Bruce Heyman with his wife Vicki, flanked by members of the Governor General’s Foot Guards, on April 9, 2014, when he presented his credentials as the U.S. ambassador to Canada (Photo: U.S. Embassy to Canada, Public Domain).

There’s a small but important update to the story about Jason Kenney’s conspiracy theorizing in Washington at the end of last week.

According to the man who served as the United States’ ambassador to Canada from 2014 to 2017, nothing was ever said to him that would suggest there were ever any talks between the Obama Administration and anyone close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about President Barack Obama’s decision not to allow completion of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

This is important because of the Alberta premier’s claim at a forum put on by the Wilson Center in the U.S. capital Friday morning that an official close to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conspired with the Obama White House in 2015 to engineer “a co-ordinated surrender” by Canada on the Keystone XL decision.

As the former US Ambassador to Canada I am unaware of ANY conversation related to acceptance of an anti KXL decision by either the Harper or Trudeau governments, their advisors, or their staff,” Bruce Heyman tweeted Friday evening from Chocholá in Mexico’s Yucatán state.

And one would think that an ambassador, whose job it is to keep his ear to the ground for what’s being said and done in the country of his posting might have picked up something if the phone lines had been buzzing between the Prime Minister’s Office, whoever happened to be occupying it at the moment, and White House.

Apparently not.

Mr. Heyman’s remark is interesting on two counts, because it suggests Mr. Kenney’s commentary at the respectable Washington think tank linked to the venerable Smithsonian Institution was either a delusion or a fabrication, and also because it indicates Stephen Harper’s PMO wasn’t as aggressive dealing with the Americans as Mr. Kenney would like us to believe.

According to Mr. Kenney’s version of events, Gerald Butts, then Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary, engaged in “back-channel conversations” with the White House, presumably in the two days between when Mr. Trudeau was sworn in as PM and President Obama’s announcement of his decision, so “that there would be no negative reaction.”

Furthermore, said Mr. Kenney, who may have been working up a head of steam with the encouragement of Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who was with him on stage, “I think there’s a reason why the Obama Administration did not veto the project in the several years that prime minister Harper was there waiting for an approval, because they knew there would have been a very serious diplomatic conflict with Canada.”

Mr. Heyman’s 33-word commentary suggests both claims are baloney.

Well, Mr. Heyman was a prominent supporter of Mr. Obama before he was appointed ambassador to Canada, so no doubt the Trumpublicans with whom Mr. Kenney was hobnobbing before he made his remarks would suspect something was up.

More likely, though, the retired ambassador was just annoyed enough when he heard about Mr. Kenney’s storytelling to set aside the niceties of his former diplomatic profession long enough to debunk the premier’s creative commentary.

This is not the first time the outspoken former ambassador has made news of interest to Canadians since he left his post in Ottawa on Jan. 20, 2017.

Last month, he told media that U.S. President Donald Trump disregarded close allies like Canada when he decided to have Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani assassinated in a drone attack on Jan. 3.

Mr. Heyman said the killing elevated Mr. Trump’s disregard for the United States’ friends to a new level.  “It put Canada and others in a fairly difficult and complex situation on the ground.”

Join the Conversation


  1. There is always that point where a conspiracy theory will get called out by those who not only have significant information about the events involved, but can also speak to the matter with enormous credibility.

    Given POTUS’ recent “exoneration” of impeachment, perhaps Kenney feels he can take this matter to his own court and find a decision more to his liking?

    Why not? Strike a provincial to investigate the claims Kenney has made, create a blue-ribbon panel to review the findings, and submit a report where not only is Kenney’s perspective proven to be truthful, but the reality presented by Kenney over all things is the only reality that exists.

    The crazy is just getting started.

  2. There is so much hogwash surrounding Keystone and it’s history that a short review is necessary. Keystone was a project conceived by the US energy giant Valero Energy to bring bitumen down from the tar sands to the Texas gulf coast and then off to the Isle of Man where the stuff was to be refined into diesel for sale in Europe.

    This set off alarm bells in Nebraska and other mid-west states when they realized the pipeline was going to run right over a huge water table which supplied thousands of acres of prime farmland. A powerful agricultural in alliance with eco-activists sprang into action and has tied up the project in state and local courts for years.

    There’s not much Canadian politicians can do about this except spout hot air. Even the politicians in DC have their hands tied as they don’t want to be seen trampling over state’s rights.

  3. I suspect that most sober and serious people who have had some input into the development and functioning of our democratic institutions, not to put too fine a point on it, but Democracy itself, in the modern developed world are more than a little a little worried by the meatheads and buffoons at the head of those institutions.
    We are well past the stage where these contretemps are not mentioned in polite society; these clowns and criminals are out to change the very basis of our society, and not for our benefit.
    In this time when any narcissistic twit can, and does, make up the most implausible stories, I would hazard that Mr. Heyman would feel bound, by duty or honour or even a sense of self-preservation, to speak out the truth of such matters.

  4. I read with great interest Peter Downing’s recent declaration on social media that Kenney is a sheep in wolf’s skin and is in cahoots with PMJT to shutter Albertastan’s O&G industry. Kenney has been talking green and maybe I thinking of a return to social licence. Kenney has softened his rhetoric and points to an inevitable future where there will be less fossil fuel consumption and more alternative energy sources employed.

    Downing’s assertion is that Kenney is owned by Ottawa because his lavish pension. This would explain Kenney’s sudden collapse of his angry midget act.

    Could it be that Kenney’s frequent spewing of alt-facts has placed him at odds with the harder conservatives within the UCP?

    There is always a tipping point for those who never stop spinning the spin and Kenney may have reached that point with his own party.

    Who knew that the CPC’s disastrous performance in the last federal election would such a far reaching impact?

    If Premier Moe is the only stooge you have left, things are grim indeed.

  5. Is there a more dishonest person than Kenney? When he isn’t lying he’s making things up to serve his political agenda.

    Hopefully more decent people like Mr. Heyman call out Kenney’s deceptive ways.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.