Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will speak with U.S. President Joe Biden today amid continuing fallout from the death of the Keystone XL pipeline project.

The phone call, Biden’s first with a foreign leader since taking office this week, comes as the new administration turns its focus to the United States’s economic recovery.

It also comes with parts of Canada up in arms over Biden’s Day 1 executive order rescinding permits for the US$8-billion cross-border pipeline expansion.

Biden believes a brisk economic recovery doesn’t have to come at the expense of the environment, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday.

“His record shows the American people that he’s committed to clean energy jobs, to jobs that are not only good, high-paying jobs, union jobs, but ones that are also good for our environment. He thinks it’s possible to do both,” Psaki said.

Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama, who blocked the project in 2015, and as president he still does, she added.

ALSO READ: TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

“He had opposed the Keystone pipeline … and he’s been consistent in his view and he was delivering on a promise he made to the American public during the campaign.”

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is among those urging Trudeau to take Biden to task over the decision and to “respond with consequences” if it’s not reversed.

Kenney and other champions of the project, including Kirsten Hillman, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., argue it has changed significantly since the Obama administration cancelled it five years ago.

Trudeau held a call with all the premiers Thursday that included a briefing from Hillman, according to a readout from the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The prime minister reiterated his disappointment with the decision on Keystone XL, and emphasized that the federal government has engaged with the new administration in support of the project,” it said.

A federal official familiar with the call, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss the details, said Kenney and several others urged Trudeau to take a hard line with Biden.

Trudeau, however, insisted Canada had done everything it could to change his mind, and called on the premiers to take the same united, “Team Canada” approach they did with Biden’s predecessor.

As word emerged this week of the project’s imminent demise, Calgary-based owner TC Energy revealed plans to spend US$1.7 billion on a solar, wind and battery-powered operating system for the pipeline to ensure it achieves net-zero emissions by 2030.

Kenney says Wednesday’s decision came “without even giving Canada a chance to communicate,” although Hillman insists she has been in near-constant discussions with the Biden team ever since May, when they promised to cancel the project.

Biden’s decision has critics in the U.S. Republican party as well: Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, calls it a job-killing “virtue signal” to climate activists.

Trudeau is also likely to voice worries about Biden’s Buy American plan to ensure U.S. workers and manufacturers are the primary beneficiaries of his economic recovery strategy.

Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris are scheduled to receive a briefing today on that recovery effort before the president makes public remarks on their plans.

James McCarten, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Joe BidenJustin Trudeau

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kelowna Rockets face off against the Vancouver Giants at Prospera Place, Kelowna, on January 26, 2020. (Marissa Baecker/Kelowna Rockets)
‘Joy for the players’; Kelowna Rockets staff react to season restart

WHL players set to arrive in Kelowna, Kamloops March 13 to begin 48-day, 24-game season

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

The KLO Community Policing Office is located within the Regional District of Central Okanagan building on KLO Road. (File)
Kelowna council to consider closure of KLO Community Policing Office

Since May 2020, the office has been effectively closed, with duties absorbed into the Kelowna Police Services Building

A Kelowna Chamber of Commerce event in 2017. (Contributed)
Kelowna Chamber announces new board of directors

Directors will be ratified at the annual general meeting on March 23

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Riverside Centre includes a theatre hosting local plays, visiting musicians and dance troupes. It is also used for community events such as public meetings and fundraisers. Photo Town of Princeton
COVID-19 numbers provided by Interior Health show Salmon Arm and Revelstoke in the 200-plus range from January 2020 to February 2021 while Vernon, with a larger population, tallied more than 600 over the 14 months. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
14 months of COVID-19 data show Kamloops cases doubling Vernon’s

Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021: 605 cases reported for Vernon, 243 for Salmon Arm, 1,246 for Kamloops

Penticton Fire Department pulled a kayaker from Okanagan Lake on Wednesday after he had fallen out of his boat and called 911. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment. (Western News - File)
Kayaker rescued from Okanagan Lake after falling in and calling 911

The Penticton Fire Department’s Marine Rescue pulled him out suffering from severe cold

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce’s general manager Dan Proulx, left, hosted a virtual Official Opposition town hall meeting with Shadow Cabinet Minister Small Business Pat Kelly, right, and North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold March 3, 2021. (Screenshot)
Tourism key to business recovery in North Okanagan-Shuswap: MP

Easing travel restrictions, limiting taxation and debt management critical to COVID-19 economic recovery

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Thomas Kruger-Allen is expected to be sentenced Friday, March 5, 2021.
Sentencing expected Friday for 2019 Penticton beach attack

Defense wants 12 to 18 months for beach assaults that left one of his victims with brain injury

Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne speaks in the B.C. legislature, March 4, 2021. (Hansard TV)
B.C. Liberals, NDP sing in harmony on local election reforms

Bill regulates paid canvassers, allows people in condo buildings

Most Read