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Thursday, October 27, 2016

By Amanda Becker

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) – Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has long avoided a firm position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, broke her silence on Tuesday and said she opposed it.

“I have a responsibility to you and other voters,” Clinton, a former secretary of state, said at a town hall event in Iowa about TransCanada Corp’s project to bring Canadian oil to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico via Nebraska.

“I think it is imperative that we look at the Keystone pipeline as what I believe is the distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change.”

“Therefore, I oppose it,” she said.

Environmental activists close to Clinton’s campaign said the timing of her remarks was driven by her desire to make clear her opposition before the Oct. 13 Democratic debate. Senator Bernie Sanders, who is running against Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination, opposes the pipeline and had urged her to take a position on the project.

Clinton’s opinion about the pipeline has been closely watched. In 2010, as secretary of state, she said she was inclined to approve it. Asked repeatedly about the project since she entered the race in April, she has declined to state her stance.

Keystone XL supporters say the pipeline would increase North American energy security and provide thousands of construction jobs. Opponents say it would increase greenhouse gas emissions by speeding development of Canada’s oil sands.

President Barack Obama is expected to make a decision in coming months on the pipeline that has been pending for seven years.

(Reporting by Amanda Becker in Des Moines and Timothy Gardner and Alana Wise in Washington; Editing by Tim Ahmann and David Gregorio)

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the Community Forum on Substance Abuse at The Boys and Girls Club of America campaign event in Laconia New Hampshire, September 17, 2015.    REUTERS/Faith Ninivaggi 

This post has been updated.


    It’s about time. Now, it is time for Obama to make up his mind.

  • dtgraham

    This has been driven by both the Bernie Sanders effect, and also the change in the government of Alberta. The new democratic socialist provincial Alberta government has taken a different view on the the oil sands and has sent a different representative to Washington with a slightly different view on things. Climate change and greenhouse gas emissions control is now a big deal in Alberta.

    The provinces in Canada have much more constitutional jurisdiction and control over commodities like oil than states do in the U.S. As well, there is highly likely to be a change in the Canadian federal government, come October 19th, with a new attitude towards the oil sands. Hillary would certainly be aware of this and her new found Keystone attitude, to compete with Bernie, won’t result in any international blow back north of the border that might affect her. She surely knows this.

    Incidentally, this Keystone news item concerning Hillary has been very well covered on the Canadian networks.

    • charleo1

      Thanks! It’s always informative to get the perspectives of the other Countries involved in any issue. A matter I’ve noticed that is far too often completely ignored by our press, politicians, and so, in our public discussions. Unless the other country is Israel. Then the conversation becomes, is there something we have forgotten to give you? Tell us, it is yours!

      • dtgraham

        You know charleo, it’s much the same thing with the federal Conservative government in Canada. This preoccupation with Israel (that’s a first up here). Look, I get the one real democracy in the middle east and the whole ally thing, but it gets to be overkill doesn’t it? What is it with conservatives and Israel? Well, at least in our case they’ll soon be gone (Conservatives, not Israel).

        • charleo1

          Congrats on getting rid of the Cons. Here it seems the nuttier they get, the more they are beloved by their supporters.

          • dtgraham

            Only by their supporters. I’ve seen the polls showing Clinton, Sanders, and Biden beating virtually all of the likely GOP nominees in a head-to-head matchup. All three crushing Trump. I fully expect the Democrats to keep the White House next year. Americans have too much sense for the GOP in a national popular election anymore.

      • TZToronto

        It’s interesting how most people in the U.S. know very little about Canada but many Canadians know more about the U.S. than many Americans do. Perhaps Americans take their country for granted while Canadians, understanding what Pierre Trudeau said about the relationship between Canada and the U.S., know that being Canada is like sleeping next to an elephant. If you don’t know when the elephant is going to roll over, you could easily get crushed. As a result, many Canadians are hoping for a Democratic victory in 2016 (and a Liberal or NDP victory in the Oct. 19, 2015, Canadian election.) Is there a U.S. Republican candidate who knows anything about Canada, other than Keystone?

