Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to have a bilateral meeting later today with U.S. President Obama. Although disappointed by the XL Keystone pipeline decision and the protectionist “Buy American Measure” in Obama’s jobs act, the Prime Minister said that these decisions are simply products of the political season and don’t represent a fundamental shift in U.S. policy toward Canada. He said that Canadians would be wrong to interpret these decisions as anti-Canadian and that none of these decisions are final.
Harper said that Canada has already voiced its disappointment with these decisions, but that he is confident that the projects will eventually go ahead, because they make imminent sense. He said that the pipeline is not only in the best interest of Canada but also in the best interest of the United States. He also said that this decision underscores the need to gain access to the Asian markets for Canada’s energy products.
The conservative Canadian leader, taking part in a summit in Hawaii hosted by Obama said the pipeline decision had produced “extremely negative reactions” and that he discussed oil exports with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
“This does underscore the necessity of Canada making sure that we are able to access Asian markets for our energy products,” Harper told reporters. “I indicated that yesterday (Saturday) to President Hu of China.“ Breitbart
Harper has three issues that he wants to address with Obama, The XL Keystone Pipeline Decision, The Perimeter Security Border Agreement and the “Buy America” measure, which has resurfaced in Obama’s Jobs Act.
Harper was able to hold an intimate discussion with American executives, while Obama and Hu only addressed the gathering.
Ahead of his talks with Obama, Harper met Saturday with American business leaders gathered for an Asia Pacific business summit.
Obama and Hu both addressed the gathering, but Harper held a more intimate discussion with executives from FedEx, Time Warner, Walmart Asian, Johnson and Johnson and Cargill.
The head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who was also at the table, said it was like meeting with family.
“We value the extraordinary relationship we have between the United States and Canada,” Tom Donahue said. “We have a list of issues that will consume a lot of discussion.”
One can only hope that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s assurances are well funded. Often it is difficult to determine what motivates Obama. Harper is probably right that the decisions are politically motivated. While it makes sense for Harper to engage Obama on these issues, one can only hope that he is not wasting his time with a President trapped by his ideology.
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