John Baird wants to talk pipelines in meeting with John Kerry

John BairdJohn Baird is in Washington, DC Friday, to partake in what could be his most important meeting during his tenure as Canada's foreign affairs minister.

Baird is meeting with his new counterpart in the United States, John Kerry.

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While the two Johns will likely be discussing topics like Syria, Mali and Iran, there's no more important issue for Canada than the Keystone pipeline — the proposed multi-billion dollar mega-project, which if built would transport 830,000 barrels of oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast.

Building the pipeline and buoying the oil sands industry is a critical element of the Harper government's strategy to build Canada's economy. According to a recent Global News report, the pipeline would be a tremendous boon to Canada's economy.

"The Alberta oilsands are responsible for over 140,000 Canadian jobs, a number that stands to grow to almost half a million jobs after project completion," notes the article.

The Obama administration is expected to make a decision on the controversial project as early as next month.

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A government official told Yahoo! Canada News that the pipeline talks will definitely be an important item for Baird.

"This is the first meeting between the two, so I think this is a good opportunity for the two to get to know one another and discuss a broad range of issues," the unnamed source told Yahoo!.

"Of course, the governments top priority remains jobs and economic growth, and the Minister will be pushing for increased cooperation to create these conditions. The Keystone XL project is definitely one which would create a lot of jobs on both sides of the border, and giving the Americans the energy security they've long hoped for."

(Photo courtesy of Reuters)

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