    • Eleanore Whitaker

      I have 3 friends who l live in Alberta. One in Calgary, the other in Lac La Biche and the 3rd in Nameka.

      Ask anyone who lives in Calgary in 2015 what they think of Trans Canada oil and they will tell you it was responsible for the massive floods in Calgary 3 years ago.

      Ask anyone living in Lac La Biche what they think of Trans Canada oils pollution of the water in their region and they blame it on the industry.

      British Columbia in 2006 refused to allow Keystone, calling it a “an environmental disaster waiting to happen (Calgary Sun and National Post 2006).

      The US already has 1.6 million miles of underground pipelines. WE do not want more.

      • dtgraham

        Your friends are good examples of why the Progressive Conservatives are no longer the government there.

        The proposed pipeline that was to go through BC is called Northern Gateway, and Liberal Premier Christy Clark put so many conditions on it that it became a virtual impossibility. Enbridge never really met any of the conditions. I’ve heard nothing about this for quite some time now so I have to assume that it’s been deep sixed. The federal gov’t has no jurisdiction to push it through.

        The Nebraska Republicans didn’t even want the Keystone the last I heard, and no wonder. Running heavy bitumen pipes through the Ogallala aquifer would be as much of a crime as super tankers trying to navigate the pristine BC coastal inlets. The Keystone is something that American and Canadian progressives and environmentalists all agree on.

        • Eleanore Whitaker

          From what I read in the Calgary Sun and National Post from 2004 to 2008, British Columbia took Alberta to task for trying to force that pipeline through BC.

          Alberta has always been the most ultra conservative province, according to my friends who live there and according to their own national media.

          The floods that occurred in AB 3 years ago brought down much of the Hardisty Tar Sand Oil pollution into the Bow River and its tributaries east and west. What water wants, water takes. When those massive floods hit Calgary, many of the silent Albertans were rightfully scared of the costs of the damage.

          Alberta, as I am sure you must know, has also enjoyed a terrible economic turndown soon after the Olympic games left that province. The provincial government there believed that holding the games would increase interest in real estate. This brought on a huge recession when land developers and builders glutted the AB landscape with homes.

          Now, they are dealing with billions in flood damage.

          I visited Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan (Regina) in 2000. I saw the Hardisty Tar Sand Oil site. I saw millions of gallons of water shooting out of dozens of water cannons as a water/oil/sand separator. I saw the sides of the mountains there gouged out.

          It’s a shame that money always makes the rules and always is a mode of human destruction.

          • dtgraham

            I’ll take your word about the economic turndown after the Calgary Olympic games. That was 1988, the year of the Jamaican bobsled team. I won’t forget them. I can’t remember what happened in the months following though.

            Alberta is absolutely the most conservative province in the country by a mile and sticks out like a sore thumb for it’s difference. No argument there. That reputation comes from voting Progressive Conservative for 40 years.

            The thing is though, Canadian conservatism (even in Alberta) is different from American conservatism on a broad range of issues. It’s all relative as they say. An American tea party conservative would probably be aghast at the general belief system of their Canadian conservative brethren. Alberta has also been changing some over the years too. Otherwise the NDP could never have gotten elected there last May.

            An analogy might be Alabama giving the Democrats super majorities in the state House and Senate and then electing Bernie Sanders as Governor. Then again, I never thought that Alberta would do what they did last May in a million years…so maybe Alabama’s time is coming too. You never know.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            DT, I loved your post. It is so very on the mark. I can’t disagree. If I had to choose one of the most beautiful places in the world, I’d have to say it’s Alberta.

            I do see your point about Canadian conservatism. One question. Do you think this is a result of the British style of government that influenced Canadian conservatism?

