CTV’s Kevin Newman Interviews Elizabeth May in Washington on the Keystone Pipeline


Transcribed by Janet Eaton

KN: Green party leader Elizabeth May was in Washington the day that new Secretary of State, John Kerry and our Foreign Affairs minister, John Baird held that key meeting on the pipeline decision. Ms May thanks for joining us. How do you read the tea leaves there -does the pledge by new US Sec State to provide his answer to keystone in the near term- do you think that means this pipeline is heading for approval ?

EMay: I think it’s too soon to say – I’ve been talking to members of the Senate and the Congress here in Washington during my visit over the last number of days and there’s a lot of increased enthusiasm about what President Obama said in his inauguration address about the need for the US to seize leadership on the climate issue, to embrace clean tech, to do much much more to bring down green house gases. And John Kerry
was, before being appointed Secretary of State, a prominent critic of the XL pipeline. So I think we’re a long way from knowing which way this is going to go.

KN: So you’re saying Secretary of State, Kerry, can’t stay true to himself and approve this pipeline.

EMay: Well, that’s a good way of putting it- I mean John Kerry has been on his own for years, I’ve seen him in climate negotiations when he had no other reason to be there except that he was concerned and committed. He showed up in Copenhagen, he showed up in Bali. This is a man who understands the climate issue and now he’s led by a President who’s says the United States is going to take the lead because we owe
it to our children we owe it to our grandchildren and the United States is not going to stand by and watch other countries seize the technologies that get us past fossil fuels. I don’t see John Kerry being at all happy with the prospect of approving Keystone XL – particularly when we know there will be, next weekend, a large demonstration in Washington DC, opposing the Keystone pipeline. It is not going to be a decision that
will sit well with John Kerry if he ends up feeling that he needs to approve it.

KN: But you know – I’ve been reading a couple of recent quotes from the Washington Post e.g. who recently in an editorial said “ignore the activists who have brazenly chosen to make Keystone XL a line- in-the -sand issue” and then there’s a publication Nature-which I think we can both agree is a pretty substantive magazine with scientific peer reviewed findings and it says “The administration should face down critics of the project, ensure that environmental standards are met and then approve it.” Now those are progressive publications. Doesn’t that give Obama some political cover?

EMay: It gets hard to do that when Canada doesn’t have a real climate plan. If Canada was coming – I go back to when Mulroney was the architect of an acid rain plan that worked and the approach was come to the US with clean hands, show the US that we’re taking the appropriate steps in Canada and then asking them to do the same.

In this case what Stephen Harper’s done is to destroy most of our environmental laws, cancel our commitments under Kyoto, behave as a rogue nation in world, and actually have no domestic plan to meet even the weak target that Stephen Harper has set. So how then do we tell Barack Obama- Accept our bitumen crude- We’re going to be good actors on climate. We don’t have credibility to say that which actually undermines the case that the keystone XL pipeline should be approved.

KN: Alright Elizabeth May – thanks for being with us.

EMay: Thank you so much.