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Iraq war had ‘broad support’ from AB oil patch: Wikileaks

The U.S. invasion of Iraq enjoyed “broad support” from Alberta ministers and top energy sector leaders, according to a 2003 diplomatic cable newly released by Wikileaks.

An American diplomat, writing from the U.S. embassy in Ottawa, noted that this was “hardly surprising in U.S.-friendly Alberta.”

But the official apparently found the intensity of support – and hatred of then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien’s Liberal government – notable during meetings in early April.

“[U.S. Diplomats] all but had to cut off pro-Washington, anti-Ottawa tirades by both provincial ministers and energy executives,” the cable reads.

Chief among their grievances were comments made by then-Natural Resources Minister Herb Dhaliwal calling then-President George W. Bush a “failed statesman”.

Alberta representatives appeared to “intensely resent” the fact that Chretien had not publicly rebuked those statements.

The cable also noted that severe misgivings about other federal policy initiatives seemed to be abating – if only slightly.

“While distrust of Ottawa on climate change and Kyoto implementation (and most other things) remains the norm in Alberta, the extreme hostility to Ottawa-driven policy of a few months ago has moderated,” it reads.

Alberta officials hoped to have their own climate plan running shortly. And oil patch representatives figured that by the time the federal government actually began implementing Kyoto, Paul Martin would be prime minister.

Martin, in their view, “‘understands and supports’ the oil sand gas industry,” reads the cable.

The diplomat assured Alberta representatives that the U.S. government “valued greatly” its energy relationship with Canada.

Geoff Dembicki reports for the Tyee.

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