Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

John Kerry is shown in September 2012 leading a hearing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Kerry has recently divested from Canadian oil companies amid conflict of interest concerns as he’ll deal with the Keystone XL pipeline approval in his new role as U.S. Secretary of State.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

John Kerry and his wife have agreed to divest holdings in a Canadian oil company, as well as dozens of other investments, in an effort to avoid conflicts of interest as the Massachusetts senator prepares to become America's next secretary of state.

The Canadian Press reported last week that Mr. Kerry had as much as US$750,000 invested in Suncor Energy Inc., a Calgary-based oil company whose CEO has urged the Obama administration to greenlight TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline.

But federal ethics officials, acting independently of the White House, have determined the Suncor stock poses no conflict of interest threats. Mr. Kerry has also agreed to divest of as much as $31,000 in Cenovus Energy Inc. – another Calgary firm that has pushed for Keystone XL approval – within 90 days if he's confirmed secretary of state.

Story continues below advertisement

Financial disclosure records show that Mr. Kerry and his wife, Heinz ketchup heiress Teresa Heinz Kerry, hold a vast array of international investments that could have placed the senator in an ethical quandary at the State Department.

Mr. Kerry's office said last week that many of those investments were in family trusts managed by an independent trustee, and that the senator was unaware of the contents. The senator is one of the wealthiest lawmakers on Capitol Hill with an estimated net worth of $193-million.

The investments nonetheless raised alarm bells among American environmentalists given the State Department will make a decision this year on the fate of the Keystone pipeline. Mr. Kerry is expected to breeze through his Senate confirmation hearings on Thursday.

"I am committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct for government officials," Mr. Kerry wrote in the agreement with the State Department's ethics office earlier this month.

"I will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter that has a direct and predictable effect on my financial interests or those of any person whose interests are imputed to me, unless I first obtain a written waiver."

Environmentalists had called on Mr. Kerry last week to divest of all his holding in the Canadian oil companies.

Keystone is back on the hot seat in the U.S. capital this week, in part because President Barack Obama spoke out on the need to confront climate change in his second inaugural address on Monday.

Story continues below advertisement

The president's forceful repudiation of climate change skeptics has prompted the U.S. environmental movement to urge the president to back up his rhetoric by nixing Keystone XL, the $7-billion project that would carry bitumen extracted from Alberta's carbon-intensive oilsands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations," Mr. Obama said on Monday.

"Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms."

White House press secretary Jay Carney has faced tough questions this week about whether those remarks bode badly for Keystone and what precisely Mr. Obama intends to do on the climate change front.

Mr. Kerry's longtime devotion to environmental issues is also making pipeline proponents nervous.

The senator has long been one of the most fierce climate hawks on Capitol Hill, leading unsuccessful efforts three years ago to push greenhouse gas legislation through Congress.

Story continues below advertisement

As secretary of state, he'll have to decide whether approving the pipeline is in the national interest of the United States.

In the aftermath of Mr. Obama's inaugural address, 53 senators – more than half in the upper chamber – sent the president a letter on Wednesday urging him to approve Keystone XL.

Their bipartisan letter was sent a day after Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, previously an opponent of the pipeline, said he was satisfied that TransCanada's altered route for the pipeline skirts an environmentally fragile region of his state.

"Because (Keystone XL) has gone through the most exhaustive environmental scrutiny of any pipeline in the history of this country and you already determined that oil from Canada is in the national interest, there is no reason to deny or further delay this long-studied project," wrote the senators, lead by Republican John Hoeven and Democrat Max Baucus.

"Nebraska has now addressed the outstanding concerns you raised when you denied the permit, and we therefore urge to finish expeditiously the review process and approve the pipeline."

Mr. Obama raised concerns about the pipeline's original path when he rejected TransCanada's application last year.

Story continues below advertisement

Gary Doer, Canada's ambassador to the United States, said the secretary of state must make a Keystone decision based on facts, not emotion.

"The bottom line is, whether it's Hillary Clinton or John Kerry at the State Department – they have the reports," Mr. Doer said Wednesday. "Is this in the national interest of the United States? That's the question."

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies