WASHINGTON – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is in Washington in an effort to convince Capitol Hill lawmakers that his province is their best bet for North American energy security.
Kenney is meeting with journalists today in advance of his testimony Tuesday before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
That hearing, to explore the “energy and minerals” partnership between Canada and the U.S., will also feature virtual testimony from Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson.
Nathalie Camden, Quebec’s deputy minister of mines, and Electricity Canada president Francis Bradley are also scheduled to testify.
Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage and Environment Minister Jason Nixon are part of Kenney’s delegation.
Tuesday’s hearing comes at the invitation of the committee’s chairman, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — a moderate Democrat and a critical swing vote in the evenly divided Senate — who paid a high-profile visit to Alberta last month.
Kenney has long been a vocal champion of the role Alberta plays as a reliable and trustworthy source of energy to the U.S., a message he believes resonates even more since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.
And Manchin has proven a valuable ally, as a vocal critic of U.S. President Joe Biden’s Day 1 decision to cancel the controversial Keystone XL pipeline expansion between Alberta’s oilsands and refineries on the Gulf Coast.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is something we should have never abandoned. Now we wish we hadn’t,” Manchin said during his visit.
The White House, meanwhile, has repeatedly rejected the idea that allowing the project to go ahead would have eased the pressure on gasoline prices in the U.S., which have spiked due to rampant inflation and widespread international bans on the import of Russian energy.
But Kenney’s visit this week may have as much to do with turbulent domestic politics in Alberta as with the shifting global geopolitical landscape.
Kenney returns home Wednesday, when he will learn the results of a United Conservative Party vote on whether he should continue as leader and premier.
Just last week, he rejected “unequivocally, period, full stop” the idea of calling an election a full year ahead of schedule in hopes of restoring a measure of party unity and maintaining his grip on power.
The governing party has been roiled by bitter infighting in recent months, including public criticism of Kenney from within his own caucus, that will culminate Wednesday in the results of the leadership review.