Independent media needs you. Join the Tyee.

The Hook: Political news, freshly caught

TransCanada to ambassador Doer: 'Thank you'

The Canadian government has worked so hard to promote the Keystone XL pipeline in Washington, DC, that TransCanada, the company proposing to build it, sent a "thank you" note last year to Canada's U.S. ambassador, Gary Doer.

"Gary," reads an email from the pipeline firm dated August 30, 2011. "I just wanted to send a quick note to thank you and your team for all of the hard work and perseverance in helping get us this far, I know it has made a big difference."

It added: "Hopefully, we can connect when I am in DC in mid September."

Doer responded three days later. "Thanks," he wrote. "We will continue to push to ensure the real facts are on the table… Look forward to seeing you soon."

That exchange was included in several pages of email correspondence between Doer and TransCanada officials (whose names were blacked out), obtained by The Tyee through an Access to Information request.

The Canadian government has made no secret of its support for the Keystone XL proposal, a widely contested pipeline that would run south from Alberta's oil sands to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The emails, while heavily redacted in some sections, suggest that Doer, and his team at the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC, have been an important source of advice and expertise for TransCanada.

"Gary I am hearing that the house [sic] may pass KXL legislation," wrote an unnamed company official, in reference to Congress' December, 2011, attempt to force a U.S. decision on Keystone XL. "Not sure if that is good or bad. Can we talk today or tomorrow."

In another exchange, this one from January 30, 2012, a TransCanada official wrote: "Do you have some time this week to compare notes?"

To which Doer responded: "Yes. I'm in Texas and can call tomorrow afternoon if that works for you."

President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline last January. But he later approved construction of the southern half, from Oklahoma to Texas. TransCanada resubmitted route plans for the top half, cutting through Nebraska, which will go to public hearings next month.

In February 2011, The Tyee spent a week in Washington, DC, chatting with oil lobbyists, environmentalists and political insiders about the close relationship between the Canadian government and some of the planet's biggest oil companies.

Businessweek Magazine once named Doer one of the top individuals on the planet fighting climate change. Click here to read about his transition from Manitoba's crusading green premier, to one of Washington's leading oil sands proponents.

The Tyee and co-published a lengthy expose last December about a secret campaign, one led by the Canadian embassy and a former George W. Bush campaign staffer, to build a "grassroots" campaign in support of Albertan oil.

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate change for The Tyee.

What have we missed? What do you think? We want to know. Comment below. Keep in mind:


  • Verify facts, debunk rumours
  • Add context and background
  • Spot typos and logical fallacies
  • Highlight reporting blind spots
  • Ignore trolls
  • Treat all with respect and curiosity
  • Connect with each other

Do not:

  • Use sexist, classist, racist or homophobic language
  • Libel or defame
  • Bully or troll
  • Troll patrol. Instead, flag suspect activity.
comments powered by Disqus