The veto of Keystone XL Pipeline is short sighted and egocentric and a perfect example of someone who can, and has, excelled in rhetoric but failed in reality

One of the more memorable lines in TV commercial antiquity comes when the question is posed to an actor depicting an aging life insurance applicant why a certain insurance company’s offer was chosen over all others; the answer given was, “Because he earned it.” It begs the question, how was it earned? Did the buyer understand the policy terms, (to say nothing of the terminology), understand the importance of the policy, but more importantly, trust what the salesperson told him?

Last week the President of the U.S.A., with a now practiced, climatized, and obviously relieved sigh, uttered an even more memorable phrase that the XL Pipeline had “earned his veto.” So let’s see here. Did he understand the terms in that this pipeline would cost the U.S. taxpayer nothing?


Did he understand the importance of this pipeline in terms of jobs and energy security? Not really, and anyway, “this is Canadian oil crossing American soil for export.”

Did he trust the seller, Stephen Harper, and his army of lobbyists? Absolutely not.

Would he buy any pipeline proposal from any Canadian prime minister? Nope, not if he’s Canadian. I think we should have sent our secret weapon in the form of Don Cherry – the only person with a bigger ego than Barack Obama. Now that’s a conversation I would pay to watch.

My advice to Mr. Harper, and possibly his successor, is to put this project in an urn-like time capsule to be opened only when Mr. Obama can dedicate all of his time to his true passion – golf – because all that’s important now is his quixotic quest for his legacy.

His shopping list options are slim! His record on education, health-care, and the economy is sadly lacking for a metaphoric two thumbs up, and as for foreign policy – this is a foreign term to him and let’s face it Canada is obviously and unforgivingly “foreign.” Achievement in any of these presidential categories is objective in that they are measureable and something the president wants to avoid.

So his target is the misty world of saving the climate. What voter doesn’t like air? Hands up! How safe a political rhetorical question can that be? The XL veto is a peek into what lies ahead until the lame duck session ends.

It is obvious that the presidential calendar is circled this December as “Legacy Begins Month”. This is when the next UN sponsored world climate huddle-in takes place, and no doubt Mr. Obama will be the keynote speaker. Teleprompters of the world unite! This will be the 20th of such meetings to compare belly button lint.

The last one last year in Lima, Peru was attended by 9,000 delegates from 190 countries.

Who paid those hotel bills?

As was the case in the previous 18 meetings, nothing was accomplished and delegates, every last 9,000 of them, were told to go home, do some dioramas, and come back with a better plan to save the world next year.

The XL veto is short sighted and egocentric and a perfect example of someone who can, and has, excelled in rhetoric but failed in reality.

North American energy security is reality.

Another famous TV commercial line: “You can pay me now or pay me later.”

Meet you later…. at the pump.

~ The Grouch

Roger McKnight

Roger McKnight is the Chief Petroleum Analyst with En-Pro International Inc.
Roger has over 25 years experience in the oil industry, and has held senior marketing management positions responsible for national and international accounts. He is the originator of the card lock concept of marketing on-road diesel that is now the predominant purchase method of diesel in Canada. Roger's knowledge of the oil industry in North America, and pricing structures has resulted in his expertise being sought as a commentator by local, national, and international media. Roger is a regular guest on radio and television programs, and he is quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

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  • Excellent column and an accurate portrayal of the current occupant of the White House. Yes, I said “occupant.” To be Presidential is to bring sides together, to lead, to inspire and indeed to negotiate. We haven’t had one of those in the WH since Ronald Reagan and dare I say, Bill Clinton.