With the official suspension of Keystone XL, criticized from all sides, Jason Kenney finds himself in a political and economic rut.
On January 20, TC Energy’s official announcement to suspend Keystone XL pipeline work following an executive order from US President Joe Biden struck the Alberta skies like a thunderclap. The day before, at a press briefing, the Prime Minister, Jason Kenney, appealed to the federal government and to Justin trudeau, in order to use his influence with the US government.
“Government of Alberta Calls on Federal Government and Prime Minister Trudeau to Immediately Begin Talks with Biden Government on Keystone XL Pipeline Cancellation as Part of Broader Energy Supply Agreement and climate action, ”he says.
Jason Kenney continues to believe in it and sometimes blames the American government for not having taken the trouble to sit down with one of its great allies of always, arguing in passing the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, sometimes the federal government for not being firm, as early as 2015.
However, the decision of US President Joe Biden comes as no surprise in Alberta. “Politicians like to keep their promises, no I’m not surprised and a lot of Albertans aren’t either,” says Jacquie Fenske, leader of the province’s other conservative party, Alberta bluntly. party.
When Donald Trump decided to resuscitate the Keystone XL project, after its suspension already in 2015 under the mandate of Barack Obama with as vice-president, Joe Biden, “he did it by direct order and not through an environmental process”, reminds Mme Fenske.
This former municipal representative said she was worried about the effect of this situation on communities already economically weakened, from the mining sector. Jason Kenney had brought a lot of hope by promoting this project. “My heart is with the small communities in eastern Alberta who are trying to get by and are desperate. Everyone is, when someone bets $ 1.5 billion, ”she says.In addition to this, you need to know more about it.
A foreseeable but ignored risk
A feeling that she is not the only one to share. “People trusted him and found out that he was playing with public money,” says David Khan, former leader of the Liberal Party in Alberta and lawyer for the non-profit organization Ecojustice in Alberta.
At the press conference, the Prime Minister was asked if he had any regrets about the $ 1.5 billion invested last year in the Keystone project. The answer was clear: “no”, retorting that “if the project is canceled, it will represent a cost of approximately $ 30 billion to the economy of Alberta by 2030”. Jason Kenney counted more than anything on this project that got him elected.
However, the risk calculation undertaken in the investment of last March did not convince the first players concerned.
“We know that the private sector had no intention of betting on it, especially during an election year,” said the leader of the Alberta party.
David Khan sees it as “an incredible error in judgment and the most dangerous decision in the history of the Alberta government in decades,” he describes. According to him, the Prime Minister played roulette, “in roulette there is a one in two chance, but here it was 95% chance of losing”, he criticizes.
In this type of investment, a risk analysis is always required. “An investment without a risk analysis would be declared an unacceptable practice in the private sector. “, Puts forward the energy consultant, Marc Lacrampe.
Rachel Notley had previously made it known on social media that she was asking to see such a document. But according to Jacquie Fenske, “there was no risk analysis of this investment. It was done overnight like the removal of the coal policy [la réglementation environnementale de 1976]. I think Albertans deserve transparency, ”she says.
Since the beginning of the week, Jason Kenney seems to be in denial concerning the decision of the American president, wishing to use “solid” legal remedies, then mentioning January 20 in his last conference of economic sanctions through the federal government.
What are the next avenues for Alberta? On Friday January 22, a first telephone conversation will take place between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden.