Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in a one-on-one public interview with former Congresswoman Jane Harman, who is now the head of the Wilson Centre think-tank, says that Barack Obama's rejection of of the Keystone Pipeline stressed the Canada's need to find other buyers for oilsands crude.
Via Toronto Sun:
"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.
"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."
His wide-ranging question-and-answer at the influential non-partisan think-tank -- which also touched on border security, trade, the Arctic and Syria among other topics -- followed a meeting with Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at the White House for the sixth North American Leaders' Summit.
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."
Earlier this year, Obama rejected TransCanada's bid to build the $7 billion pipeline that would carry crude from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Obama blamed Republicans in Congress for imposing an arbitrary timeline on him to decide on the project, which he said did not allow enough time for sufficient reviews even though Keystone had been under review for three years already.
Obama's strictly political actions now have caused Canada to find us unreliable, seen to it that America will receive less of Canada's oil and cost more for what we do get.
*Golf clap* for Obama.
Video of the Director’s Forum with The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, found at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
This event follows Prime Minister Harper's meeting with President Obama and President of Mexico Felipe Calderon earlier in the day.