OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper's claim that Canada "won't take no for an answer" on the Keystone XL pipeline project may be just what the White House needs to hear, according to one Canadian analyst.
"The prime minister, taking his gloves off on this one, not being particularly diplomatic — that is exactly what, quite frankly, gains respect in American politics," said Fen Hampson, international affairs professor at Carleton Univeristy. "It's a contact sport and you've got to play by those rules."
Harper told the Canadian American Business Council in New York City on Thursday that he will not give up on the pipeline from Alberta's oilsands to Gulf Coast refineries, even if U.S. President Barack Obama rejects it.
The Obama administration isn't expected to make a decision on Keystone XL until 2014 at the earliest.
Harper's comments outraged NDP MP Nathan Cullen, who claims the prime minister has "lost his mental capacity to argue his case."