Harper: Thanks to Obama’s “no” on Keystone, the price of Canadian crude will go up for the U.S.

posted at 2:50 pm on April 3, 2012 by Tina Korbe

The damage is done. Even if President Barack Obama decides to approve the Keystone XL pipeline at some point in the future, he already sent a message to Canada that our northern neighbor can’t rely on us as its only energy customer — and Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper heeded it.

In an interview with former U.S. Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) in D.C. yesterday, Harper explained that Canada will now seek to expand its export market to Asia and will also cease to supply oil to the United States at a discounted rate.

“Look, the very fact that a ‘no’ could even be said underscores to our country that we must diversify our energy export markets,” Harper told Harman in front of a live audience of businesspeople, scholars, diplomats, and journalists. …

Harper also told Harman that Canada has been selling its oil to the United States at a discounted price.

So not only will America be able to buy less Canadian oil even if Keystone is eventually approved, the U.S. will also have to pay more for it because the market for oilsands crude will be more competitive.

“We have taken a significant price hit by virtue of the fact that we are a captive supplier and that just does not make sense in terms of the broader interests of the Canadian economy,” Harper said. “We’re still going to be a major supplier of the United States. It will be a long time, if ever, before the United States isn’t our number one export market, but for us the United States cannot be our only export market.

“That is not in our interest, either commercially or in terms of pricing.”

“We cannot be, as a country, in a situation where our one and, in many cases, only energy partner could say no to our energy products. We just cannot be in that position.”

Harper’s comments came the same day that Barack Obama’s Super PAC, Priorities USA, released an ad that sought to tie Mitt Romney to Big Oil. The ad was itself a response to an ad underwritten by the American Energy Alliance that attacked Obama on his energy record and warned that this administration would be content to see gas prices rise as high as $9 a gallon.

This fallout from the president’s decision on Keystone XL underscores the truth that Obama does not make policy decisions in a vacuum. He’ll do what he will — and other countries will respond accordingly. Our famously “cerebral” leader might have preferred to have had more time to “sufficiently review” the project, but he didn’t. In the time frame he was given, he made his priorities perfectly clear: He cares more to retain the support of certain constituencies than to approve a project that would have created thousands of jobs and signaled to Canada that we’re committed to ensure a supply of affordable energy for ourselves. The American Energy Alliance had it right: The president’s energy policies have done nothing to secure America’s energy future. We’ll be ever more at the mercy of the oil-producing countries the president likes to blame so much.

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Enbridge had proposed a pipeline to the West Coast near Vancouver on an existing right of way and alongside an already existing pipeline to a terminal near Vancouver. This was in 2007. China pulled out of the deal in 2008 due foot dragging by Canadian government on permitting.

And Bush was dumb?

Kermit on April 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Obama’s base:
– welfare recipients (don’t own a car)
– urban residents (take the bus/subway)
– college kids (mon and dad pay for gas)
Gas could be $10 a gallon and the typical Obama vote won’t be affected. That’s why he doesn’t care about the politics of it.
angryed on April 3, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Actually, everyone is affected. Considering oil as something “just for the car” is a limited view of it. Food gets transported in trucks and the cost is transferred to the customer. The same for every other good and service out there. Plastics are derived from oil as well so higher oil prices mean more expensive manufacturing products too. In short, everything in our daily life is affected by higher oil prices and everyone, no matter income level, will feel the sting of it in one way or another.

That is why it is important to remind the people in those groups you mentioned that it is not “the evil” oil companies setting the price for the heck of it but rather a world market that looks for signs of whether there will be plenty of oil ir not to go around in the coming years. And that the policies of a president that, say, has reduced permitting of new oil projects to a third, is blocking new ventures, wants to remove tax deductions that every business has for oil producers only, and is dedicated to making oil as unviable and inaccessible as possible to favor more expensive, less reliable, and less efficient sources, will signal there will be less oil output in the coming years and thus affect the price.

