Gateway Gazette

Senator Black Speaks on Decision by President Obama to Veto Keystone Bill

 

OTTAWA, February 25th, 2015 – I was profoundly disappointed to learn that President Obama vetoed the Keystone XL bill sent to him by congress. As America’s largest trading partner and closest friend for decades, the President has turned a blind eye to Canada and our shared history.

When it comes to Keystone XL there are a few things Americans and Canadians all agree upon: We can all agree that Keystone XL will enhance energy security in North America. We agree that the Keystone pipeline is the most sophisticated and safest pipeline proposal in the world. We agree that transporting oil through Keystone is dramatically safer than oil transport by rail.

We agree that allowing Keystone to be built will create jobs and economic growth in both Canada and the United States. We agree that the environmental impact of oil from the oil sands is no greater than that of U.S. heavy oil and is better than the heavy oil being imported to the U.S. from Venezuela, the Middle East, and Africa.

For all of these reasons, the choice of approving keystone should be a very easy one. Good for Canada – good for the us. Yet we have seen the president use every available opportunity, real or imagined, to delay approving the pipeline. As Canadians we understand ragging the puck – but at some point a team wants to get it together and score – and not against yourself.

What makes the president’s veto deeply troubling is that Canada has historically shown nothing but unwavering support for our friend and ally – the United States. Just in the last few years – we have offered unmatched support and strong leadership on Ukraine and Israel. We have been active and supported the us led missions against ISIS and in Afghanistan. We have lost too many Canadian soldiers in these battles. We have facilitated a détente between the U.S. and Cuba.

And as we learned yesterday from Senator Greene’s statement, Canada has been making significant contributions to the us led fight against terror by effectively disrupting drug smuggling off East Africa.

On the domestic front we are equally supportive. We are the U.S.’s largest and most reliable trading partner. As friends, allies, and trading partners we simply should not accept this type of treatment on an issue that is so important to our country.

Can, or should we continue on with business as usual? Should we simply continue being “nice”, tolerant, “turn the other cheek” Canadians?

Or is it time to say that this complete lack of respect and regard for our national interests is not acceptable to Canada. Is it time to summon the American ambassador to explain to him, in blunt terms, our disappointment, and to ask how the U.S. plans to address not only Keystone, but the one way nature of our current relationship?

I say yes.

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