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Kinsman: With the delay in Keystone XL, will attention now shift to the Northern Gateway?

By: /
21 November, 2011
Jeremy Kinsman
By: Jeremy Kinsman
CIC Distinguished Fellow

I doubt, speaking from British Columbia, that Northern Gateway has a chance of approval. No magic bullet there.

Back to Plan ‘A’. Delay of Keystone XL past the 2012 election – that’s the reality – enables its backers to get an upgraded and thoughtful communications act together, and engage more effective advocates. 

Approval of the project was never a “no-brainer,” obviously. Delay can’t be put down to just “politics.” (And so what if it was?) It is a response to wide and deep opposition on several levels, of which the hazardous Nebraska routing was just one surface issue. The project’s sponsors have to respect the opposition or they lose.

Tone-deaf Calgary hears one just side of the American narrative, “Drill baby, drill” oil patch Republicans. The other and persuading side for now is probably the strongest and most effective lobbying community in the world, the US environmental movement, reinforced by increasing anxiety over national carbon energy addiction. The Canadian side has to listen in order to persuade and won’t do it with infantile and insulting arguments about “ethical oil.” There has to be demonstrable proof of commitment to reduce the oil sands’ carbon output. Just buying TV ads saying it is so, won’t do it. There has to be evidence of serious investment. So, get serious.

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