Calgary

Alberta's Keystone sales pitch on hold despite GOP's pledge to OK pipeline

Reviving the Keystone XL project has become an official policy of the Republican party in the U.S. presidential election, but Alberta's energy minister says her government's sales pitch for the pipeline will stay on hold until after the race for the White House is over.

Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig-Boyd says provincial government's focus is on east-west projects

A pledge to revive TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline project is included in the Republicans' election platform. (Alex Panetta/Canadian Press)

Reviving the Keystone XL project has become an official policy of the Republican party in the U.S. presidential election, but Alberta's energy minister says her government's sales pitch for the pipeline will stay on hold until after the race for the White House is over.

TransCanada's ill-fated oil pipeline proposal is the only detailed reference to Canada in the 66-page document adopted by delegates to the GOP's national convention in Cleveland which meets through Thursday.

"Our Canadian neighbours can count on our co-operation and respect," the platform says.

"To advance North America's energy independence, we intend to reverse the current administration's blocking of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Apart from its economic value, that project has become a symbol in the contest between the public's desire for economic development and the government's hostility to growth. We stand with the people."

Alberta Energy Minister Margaret McCuaig Boyd says her government is no longer actively pushing for the Keystone XL pipeline project, even though the Republicans are promising that a Donald Trump White House would approve it. (CBC)

But Margaret McCuaig-Boyd says Alberta's NDP government is focusing instead on pipeline proposals that don't face such long odds.

"I think right now, it's just on hold, because we don't want to waste effort on something until, you know, we see who the government is," she said. 

"We'll always work with whoever gets elected, but for now, efforts are east and west in Canada."

McCuaig-Boyd made the comments in Calgary Tuesday after delivering a sales pitch for the province's energy sector to dozens of U.S. and Canadian delegates at the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region's annual summit.

The Republican platform accuses the Obama administration of killing Keystone XL for purely political motives, saying it simply did so to satisfy environmentalists who support the Democratic party.

The decision last fall to refuse a cross-border permit ended years of suspense over the project, which if completed would have carried just under one-quarter of the oil Canada exports daily to U.S. refineries and would also have carried some American oil.

McCuaig-Boyd said Alberta's new plan to put a tax on carbon, cap oilsands emissions and phase out coal-fired electricity is already having a positive PR effect. 

"Since we launched the Climate Leadership Plan a number of months ago, the conversation on pipelines turned dramatically," she said.

"And industry is seeing that. So, we're all working together to show that we, as a province, can be environmentally responsible but still encourage investment and encourage development of our energy industry."

With files from CBC News

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