Lawrence Martin wondered yesterday what could have possessed Stephen Harper to tell Barack Obama that Canada would not accept a "no" on the Keystone Pipeline:
One possibility is that it was just Stephen Harper – who’s rarely prepared to take no for an answer from anyone – being Stephen Harper.
Another possibility is that Mr. Harper knew that his long-time parliamentary secretary Dean Del Mastro was about to be hit with charges on alleged campaign spending violations. The ever-political PM may have wanted to make big splashy news on the same day in order to overshadow the negative story.
Another is that Mr. Harper senses that Mr. Obama is no longer quite as popular in Canada, making the Prime Minister less hesitant to take him on. Enough bilateral sugarcoating – let’s hit back.
Or maybe, Martin suggests, Harper is playing the long game, and sees Keystone as a 21st century analogue to the St. Lawrence Seaway:
But think again of the St. Lawrence Seaway – it took the better part of three decades to get an agreement with Washington to move ahead with the project.
When Mr. Harper said he wouldn’t take no for answer, perhaps he was thinking down the line to getting Keystone done with a more compatible White House occupant.
The problem with the Seaway analogy is the difference in context. It was not built in the wake of a warming planet. And, therefore, Mr. Harper would do well to remember what happened to the wolf who huffed and puffed and threatened to blow the house down. He could wind up being boiled in his own bitumen.