Bloomberg: Canada PM Stephen Harper pretty fed up with America’s frustrater-in-chief
posted at 2:41 pm on April 25, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
I’m going to go ahead and add their ongoing insouciance toward Canada on the Keystone XL pipeline to the Obama administration’s already impressively long list of foreign-policy blunders and undervaluations; sure, administration officials will readily affirm that Canada is “one of our closest partners” and “greatest friends” and whatever else, but just saying the words isn’t quite the same thing as actually helping a brother out on strengthening their economy and building up their natural resource production. Canada is our largest commercial trading partner and the country from which we import the most oil by far (followed by Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Venezuela, ahem), but bully for them if they want to add a simple pipeline to the several million miles of pipeline already crisscrossing our country — and there’s really nothing they can do about it.
Bloomberg has a big rundown out today of the now five-year history of the Obama administration’s political gamesmanship on the proposed pipeline, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s extreme weariness of it:
That the U.S. couldn’t be counted on to take Canada’s oil came as a shocking epiphany, said a former senior government adviser with knowledge of the call who asked not to be identified because the person isn’t authorized to speak publicly.
The president’s call that day jolted the Canadians awake. It convinced Harper that Obama was treating a long-presumed “special relationship” between Canada and the U.S., enshrined in the 1989 Free Trade Agreement, as a political football. …
Today, Harper’s pessimism over that 2011 call seems justified. On April 18, as Christians marked the Good Friday holiday, the Obama administration notified the Canadians that the pipeline would be held up one more time over unresolved legal issues involving the Nebraska route. …
Harper, in a Jan. 14 interview with Bloomberg News, characterized his relationship with Obama as “good” while noting that “there are times when we do have to stand up in a way that’s not necessarily the same view as the American administration.” …
In the January Bloomberg interview, Harper criticized Obama for kicking the can down the road. Asked what he had learned from Keystone about dealing with the president, he replied: “I don’t think I’ve learned anything I didn’t know already. I’ll just leave it there. Look I’m not telling any tales out of school that the reason for the holdup is politics, and it is politics of a fairly narrow nature.”
And now, Canada is destined to wait at least through the year in total uncertainty. I’m sure they’re over the moon about it.