            As a born and bred American, I saw firsthand why in the years AB rebuilt its economy, it knew how to manage its budgets far better than the US ever could.

            I recall a National Post article of 2002 that discussed what I consider a pretty amazing fact about AB. It was totally debt free AND had a balanced budget.

            Would that the US could ever hope to achieve that. The only reservation I have about AB’s economy is the same one I have for the Oil States in the US….that oil is not a sustainable resources and technology is already reducing the need for fossil fuels.

          • dtgraham

            Yes, the difference in conservatism is partly driven by the British influence where the structure of the state is seen as more of a framework and vehicle for societal progress; hence the experimentation with socialized medicine in the 1940’s culminating in the Canada Health Act of 1966 for example. There’s more to it than that though.

            The patterns of present day Canadian society, politics, and culture were set down close to 5 decades ago. Since the late 1960’s a left-liberal consensus has enveloped Canada, brought on by Pierre Trudeau, and probably is here to stay. By the 1980’s, Canada had been transformed into one of the more progressive societies on the planet—especially with the introduction of the charter of rights and freedoms introduced into the constitutional structure in 1982. The Charter essentially enshrined virtually the entire Trudeau agenda as the highest law of the land. It was quickly backed up by an increasingly activist Supreme Court, where you would have been hard pressed to find even one justice designated as conservative.

            Interestingly, Pierre’s son Justin is the leader of the present day Liberal party and has an excellent chance of being elected Prime Minister on October 19th. If he doesn’t win, the democratic socialists (New Democratic Party) also have an excellent chance under Thomas Mulcair. It wouldn’t likely be a majority government for anyone, so Justin would have a large say in things which would please our own TZToronto.

            As to Alberta, yes they’ve been relying too much on oil revenues and the new government there has said that they’re going to change that. They’re trying to avoid “Dutch disease” where manufacturing slowly atrophies due to an overreliance on oil. It’s an imperceptible thing that you don’t notice happening over time. You can accomplish that by locking much of the oil money away and forcing yourself not to become too dependent on it.

            They’ve been socking an amazing amount of oil revenue away since the 70’s in something called the Heritage fund, to be used as a buffer for bad times. This is actually an idea that Norway once said they copied from Alberta with their own oil revenue savings fund. The problem is that Norway has put Alberta to shame in more recent times in terms of their savings, while Alberta hasn’t been saving as much of their oil revenues as in the past. That’s another thing that the new government there says they want to get back to. They’ll have to wait until oil prices recover (assuming they ever do).

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            Wonderfully enlightening post. Thank you. There’s one thing I never understood about Canada. Once NAFTA was passed, US businesses seemed to flock to Toronto to take advantage of lower business taxes there. Canada had an opportunity to restart their auto manufacturing when Detroit took that huge downward plunge.

            There’s a whole lot Americans can learn from Canada. One thing that has always impressed me was that any government contradtors are not “for life” and have to prove they can offer the best prices and bids and also highest quality work.

            Government contractors in the US are, for the most part, reckless and irresponsible and only serve the needs of the states who invest in these industries for the government tax subsidies they get whether or not their work is top quality. Unlike Canada, US laws have no teeth where government contractors are concerned.

          • dtgraham

            GM and Chrysler were in big trouble everywhere by April 2009. While a combination of several years of declining auto sales and scarce availability of credit made things worse, the global-scale recession brought on by the American banking and financial crisis led to dramatic drops in car sales in so many of the countries that those two auto makers were trying to sell in.

            I think I know what you’re trying to say. The crisis was only a minor recession in Canada due to the country’s unique, strictly regulated, banking and financial system. The demand in Canada didn’t drop very much, true, but that didn’t really help out GM and Chrysler much. Canada’s population is only 1/10th that of the U.S. and couldn’t possibly compensate.

