OTTAWA – U.S. Ambassador Bruce Heyman has no news about whether the Keystone XL oil pipeline will be approved or rejected by the United States, and he understands Canada’s frustrations.
“We’re going through a process, we’re working through that, and hopefully we’ll get through that in a reasonable enough period of time that we can move on to other things,” he said Friday.
“I appreciate the frustration and I’ve communicated as such back to the States.”
On the other hand, he’s imported some of his favourite Chicago cheesecake – that would be Eli’s – for his first Fourth of July party as ambassador to Ottawa.
So relations aren’t all that bad.
“We became close to the family that’s involved with the company and gave them a call and said, ‘Hey, how about some cheesecake for a small party in Ottawa?’”
The intimate gathering of, oh, 3,000 or so of Heyman’s closest friends takes place at his official residence Friday night. Heyman calls it “culinary diplomacy” – part of his job to communicate U.S. policies, laws, beliefs and the art of cheesecake to Canada, which calls one of America’s “most important relationships.”
“This is – if not the – one of the most important relationships of the United States, and Canadians should know that,” Heyman said.
From trade to energy to military cooperation, Heyman says Canada is an important ally to the U.S.
The Keystone relationship, however, is “complex.”
“I meet with a lot of people who work with the United States in a lot of different files, and in that they tell me, you know, Keystone is not part of that decision process. We’re not working on that,” Heyman said.
“But for people in the area where Keystone is important, I appreciate the frustrations that they have, and I think that that frustration exists on both sides of the border on all spectrums of people who believe whether this should or shouldn’t happen.”
In the meantime, the former investment banker at Goldman Sachs who moved to Ottawa with his wife, Vicki, is focusing on perfecting his French, attending his first CFL game, and adjusting to the metric system.
“We don’t have metric, and so it’s a bit of a getting used to when you get up in the morning and people are saying, ‘Oh right it’s going to be 20 outside,’ and I say, ‘20! Oh no that’s Celsius, no that’s good.’
“So you know I’ve had to make some adjustments there.”
© Shaw Media, 2014