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Conservatives counter U.S. critics with pro-Keystone ad

Some 15,000 pieces of pipe for TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline lie in a field in North Dakota on April 23, 2013. U.S. scientists are warning that there are environmental risks, regulatory holes and serious unknowns regarding the shipment of Alberta oil-sands products by pipeline, rail and tanker.

NATHAN VANDERKLIPPE/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Stephen Harper's Conservative Party is taking to the Internet with a new full-throttle defence of the Keystone XL Pipeline, releasing a new ad that warns that scrapping the project would leave the oil-hungry United States relying on "unstable supply from far-off countries."

The ad says "the distortion of facts and hysterical fear-mongering has to stop" about Keystone, which would carry Alberta oil sands crude to U.S. markets.

Posted online this afternoon, the ad also takes a swipe at a wealthy U.S. opponent of Keystone. It doesn't name Tom Steyer, the powerful U.S. activist who made a fortune in oil investments before mounting a fight against Keystone, but there's little doubt about whom the Conservatives have in mind. Mr. Steyer has been dubbed the "green billionaire" in the media.

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"A lot has been said about Canada's oil industry and now American billionaires are using their wealth to attack our oil industry," the ad says.

"These billionaires ignore the fact that U.S. companies are major players in the Canadian oil sands. They don't want to talk about the well-paying jobs Keystone XL will create for thousands of Canadians and Americans."

The video was posted to coincide with the release of a new U.S. State Department report that concludes the pipeline would have little impact on the release of climate-changing greenhouse gases from the oil sands.

The Conservative Party ad is a rejoinder to a recent anti-Keystone ad by NextGen Climate Group, backed by Mr. Steyer, that tries to paint Canada as a pawn of China. The anti-Keystone add tells Americans that anything that benefits the oil sands will be a boon for Chinese companies that have invested there.

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