Everyone sees Obama's decision to stop the Keystone XL pipeline exactly for what it is: an attempt to save his own career. Having failed to impress swing voters with his economic performance, the president has been forced to capitulate to the extreme environmentalist lobby to fund and redeem his re-election bid.
The tar sands industry now faces legal challenges from First Nations, low carbon fuel initiatives in California and the EU, opposition to its pipelines in the U.S., in British Columbia, and in Eastern provinces and states. Are all these people crazy? Is it still you, not me?
Opposition groups can organize and protest much more quickly on social media. While a government argues facts, figures, and economic benefits, groups argue on an emotional level. In political terms we used to refer to this as appealing to the head or heart, with the heart usually winning.
If the Enbridge review hearings rubber-stamp the pipeline, or Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushes it through, expect a First Nations lawsuit to kill it. The First Nations are the loudest and strongest in protest, and those who most deserve backing.
The only certain winner in the Keystone decision is China, which is now one step closer to being able to access Canadian oil at no cost to them. Stephen Harper will now use his visit to China in February to promote Canadian oil.
Open partisan warfare between Democrats and Republicans, between the Obama administration and Congress, is underway and the latest clash is the Battle of Keystone, the fight over the Keystone XL pipeline.
Whether we like it or not, this world runs on petroleum and petroleum-based products. Therefore, the question that needs to be asked: "How can our petroleum-based economy operate in an environmentally responsible way -- while costs to industry and consumers remain reasonable?"
A second term for Obama might be good for Canada. Obama's departure from Bush policies regarding Canada has been driven by electoral considerations, and in a second term, Obama might be less inclined to make such concessions to his base at Canada's expense.
The politics surrounding the Keystone pipeline have entered the phase of threat and counter-threat when media accounts start to resemble the pre-match theatrics of heavyweight boxers. The question is: Who is bluffing?
Canadians are being asked to take a leap of faith and trust that the industry can build and operate new oil pipelines safely. Yet a new audit shows gaps or deficiencies in companies' compliance with the regulations in nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) of the cases.
It used to be that a few guys from the oil industry could get together over drinks and make the decisions on major infrastructure projects. Then it started to fall apart. Faith in the industry and their supposed regulators was shaken with the Deepwater Horizon spill.
We Americans should be a helluva lot more thankful for having such a friendly (and understanding) neighbour like Canada. We could, but we probably won't. We Americans are so fixated on building our foolish and short-sighted consumer/gladiator-show culture that it's easy to forget who provides most of our imported oil.
If conspiracy theorists were truly upset about U.S. influence on Canadian infrastructure, they might also question U.S. industry and foundation funding for organizations such as Canada's right-wing Fraser Institute, which has the same charitable status as the David Suzuki Foundation.
The move towards a carbon-free future is something we all want. The reason it hasn't arrived yet isn't because of a lack of good intentions or of trying.
Canadians and the world are desperate for the Canada we once knew. The Canada that was a global role model on environmental issues and the Canada that often chose the moral high ground even when it was not politically palatable. It is not too late for leadership.
The activists who rally constantly against the oil sands may think they've helped make the world a better place, now that U.S. President Barack Obama has turtled, in the face of their pressure, on the Keystone XL pipeline. They haven't. They've made it worse.