            When they were faced with imminent bankruptcy and liquidation, the U.S. and Canadian governments felt forced to bail them out to the tune of 85 billion dollars and allow the companies to restructure and jettison legacy debt via chapter 11 bankruptcy. The two governments worked together on this although I don’t think many Americans were aware of that. Obama worked closely with Ottawa on this and took a beating from Republicans and the conservative media for it. I remember that. Meanwhile, the Canadian political parties, media, and the public just considered it as something that had to be done. There was no controversy at all up here at the time or since.

            I can still remember PM Stephen Harper being on Chris Wallace’s Sunday talk show on Fox News at that time. One of the big topics that morning was the auto bailout. Being a member of the Conservative party, Wallace apparently expected Harper to side with the American right on this (seemingly unaware of what was going on north of the border; or not wanting to talk about it). Wallace seemed nonplussed that Harper kept praising President Obama for his work on saving the American auto industry. He kept rephrasing his questions hoping to get different answers. He never got them. I think you can still dial up parts of this interview on youtube.

            It’s such a coincidence that you bring up the government contractor process. The Liberal party took a lot of heat last week up here for automatically excluding the F35 fighter jet from the procurement process in military acquisitions, and have been doing damage control all week over it. You know, you’re right Eleanor. That evaluation process (in everything) is very important in Canada, but it’s something that I’ve just never noticed before. It took American eyes to point that out. Like charleo1 said in an earlier post on this thread, sometimes it’s good to get the perspective of people in other countries on certain things.

          • Eleanore Whitaker

            The Canadian media also has one feature American media does not…Canadian media is straightforward and rarely biased, though some of my Canadian friends might disagree.

            In the US, the media is owned by 6 billionaires who push their ideological agenda in an attempt at subtle brainwashing through mass propaganda. It’s difficult for Americans today to know fact from lies and distortions.

            When I was in Calgary, there was something else I noticed…The city was spotless, the streets and roads had a neat, orderly design and you could get from Point A to Point B without having to zig zag like we do here in the US.

            I also loved the idea of how Canada deals with car registrations and auto licensing. The problem in the US shows that when the right insists on so much privatization, there’s no control over these contractors and unlike Canada, US contractors could never be trusted to not put profit first.

            The best example of how corrupt this gets is in my own state of NJ. When traffic cameras were installed, suddenly the number of drivers ignoring red lights went from a few thousands to a few hundred thousand being ticketed. It was and is all about profit by the contractors who installed those cameras. This would NEVER happen in Canada.

          • dtgraham

            Best practises can be found around the world Eleanore, and Canada has much to copy. I can think of things off the top of my head that Canada could learn from the U.S. including the American freedom of information laws, which blow Canada’s FOI laws away. There are other things too.

            Some of your Canadian friends who disagree on the unbiased nature of the media must surely be Conservative and are talking about the public broadcaster CBC. Conservatives in both countries are such incredible whiners when it comes to the media. Unless a network is wholly 100% dedicated to the conservative cause all of the time, they must be “liberal”. They consider being fair to all sides equally as being liberal. It’s a scam. I have honestly tried to put myself in their shoes and look at the CBC objectively, actively looking for liberal bias. I don’t see it. These people have to remember that there are 4 parties in Canada and only one of them is conservative. The rest are left of that. A political panel discussion will have a number of representatives on but only one will be Tory. That’s not bias; that’s just the nature of the country they’re in.

            You must be a fan of single payer government auto insurance which several of the provinces have. I am too. It’s cheaper than private insurance companies and fairer as well. That’s why it’s caught on. We’ll see whether the NDP will bring that into Alberta.

            Incidentally, out of curiousity I tried to find that Harper-Wallace interview later that I was talking about but couldn’t find the part of the interview that I clearly remember. It was either at a different part of the interview that wasn’t shown, or possibly he was brought back for a second time that I never knew about. Maybe I just didn’t look hard enough. Hard to say.

    • Carolyn1520

      It’s also why Obama has been waiting it out.

      • dtgraham

        Seems likely.