Albertans had plenty to tell Trudeau after cancellation of Keystone XL extension

EDMONTON — Albertans shared feelings of frustration and alienation in dozens of emails addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau following the effective cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline extension in January.

The emails were among those Canadians sent to the prime minister in the days after U.S. President Joe Biden revoked the project’s permit on his first day in office on Jan. 20.

Many emailers implored the prime minister to “stand up” or “fight back” against the cancellation.

“Show this country that you have the intestinal fortitude to stand up to the U.S. for our country,” wrote an Albertan.

“This is not an Alberta issue but a Canadian issue.”

Another writer asked, “how are you going to help Albertans recover from this blow and move forward?”

“Please stand up for Albertans.”

The correspondence was obtained by CTV News following an access to information and privacy request.

Emailers identified themselves by home province with information on their names and hometowns redacted from the records.

“Alberta has supported the rest of Canada for so many years. Now, we need the rest of Canada to stand up for Alberta,” reads another email.

‘SPEAK UP, AND SPEAK STRONGLY’

Shortly after Biden revoked the project’s permit, Trudeau issued a statement saying the government was “disappointed” with the president’s decision.

“Workers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and across Canada will always have our support,” the statement reads.

That sentiment didn’t go far enough for many who wrote in.

“If you want one single example of how this government foments ongoing sentiments of western alienation, let your silence on this file serve as the example,” reads one email.

“Please, Mr. Prime Minister, speak up, and speak strongly in support of Keystone X​L.”

“You need to fight and fight hard for this,” wrote another.

Some warned the project’s cancellation would fuel separatist sentiment.

One writer asked, “where is the outcry for our economic interests and jobs?”

“More and more I hear Albertans talk about separation … this is becoming a mainstream conversation out here. What are you doing to make Albertans feel valued?”

“The U.S. has once again tromped on Canada,” wrote another. “Now is the time to push back.”

‘LOOK TO THE FUTURE’

The US$8 billion-cross-border pipeline was planned to transport 830,000 barrels of oil from Hardisty, Alta., to Steele City, Nebraska.

Alberta’s government invested $1.5 billion in the project and provided $6 billion in loan guarantees, prior to Biden’s order.

Premier Kenney called the project’s cancellation “a gut punch” to Albertans.

“This news is a devastating blow to our province, especially to those Albertans working on the project,” he said in January.

Others wrote that the decision proved it was time for Alberta to diversify its industrial base, and appealed to Ottawa to help.

“The best way to help Albertans and workers losing their jobs is to invest in other industries where they can have safe, long-lasting jobs,” reads one email.

“Alberta has the potential to produce far more than just oil,” wrote a self-described young Albertan.

“I am not ashamed to say that we need some help now,” reads another.

“It’s time to look to the future.” 

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