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Union leader said Kenney lost his bet on Keystone XL, calls for diversification

Last Updated Jan 21, 2021 at 12:50 pm MST

FILE -- Alberta Premier Jason Kenney updates media on measures taken to help with COVID-19, in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Premier Jason Kenney says the blueprint to reboot Alberta's distressed economy will be unveiled Monday in Calgary. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – As Premier Jason Kenney calls for strict action against the U.S. government in the wake of the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, some are saying Kenney needs to take responsibility for the situation.

Following the announcement from President Joe Biden on Wednesday, Kenney called for the federal government to consider economic and trade sanctions If Biden chooses not to meet Trudeau to discuss the issue.

WATCH: Kenney ‘deeply disturbed’ by President Biden revoking Keystone permit

“Surely that is the least that our closest friend and ally owes Canada, which is to respectfully discuss and review the decisions,” said Kenney.

With the province facing a financial loss of over $1 billion, Rory Gill, President of the Alberta chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), said it’s not right to blame Biden.

“Biden made it clear that he wasn’t a supporter of Keystone XL and the premier went ahead and used taxpayer money to make a bet and he’s lost that bet. To say now that he’s upset about it or he doesn’t think it’s fair, it’s an investment and when you make investments, you have to weigh the risks and he didn’t do that.”

In May, during his campaign for the Democratic nomination, Biden said he would cancel the controversial cross-border project if elected.

Biden made good on his promise following his Inauguration by scrapping the presidential permit originally signed by Donald Trump.

Last year, Kenney announced the UCP government was investing $1.5 billion in the Keystone XL project and guarantee a US$4.2-billion project loan.

Kenney warned earlier this week the long-term cost of the pipeline’s cancellations would mean a $30-billion hit to Alberta’s economy by 2030.

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Gill said this is a great opportunity to further look at diversifying the Alberta economy.

“This is something we needed to do in Alberta for a long time and the previous government began to take steps in that direction and look at different ways to make Alberta a stronger economic force in this country and the premier said that was a luxury and just about laughed at it.”

Kenney said Alberta is getting legal advice in both Canada and the U.S. about seeking compensation for the project.

With files from The Canadian Press