Harper to push for Keystone approval as leaders gather for trilateral talks in Mexico – by Kim MacKrael (Globe and Mail – February 18, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MEXICO CITY — Mexico is pushing for a continental approach to energy, with a top official saying all three countries should use their resource wealth to boost the strength of the North American economy.

Ahead of this week’s “Three Amigos” summit, Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s secretary of economy, told The Globe and Mail that the Keystone XL pipeline could benefit Canada, the United States as well as his own country.

“I think that if Keystone is helpful to Canada, it is helpful to the North American region,” he said, while avoiding comment on whether Mexico supports the project. “Because I think it is an additional strength that North America has, and we should be smart enough to use it strategically and to count on it in terms of what we have.”

This week’s talks in Toluca, where North American leaders are scheduled to meet on Wednesday, will provide another opportunity for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to press U.S. President Barack Obama on Canada’s bid for approval of Keystone, which would move oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The issue has become a growing irritant between the two leaders, and senior U.S. officials made it clear in a background briefing last week that Canada should not expect an answer on the project during this week’s meetings.

The talks come as Mexico works to introduce fundamental changes to its energy sector, allowing foreign companies to invest in the country’s oil and gas industry for the first time in decades. Mr. Guajardo said the reforms should boost Mexico’s economy and have a “tremendous” effect on the North American manufacturing sector.

Mr. Harper arrived in Mexico City Monday afternoon and will meet separately with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Tuesday before the trilateral meetings. The Prime Minister is expected to visit TransCanada’s offices in Mexico City on Wednesday, another sign that energy will be top of mind during this week’s meetings. A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said the company was chosen because it is a “Canadian success story” that is leveraging tremendous opportunities in Mexico.

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