China Gives Harper His Own Panda After He Approves Northern Gateway Pipeline
OTTAWA — Minutes after Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pooh-poohed environmental and First Nation concerns in announcing the approval of the controversial $6.9 billion pipeline between Alberta’s tar sands and the B.C. port of Kitimat, the Chinese government thanked him.
By giving him his own personal Panda.
Woo Waa (pronounced “yee haw”) is a 2-year-old male and will live with the Harper family at 24 Sussex Drive sharing an apartment over the garage with the PM’s chauffeur.
“The Prime Minister is very, very pleased today,” said Harper spokesperson Jason MacDonald.
“He has always wanted a Panda as a pet and he was worked hard to get it.”
“Prime Minister Harper was as giddy as a schoolboy when he heard the fantastic news.”
MacDonald refused media questions about the pipeline itself.
It is estimated that the Northern Gateway will carry 525,000 barrels of petroleum products a day, 510,000 of which will go to China for refining. 490,000 barrels of that heavy oil are already owned by Chinese companies through their controlling interest of Canadian oil companies. Chinese companies also recently bought Canada’s iconic Tim Hortons.
“We thank Mr. Harper for this great gift to the People of China,” said China’s President Xi Jinping (pronounced “xi jinping”) in a statement issued hours before the official announcement from Parliament Hill.
In addition to giving Harper his own Panda, Xi Jinping also presented “the people of Canada” with a framed poster of the Great Wall of China and 1,000 Northern Gateway t-shirts to be given to First Nation bands along the pipeline route.
The 1,177-kilometre pipeline has been strongly opposed by numerous First Nations and environmental groups and has yet to be approved by the British Columbia government. B.C. Premier Christy Clark has stood firm on 5 conditions that must be met before approval is granted by the province but added a sixth condition today that she also be given a Panda.
“The Prime Minister has heard Canadians’ concerns and has imposed 209 strict conditions that must be met before a single creek bed is dug up,” said National Resources Minister Greg Rickford.
CBC’s Peter Mansbridge noted that 198 of those conditions are commitments to nationally promote the pipeline with TV ads on Hockey Night in Canada and the CFL’s Grey Cup championship game. Pipeline company Enbridge must also create a Northern Gateway video game to “show Canada’s youth how much fun pipe-lining can be.”
Six conditions of those conditions call for coffee meetings with First Nations. Four conditions call for semi-annual environmental testing.
And the final condition calls for Enbridge to pay for Netflix to be made available in Kitimat and for all affected First Nations’ bands.
Woo Woo is expected to arrive in time for Canada Day celebrations.
Reportering for The Lapine