American environmentalists to Stephen Harper: 'We’re not taking yes for an answer' on Keystone XL

Stephen Harper raised the ire of environmental groups on Thursday, after telling a New York audience of business people that he won't 'take no for an answer' on the Keystone XL pipeline.

"My view is that you don't take no for an answer," Harper said, according to the Canadian Press, referencing the multi-billion project that the Obama administration is deliberating on.

"We haven't had that. If we were to get that, that won't be final. This won't be final until it's approved and we will keep pushing forward."

Harper continued, suggesting that Obama's recent musings about how many jobs Keystone would create was just politics.

"The logic here is overwhelming," Harper said.

"I remain an optimist that, notwithstanding politics, that when something is so clearly in everybody's interest -- including our interest as Canadians, but the national interest of the United States -- I'm of the view that it has to be approved."

[ Related: New York Times slams Stephen Harper for muzzling scientists ]

Harper's words aren't sitting well with the American environmental community and especially anti-Keystone activists.

"Too bad for Prime Minister Harper, because we're not taking yes for an answer," Jamie Henn, communication director for 350.org, a prominent environmental group in the United States, told Yahoo Canada News.

"Farmers and ranchers in Nebraska are preparing to stop the pipeline at all costs, thousands of people have already been arrested protesting Keystone XL, and 75,000 more have committed to join acts of civil disobedience to protest the project. That's real commitment, Harper's comments are just political posturing."

Michael Marx of the Sierra Club says that Harper is just posturing.

"The Harper government and the tar sands industry can't seem to get their story straight. One minute they don't need the pipeline, the next minute they can't live with out it," Marx said in an emailed statement to Yahoo.

"The fact is, their strategy of influencing the review with biased consultants and promising the moon on carbon mitigation will not work. No amount of posturing will cover up the fact that the Keystone XL pipeline fails the president's carbon test, and fails the national interest test."

[ Related: Obama’s nomination of 'campaign bundler’ as ambassador to Canada criticized in U.S. ]

And, on this side of the border, NDP MP Nathan Cullen slammed the government during a media scrum on Parliament Hill.

"[Harper is] finally confirming what he said earlier that this project has been a no-brainer and he has quickly lost his mental capacity to argue his case," Cullen said.

"What is the Prime Minister of Canada talking about when he says he won't take no for an answer. That's got no connection of reality whatsoever. Is he hoping for the demise of Mr. Obama and the Democratic Party. He's making no sense and he's lost credibility."

Harper's comments came during a Canadian American Business Council event in New York City.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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