(p.s.: just tell jobless college students -and even some welfare recipients out there- that the new $500 iPad/iPhone they get every year will be more expensive as a result of higher oil prices. That ought to make them listen a bit).

ptcamn on April 3, 2012 at 4:44 PM

Local newspaper asks readers if they have modified their driving habits because of the high price of gas. Duh! Obviously, the answer for most of us is ‘yes’. Liberals are happy that we are driving less and saving the planet. I’m honked off that my $400/month cost to drive to/from work is now $500/month. Thank you Obama. Guess I’ll use that extra $20/week from my payroll tax savings for gas instead of pizza parties for the family.

HoosierStateofMind on April 3, 2012 at 4:45 PM

Canada, once again, schooling the U.S. about how markets work.

Remember when the good, ol’ US of A was a capitalist country…? I know it was a long time ago, but those were the days…, good times… , good times…

ptcamn on April 3, 2012 at 4:50 PM


KOOLAID2 on April 3, 2012 at 4:57 PM

Amateurish, but for O’bama’s blatant hypocrisy.

FerdtheMoonCat on April 3, 2012 at 5:13 PM

Thanks Obama!

Ukiah on April 3, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Regardless of Obama’s idiocy, were I to succeed him in office, I’d make it clear to Canada that they’re on their own if Russia wants to go after its arctic resources. Only Alaskan/U.S. waters will be protected. You’d think a little historical consideration would be given. Does anyone really think Russia hasn’t been more aggressive with them in resource disputes because they’re scared of the Canadian military?


avgjo on April 3, 2012 at 5:51 PM

Doesn’t Canada profit from NAFTA? Don’t the make around 50 Billion a annually selling their stuff to America?

Okay so now can we repeal NAFTA?

Dr Evil on April 3, 2012 at 5:53 PM

Obama is proving a Harvard law degree doesn’t mean you have the brains of a piss ant. When you have never had a job, how are you expected to know what a job is?

volsense on April 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM

The Canadian Prime Minister is right. If the U.S. isn’t going to be a reliable trading partner, he has no choice but to diversify their buyers.

Too bad for us, though.

I work for an Ag coop that is 50 miles away from where I live, as a programmer. Part of what we do is sell fuel. I bought a 500 gallon contract for $3.60 that goes from March – October, I forwent a 5% raise last year in favor of a 2% raise and another day I can work at home, so I get 2 now…and hope the same deal is made this year, so I will get 3. We just bought a 2000 Ford Taurus with 194,000 miles on it that gets ~25 mpg. I was driving a Ford F150 SuperCrew that got ~16mpg. It should pay for itself in 10 months. I was hesitant to buy the contract, because I thought, “maybe it won’t get that high…” but, I think I made the right decision :)

cptacek on April 3, 2012 at 3:42 PM

From the headline thread.

cptacek on April 3, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Smart Power!

Jaibones on April 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Obama is proving a Harvard law degree doesn’t mean you have the brains of a piss ant. When you have never had a job, how are you expected to know what a job is?

volsense on April 3, 2012 at 5:55 PM

That is totally unfair! Obama absolutely has the brains of a piss ant.

Jaibones on April 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

didn’t Steyn tell us this a couple of weeks ago? I don’t blame the Canadians, you can’t tie yourself to a sinking ship. If barry is re-elected there may be several countries try to curry favor with other countries (like the chi-coms)

proud day for tom friedman.

r keller on April 3, 2012 at 6:19 PM


fox news explains president cant reduce gas prices. lets work together shall we?

dft2000 on April 3, 2012 at 7:06 PM

What a Fluken Failure-in-Chief.

KOOLAID2 on April 3, 2012 at 7:31 PM

I never thought I would see the day when I’d rather have the Canadian Prime minister as our leader over our own President. “Hope and Change”

tom2789 on April 3, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Can we please please please trade Obama for Harper??

sadsushi on April 3, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Uh oh. Looks like the Canadian PM is admitting the actions of the US president can indeed influence gas prices. Libtard memes hardest hit.

