Politico profiles the role of Quebec in the Canada-U.S. energy relationship, a policy space–while dominated by Keystone XL–that is far more nuanced than one controversy. The article also highlights the role Canadian provinces (and U.S. states) play in the bilateral relationship.
In one camp are the die-hard Keystone supporters, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Canadian national government and the province of Alberta, which have launched aggressive lobbying campaigns to secure U.S. approval of the project.
But the province of Quebec stands a bit apart, as it so often does — echoing the concerns of U.S. and Canadian climate activists who fear that development of the Albertan oil sands would cause a disastrous release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
In contrast with the Quebecois’s qualms, many political figures from around Canada are all-in on Keystone.
Harper, for example, has made the case for Keystone directly to President Barack Obama, even sending him a letter proposing stronger efforts to tackle climate change in exchange for U.S. approval of the pipeline. Canadian Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Alberta Premier Alison Redford have made frequent visits to Washington to push U.S. officials and lawmakers to green-light the project.
Christy Clark, the premier of British Columbia, is the latest Canadian official to make a trip to Washington. While she was in town last week to discuss the province’s carbon tax and liquefied natural gas exports, she made sure to stump for Keystone in an interview with POLITICO on Friday.
Quebec has sought to work directly with U.S. states rather than going through the U.S. federal government. Last week, the Quebec government announced that beginning in January, its cap-and-trade program will be linked with California’s, allowing users to exchange credits between the two systems. The province is now hoping to expand the partnership to Northeastern states that are part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.