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CTV News Chief Anchor and Senior News Editor Lisa LaFlamme is shown during an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

CTV

Stephen Harper says Canada is on a "different track," committed to selling its oil to China even at the risk of angering Americans.

In a year-end interview with CTV the Prime Minister said though many senior American officials remain hopeful that the Keystone pipeline will get built, connecting Alberta's oil sands to the United States, he is "very serious about selling our oil off this continent."

Nearly nine months into a long-sought majority government, Mr. Harper spoke in absolute terms on controversial issues including oil, spending and the gun registry.

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He defended Defence Minister Peter MacKay, who has been accused repeatedly of loose spending habits. The revelations, which recently grew to include stays in lavish hotel rooms, have been particularly embarrassing given that Ottawa is tightening its belt.

The prime minister, who has touted a tough-on-crime agenda, said he remains committed to destroying the long-gun registry's database, despite objections from police chiefs and Quebec's plans to sue.

"If we didn't get rid of the data, we wouldn't be abolishing the registry" he said. "If there are provinces that want to set up their own registry, they have that constitutional right.... But I would strongly recommend against doing it. We think it is bad policy and we recommend against doing that. We think it's a bad policy that is not effective. We've been very clear on that."

On Syria, he said he expects that the regime of Bashar al-Assad will eventually fall, but ruled out the possibility of a Canadian air mission to expedite the process.

"I don't see the willingness of our allies to act militarily without [a UN Security Council]resolution," he said. "So I think we'll continue to see stepped up pressure through diplomatic and through other trade sanctions."

The full interview will air December 26th on CTV.

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