(Adds remarks from Kenney, Dion and Notley, implications for
By Randall Palmer and Leah Schnurr
OTTAWA Nov 6 Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau said on Friday he was disappointed at the U.S. decision
to block the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline but didn't see it
standing in the way of improving relations between the two
Canada's newly elected Liberal government also reiterated it
was prepared to support domestic pipeline projects like
TransCanada Corp's Keystone alternative Energy East,
but only if there was buy-in from local communities.
While he openly backed Keystone XL ahead of last month's
Canadian election, Trudeau made clear he would adopt a different
tack than the outgoing Conservatives, who irritated the U.S.
administration with constant pressure to approve the
"The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one
project and I look forward to a fresh start with President Obama
to strengthen our remarkable ties in a spirit of friendship and
cooperation," the Liberal leader stated.
"We are disappointed by the decision but respect the right
of the United States to make the decision."
By contrast, prominent opposition Conservative legislator
Jason Kenney characterized the U.S. move as "insulting" and
accused Trudeau of waving the white flag.
Trudeau has been vocal about the need to fight global
warming and had not raised the pipeline with Obama when the
President congratulated him on his electoral victory last month.
He plans to meet Obama during a Nov. 15-16 summit in Turkey.
While the Liberals have promised carbon reductions, Foreign
Minister Stephane Dion said the government did not share the
position of environmentalists who oppose expansion of the
country's carbon-intensive oil sands.
"We didn't say we will close the shop and then you won't
have any pollution. We want sustainable development," he told
Most of Canada's oil comes from the landlocked provinces of
Alberta and Saskatchewan. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said she
was not surprised by the U.S. decision and had spoken with
Trudeau about getting Alberta oil to international markets.
"We need to focus our efforts on the other pipelines over
which we have greater domain," Notley said, adding that the U.S.
decision "underlines the need to improve our environmental
Energy East would carry Alberta crude to Canada's East
Coast, where it could be refined or sold onto international
Foreign Minister Dion said Obama's decision did not change
the Liberal policy of supporting Energy East as long as it can
win the "social license" of local support. The project faces
opposition from environmental groups and some communities along
"In Canada, if we want these projects to go through, we need
to rebuild our environmental assessment and the confidence
communities may have (in) us. Otherwise, we'll not be able to go
ahead," he said.
Dion added that a "serious trading country like Canada" had
a duty to bring products to market and if it was not through a
pipeline it would go another way that might not be as safe or
Transport Minister Marc Garneau had said on Thursday that
well-built pipelines are recognized as safer than rail.
(Additional reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Christian
Plumb and James Dalgleish)