Former Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.) have picked up their first foreign client since their acrimonious departure from Squire Patton Boggs to Crossroads Strategies in June.
The pair have registered to lobby for the energy-rich province of Alberta, part-owner of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline between the province’s oil sands and refineries in Illinois and Texas. Joining them on the contract is Shay Hancock, a former aide to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.).
The $350,000 contract calls on Crossroads to develop and execute government relations strategies “regarding the export of goods, including natural resources from the Province of Alberta to the United States.”
The year-long contract with Alberta’s Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation was signed on Nov. 5, with the outcome of the US presidential election still in doubt. In a tell-tale sign that Alberta foresees more trouble from Democrats, the fee is for $30,000 per month starting in December in case of a Joe Biden victory but only $25,000 in case of a second term for President Donald Trump.
Indeed, despite sparring with Trump over tariffs and trade, Alberta has been delighted by the US president’s decision to override the Barack Obama administration’s environmental opposition to the $8 billion project. The province is a part-owner of the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline between the province’s oil sands and refineries in Illinois and Texas and has invested $1.5 billion in the project.
Biden by contrast has vowed to stop the project in its tracks.
“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration,” the Biden campaign said in a May statement, “and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”
In a tell-tale sign that Alberta foresees more trouble from Democrats, the fee is for $30,000 per month starting in December in case of a Joe Biden victory but only $25,000 in case of a second term for President Donald Trump.
Alberta is determined to press on. In a Nov. 7 statement congratulating Biden after the race was called in his favor, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney focused his remarks on energy ties with the United States.
“US energy security is dependent on Alberta as the United States’ largest source of oil imports,” Kenney said. “Much of the American economy is fueled by Alberta energy. We look forward to working with President-Elect Biden’s transition team and future administration to ensure that this vital economic partnership continues.”
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The Crossroads contract calls on Lott and Breaux to develop an advocacy staffing plan in November before starting congressional lobbying next month. Key components include:
- Reaching out to key member offices and committee staff with jurisdiction over policy areas of concern;
- Providing timely reports on legislative priorities and relevant congressional hearings as well as agency and executive branch proposals and rulemaking;
- Facilitating opportunities for the Province of Alberta to provide beneficial testimony, input or comment on any relevant items, forums, or hearings;
- Identifying and tracking potential legislative vehicles, especially ones that could include “key detrimental provisions”;
- Refining public relations messaging to enhance advocacy and outreach, including fact sheets and letters advocating both for and against specific legislation; and
- Coordinating with the Canadian government, relevant companies, trade associations and coalition groups.
Crossroads’ point of contact is Alberta’s senior representative to the US, James Rajotte. A former conservative member of parliament, he was part of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group for 10 years.
“I have a lot of relationships existing with senators, with members of the House of Representatives. So, I’ll certainly renew those and strengthen those and build on those to advocate for our interests,” Rajotte told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) shortly after being sent south of the border in April. “It’s a challenge, always, to get their attention. But I’m very confident I can do that, both at the national level and at the state level.”
In late July, he signed a $5,000-per-month contract for congressional lobbying with Crestview Strategy of Ottawa for three months. The firm’s Washington office is managed by Maryscott Greenwood, a former chief of staff for the US Embassy in Canada who currently serves as CEO of the Canadian American Business Council.