barack Obama revoked its permit in 2015, which was reinstated by former president Donald Trump in 2017.
"The UCP's financial committment to the KXL was always risky," said Ganley. "The path forward depended on the re-election of Donald Trump, but Premier Kenney made a $7.5 billion bet on Trump's re-election. Unforutunately for Albertans, Jason Kenney lost that bet and now he is trying to blame everyone but himself.
"The responsibility rests squarely on his shoulders."
A spokesperson for the premier's office said the current exposure for Alberta taxpayers is about $1 billion as a result of the cancellation of Keystone XL.
"That pales in comparison to the loss in future government tax and royalty revenues, and the loss of thousands of well-paying jobs — which the NDP notably seems uninterested in," read a statement.
"As the NDP knows full well, such contracts are subject to commercial sensitivity — the same reason the former NDP government was unable to release details of its crude-by-rail contracts."
Kenney has called on prime Minister Justin Trudeau to impose sanctions against the U.S. in response to the move and for Trudeau to advocate for it when he speaks to Biden, scheduled for Friday afternoon. .
Work has since been halted on the project, which is slated to run 2,735-kilometres (1,700-miles) from Hardisty, Alta. to Steele City, Neb., and would carry more than 800,000 barrels of bitumen each day from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
On March 31, 2020, Alberta announced it was investing $1.5-billion in the project, along with the loan guarantees, creating approximately 2,000 construction jobs in the area. TC Energy, the company behind the project, announced on Thursday more than 1,000 construction jobs are being eliminated as as result of the permit being revoked.
Ganley said Kenney's economic recovery plan for the province relied on Keystone moving forward.
"Now that is is stopped, the UCP has no economic plan and they've lost at least $1.5 billion with nothing to show for it," she said.
Rather than start a trade war — Kenney has called for Canada to impose sanctions on the U.S. — Ganley says diplomacy is needed.
"I fear the repercussions of a trade war, the consequences of that would be entirely unpredicatable for Canadian jobs, Canadian industries, Canadian workers and Canadian families. We got intot his mess because Jason Kenney was neither strategic, nor diplomatic. He failed to establish diplomatic relations with this administration when it mattered most."
Also on Friday, Kenney released a letter he sent to Trudeau on the issue.