OTTAWA Aug 2 (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen
Harper contradicted on Friday U.S. President Barack Obama’s
dismissal of the job-creation potential of the proposed Keystone
XL pipeline, saying the project is important both for jobs and
for energy security.
Asked about remarks made by Obama in an interview with the
New York Times last Saturday and then repeated
this week in a speech, Harper told reporters in Quebec City that
Canada’s perspective was well-known by everyone in Washington.
“That is that first of all our No. 1 priority in Canada is
the creation of jobs, and clearly this is a project that will
create jobs on both sides of the border,” Harper said. “And it
is in our judgment an important project, not just for our
economy and for job creation but for the long-term energy
security of North America.”
Obama said in the interview that the evidence was that
TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL pipeline, which would
carry 830,000 barrels per day of crude from Canada’s oil sands
and the Bakken shale in North Dakota and Montana to refineries
on the U.S. Gulf Coast, would not be a big jobs generator.
He said it might create 2,000 jobs during the construction
for a year or two and then 50 or 100 jobs thereafter. The U.S.
State Department’s analysis in March was that Keystone would
support 42,100 direct and indirect jobs.
Harper’s Conservative government has been a big booster of
Keystone XL and other pipelines to tidewater because it wants
export markets for increasing crude oil production in the
land-locked oil sands of northern Alberta.
Green groups have put heavy pressure on Obama to reject
Keystone XL, warning of spills and higher emissions from the
carbon-intensive oil sands.
The U.S. administration’s final decision on whether to
approve Keystone XL is expected later this year or early in