‘Frustrating’ Keystone Delay Hinders Canada Economy, Oliver Says

Delayed approval of TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline is “frustrating” and puts off any economic benefit from the project, according to Canada’s Finance Minister.

Speaking today in New York, Joe Oliver praised the trading relationship between the two countries and said “candor is not out of place when we believe matters could be handled a trifle better.”

The Finance Minister spoke after the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, who said the relationship between the two countries is about more than pipelines.

“To take full advantage of our energy wealth, we need to access markets, which implies the construction of pipelines,” Oliver said. “And that is why Canada finds it frustrating that it is still awaiting presidential approval on the Keystone project. It is easily one of the most studied energy projects in the world and has been vetted repeatedly by the U.S. State Department, which said it would not pose environmental risk.”

Keystone “means greater energy security for America” and reducing American dependence on Venezuelan oil, Oliver told a securities conference. It also would offer an alternative to transporting crude by rail, a method that has surged in recent years.

‘Important Project’

“We know that building Keystone is the right way forward. We hope it will be approved so Canada and America can move forward together,” Oliver said Wednesday at a Canada-U.S. securities summit hosted on Wall Street by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the Investment Industry Association of Canada.

Bruce Heyman, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, also outlined trade figures between the nations, referring to the Keystone pipeline in one of his final points.

“I can assure you the U.S. government is fully aware of Canada’s position on the KXL pipeline, but pipelines do not define our relationship,” Heyman said. “I think it’s important to step back and think of the relationship in the broader and incredibly positive context that I’ve hopefully laid out here today.”

Oliver, speaking to reporters after his keynote, said he wanted to “remind people Canadians consider this to be an important project,” but said his frustration hasn’t worsened in recent months. “No, it’s just that the longer it takes, the more delay in job creation and economic activity that will flow from this project.”

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