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Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the primary salesman. He was caught off-balance in 2011 when he declared in September that approval of the line a “no-brainer,” only to have President Barack Obama delay it and demand a rerouting of the pipeline two months later. That decision infuriated Mr. Harper and led to him to declare new urgency in the effort to build oil sands pipelines through British Columbia to access China and other Asian markets. The Prime Minister will get another U.S. airing with his appearance this week at the Council on Foreign Relations, where he will be interviewed by Robert Rubin, the former treasury secretary under Bill Clinton.
(Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alberta Premier Alison Redford has been to Washington four times this year already and has sought to persuade her audience that her government is serious about protecting the environment even as it presides over a rapid expansion of oil sands production. The Alberta government spent $101,291.93 on its own advertising campaign, running spots in the The New York Times, The Washington Post and several online publications in Washington. Ms. Redford also had an op-ed in USA Today. Premier Redford doesn’t have specific plans for a return engagement, but will “speak to national and international audiences about Keystone and market access whenever possible,” her spokeswoman Neala Barton said.
(Jeff McIntosh/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
After taking a hiatus during the 2012 U.S. election campaign, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver headed south of the border in March to Chicago and Houston, and in April to Washington where he met the new interior secretary, Sally Jewel, State Department under-secretary Robert Hormats and senior members of Congress. During his visit to the capital, Mr. Oliver excoriated former NASA scientist James Hansen for his “exaggerated rhetoric” about the perils of oil sands expansion. Mr. Oliver expects to return to Washington once the new energy secretary, Ernest Moniz, settles into his job.
(Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Ambassador Gary Doer has been Ottawa’s point man on the Keystone campaign. The affable, media-friendly former Manitoba premier has worked the halls of Congress, travelled the length of the pipeline route and visited state houses and union halls to spread the message. He has pushed Ottawa’s energy-security angle with vigour, sparking headlines earlier this year when he asked in a speech whether Americans would rather get their oil from the now-deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez or from Alberta Premier Alison Redford.
(David Lipnowski/The Canadian Press)
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is something of a pinch-hitter on the Keystone XL issue, but has used his connections with U.S. governors to lobby for support. Earlier this year, he signed a letter that was cosigned by 10 governors urging Mr. Obama to swiftly approve Keystone, and travelled in March to Washington, where he delivered the same message.
(Chad Hipolito For The Globe and Mail)
TransCanada chairman Russ Girling has travelled to Washington several times to push his long-delayed dream of connecting Alberta’s oil sands and Gulf Coast refineries, including appearing at congressional hearings on the project. A TransCanada lobbyist once assured State Department officials that the company had access to the top echelons of the Harper government, offering to use those channels to the U.S. benefit. TransCanada has financed its own ad campaigns, though spokesman Shawn Howard would not say how much it has spent on the “hearts and minds” campaign.