Canadian Election May Breathe Life Into Keystone XL

by Deon Daugherty, Senior Editor

For those lamenting the loss of long-time Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s aggressive championing of the Keystone XL pipeline coming on the heels of U.S. Democratic presidential frontrunner’s assertion that she opposes the pipeline, there’s a nugget of hope in all of this politicking.

As politics can do, Harper’s rout at the hands of 44-year-old Justin Trudeau created waves throughout the business community. That changing tide moves not the least of which is the energy sector where TransCanada has been trying for most of Harper’s administration to get a presidential permit to cross the international border to route the line for heavy oil sands into the United States.

You see, the new – more liberal Trudeau, a member of the Liberal Party – doesn’t oppose the pipeline. While the majority of his party cannot be counted among fans of the oil sands pipeline, there might be some opportunity for more give-and-take between the U.S. and Canadian governments to finally – after seven years of haggling – get a deal done.

The difference could simply come down to the willingness to negotiate of those at the table. We talked to Raymond James & Associates’ equity analyst Chris Cox in Calgary, about where the Oct. 19 election leaves the KXL.

“Because prime minister elect Trudeau is relatively supportive of the KCL, and supposedly has already had talks with President Obama, there is potentially some wiggle room if certain environmental policies are made that maybe the Harper government was unwilling [to consider],” he told Rigzone. “Whether it’s President Obama or whoever is president, that individual might be more willing to negotiate with Trudeau. Maybe having a Democratic president [negotiating] with a fairly conservative prime minister [in Harper] might not have been the best grounds to negotiate on common ground for public policy.”


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