Sask. premier holds out hope on Keystone XL, 'wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch'

·3 min read

Saskatchewan's premier says the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline isn't over yet.

In a recent interview with CBC's Rosemary Barton, Premier Scott Moe says conversations around the TC Energy project are ongoing, despite U.S. President Joe Biden's recent cancellation of the pipeline's permit by executive order.

"I wouldn't say this project is over by any stretch. There is a lot of conversation to have on KXL," Moe said in an interview on Rosemary Barton Live.

The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude oil daily from oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska, connecting to the original Keystone pipeline running to the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

A portion of the project would have crossed into southern Saskatchewan.

Moe, along with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, has pushed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to take action against the pipeline's halt.

That could include economic sanctions, Moe suggested — a possibility also raised by Kenney.

"I haven't said that we should go to sanctions and sanctions should be utilized first," Moe said in his interview with Barton.

"But sanctions are always on the table in any conversation or any challenge that we may have with our trading relationship with our largest partner."

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

The project, originally blocked by U.S. President Barack Obama, was then approved by President Donald Trump, who wanted to negotiate the terms of the project, before ultimately being blocked again by Biden in the first days of his presidency.

Federal Opposition leader Erin O'Toole has also expressed frustration over the cancellation of the project, saying in a statement it "will devastate thousands of Canadian families who have already been badly hurt by the economic crisis."

Trudeau's government has repeatedly said that it supports the project and has made that clear to the new U.S. administration, but both the prime minister and Canada's ambassador to the U.S. have said it is time to respect the decision and move on.

Speaking on Friday morning, Trudeau reiterated his disappointment with the cancellation and said he would raise the issue during his phone call with Biden scheduled for later in the day.

"Obviously the decision on Keystone XL is a very difficult one for workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan who've had many difficult hits," he said.

"Over the past years we have been there for them and we will continue to be there for them and I will express my concern for jobs and livelihoods in Canada, particularly in the West, directly in my conversation with President Biden."

Trudeau stressed he and the new president are on the same wavelength on fighting climate change and middle-class job creation, as well as the "values of Canadians."

Moe called the cancellation a "devastating blow to North American energy security," and said in the interview with Barton he'll continue to advocate for the pipeline, which he says has both economic and environmental benefits for Canada.