Canadian Lobbyists Apply Elbow Grease to U.S. Democrats

"If you don't like the oil sands oil, what companies will do [in Canada] is build a bigger pipeline to the west coast and export it to China and India," warned a lobbyist for Nexen Energy, which has "major investments" in the oil sands region of Alberta, Canada. He was attending the U.S. Democratic National Convention, where oil sands backers held a closed-door meeting with presidential candidate Barack Obama and his top energy advisor, Jason Grumet. Grumet had earlier blasted oil sands oil for having "a much greater impact on climate change." Extraction from oil sands produces three times as much greenhouse gas emissions as traditional oil extraction. Canadian cabinet minister Tony Clement, who was in the closed-door meeting with Obama, said, "We have to be more aggressive in representing Canadian values and interests in the American political scene." Nexen has hired former U.S. ambassador to Canada Gordon Giffin as a Washington, DC based oil sands lobbyist. The industry is powerful in Canada. In July alone, oil sands industry representatives held 36 meetings with Canadian ministers and government officials.