Kataklysmic on April 3, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Somebody better alert Romney, too.

Bitter Clinger on April 3, 2012 at 2:57 PM

And everyone at Fox News. They apparently just haven’t lowered their estimation of O’Bozo far enough … but I have. And if you don’t believe O’Bozo is craven enough to send some State Department traitor to the House of Saud to tell them to cut production every single time oil drops below $105 a barrel, then you are a fool.

Expensive oil gives him great tax revenue from Exxon, Chevron and Conoco, keeps desperate Americans buying new fuel-efficient cars they don’t want and propping up his GM stock price and his union-thug political army, and keeps investors interested in alternative fuel boondoggles as a hedge against the New Reality of a $100 a barrel minimum.

They have decimated production on public land here to offset dramatic increases in production on private land, and they are tipping off our enemies the oil producers that he has no intention of increasing production, so they shouldn’t either.

Jaibones on April 3, 2012 at 10:30 PM

One has to wonder what all the heads of countries think when they have to deal with bho? bho is a total laughing stock here and around the world! Gads lets get this slug slime out in Nov.!

letget on April 3, 2012 at 3:15 PM


Well I’ve worked with harper’s staff (including Jason Kenny, his heir apparent minister of Immigration) and I have it on so-so /good authority (no way to totally verify) that Obama is seen as a total lightweight by Sarkozy, Merkel and Harper himself; Great TOTUS speaker, but a total numbskull that talks well, but there is no great shakes in the “content” department apart from platitudes. Sarkozy said in french, “Il parle bien, mais pas beaucoup de contenu la dedans”

Speaks very well, but not much content there we can use..

On another note, Harper has one of, if not the longest runs yet with the G7/G20, and he , imo, is very well respected there at this time; more than most canadians know or understand really, since the press here is the same as in the USA, MSM/LSM socialist (apart from the National Post/Sun Chain of Newspapers)..


How long would would it take for a typical Obama worshipper’s eyes to glaze over when presented with any of these explanations from Harper?

I have to say, it’s refreshing to see a head-of-government display a basic grasp of the economics assoicated with a major export from his country. Wish we had that here.

86 on April 3, 2012 at 3:41 PM

Well Harper for once is an economist that worked for a Right of Centre think-tank, like your Heritate Foundation

He’s mellowed a LOT to get to majority status in Canada, which is after all quite the pinkish socialist country it is still (although that is slowly changing…) but the contrast to that Jug eared Ivy League monstrosity you’ve elected in the US is quite simply unfathomable

A Bit like, Trudeau vs Reagan, but worse..

Trudeau was a nut, but not as bad as Jug ears. At least Trudeau was a socialist disaster that worked FOR canada. can’t say teh same about Jug ear’s.. He’s teh perfect affirmative action. citizen of the world Ivy League type that wishes to take america down (and of course, bring canad along for teh ride)

Sorry, but Harper is having none of that, he’s a canadian patriot through and true

Hope this helps

PS in 2006, before he won, I practiced with Harper for his french debate, and he did fine; I wonder if he remembers me, it has been 6 years :)

Gauthijm on April 4, 2012 at 11:28 AM

An added thought;

I’ve polled most of the people around the G7/G20 hanger’s on (can’t say how), and they are of the opinion that the Zero will win in November

I know that the contingency here in Canada is to assume he wins, and that projects we are working on will go ahead with what we negotiated with OBozo..



Gauthijm on April 4, 2012 at 11:32 AM

Can we please please please trade Obama for Harper??

sadsushi on April 3, 2012 at 8:18 PM

Hell no we don’t want him
Keep him on your side please !



Gauthijm on April 4, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Given Harper’s comments, does this undermine NAFTA? I don’t blame him from blasting this Administration, but we have trade agreements in place that allow North American countries to buy from each other instead of going outside the continent.

djaymick on April 4, 2012 at 1:55 PM