Alberta Politics

Biden cancelling Keystone XL exposes Kenney’s foolish multi-billion dollar gamble

Probably the least surprising news to hit Alberta politics this month is today’s reports that incoming American President Joe Biden will revoke the Presidential Permit approving the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline on the first day of his presidency.

Biden promised months ago that he would cancel the permit, so it comes as no surprise. But it marks another huge blow to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who invested a huge sum of his own political capital and Albertans’ real financial capital into the project.

While Keystone XL has sucked up a large amount of oxygen in provincial politics over the past few years, completion of the Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline depended almost entirely on the re-election of Donald Trump in November 2020 – an outcome that was never a sure bet.

That was the bet that Kenney made when his United Conservative Party government invested $1.5 billion of public funds into the TC Energy Corporation pipeline project and promised $6 billion worth of loan guarantees. Because of the secrecy surrounding the details of the agreement it remains unclear how much of the loan guarantees have been implemented.

For the Kenney government, it is now all about political posturing, which usually means blaming the federal government in Ottawa and eco-socialists and green-leftists abroad, and trying to justify to Albertans the billions of public dollars were just lost in this foolhardy investment.

6 replies on “Biden cancelling Keystone XL exposes Kenney’s foolish multi-billion dollar gamble”

No, I don’t believe it was a gamble at all. The XL buyout did exactly what Kenney intended: funnel more taxpayer dollars into the pockets of his oil company buddies.

That’s it, that was the whole plan. Put more money into rich peoples’ pockets.

Inevitably, some voice in the wilderness will ask if Alberta has the prairie version of the Panama Papers, or “Ponoka Papers”. Who is getting rich from all this? Who exactly?

Maybe we’ll have to wait 2.25+ years to find out, but who’s counting?

As I write this, it is Jan 20 and I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. A lot has been said in the last few days by some in the mainstream media in Alberta about how to try pressure Biden to change his mind, but I think is at best faint hope and at worst a deflection. Biden has been very clear on his position for a long time.

I wonder after it becomes clear there will be no change in position, whether there will be much scrutiny or accountability for the $1.5 billion or more put at risk by the current Alberta government earlier this year on this project? Surely anyone who could read polls or political statements could have figured out this was a very risky and foolish bet.

$1.5 Billion, $6 Billion, meh. The Teachers pension fund will cover the continued losses…and by “Teachers Pension Fund” I really mean future generations of Albertan taxpayers because Teachers pensions are guaranteed by the provincial government to be fully funded.

Whatever happened to the: “Refine it where you Mine it” campaign?

Those $Billion$ of Albertan taxpayer dollars would be better spent developing the Value-Added refining industry here in Alberta – or even in provinces across Canada.

Quebec is already Alberta’s #1 customer of Alberta oil In Canada east of our province. Imagine if other provinces actually wanted and had capacity to refine Alberta Oil instead of just shipping our Raw Bitumen across the border handing foreign nations our wealth to develop.

Give other provinces opportunities, not just pipeline local access fees and transfer payments !

Dave: Don’t forget the additional $6 billion in loan guarantees. That’s $7.5 billion. The UCP continues to burn Alberta’s money away. Billions upon billions.The premier trying to fight the American government is like a fly trying to fight an elephant. It’s not going going to work out. If you have any faith in polls, various polls show the UCP is losing popularity, and more and more each time. The UCP is trying to save their necks, but that’s likely a lost cause. With close to 2 years until the next provincial election, the UCP will be scrambling to redeem themselves, but it will be too late.

While Kenney tap dances for the American TV audience, he’s selling off registries and land titles, which had been a money-making venture for the province.

Remember that commercial with the mime and “I’m going to the library?” This is that.

This show is a cowboy musical. Wear your bandanas for the pandemic (and highway robbery scene). The rubes won’t know what hit them.

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