WASHINGTON — A political shuffling of the cards in Canada this week comes at a crucial time for the Keystone XL pipeline decision in Washington.
Two of the project's biggest Canadian boosters are off the file, with Joe Oliver leaving the federal natural resources portfolio to replace retired finance minister Jim Flaherty, and Alison Redford's resignation as Alberta premier.
In their place are fresh faces — new Resources Minister Greg Rickford and interim Alberta premier Dave Hancock.
But former American ambassador to Canada, David Wilkins, doesn't think the political changes in Canada will affect the White House's decision on the $5.4-billion Alberta-to-Texas pipeline.
Canada's done all the heavy lifting it can on the project in Washington, he says.
"I don't think there's anybody in Washington that doesn't know the position of the Canadian government on Keystone," said Wilkins.