With two recent decisions, Tasha Kheiriddin writes, Stephen Harper may have lost B.C -- and beyond. His first decision -- to approve Northern Gateway and then disappear -- has stoked growing opposition to the project:
The Tories’ sotto voce approval might be a sign not only of Gateway’s mortality but Keystone’s as well. This would put into question their entire western economic and political strategy. Without increased pipeline capacity, Alberta petroleum producers can’t take more oil to market, unless they send it by rail. That’s already causing massive problems for another western constituency — farmers — who are watching their crops pile up as trains full of bitumen chug past.
Without petrodollars, the Tories’ dreams of moving Canada’s economic and political axis from Toronto to Calgary will pass them by. If Keystone is dead, Gateway has to come through. But without another Tory majority government, it won’t. Hence the importance of B.C. and its 42 seats.
His decision to "reform" the Temporary Foreign Workers Program has elicited howls of opposition in both British Columbia and Alberta:
Meanwhile, unions are making noise over Ottawa’s changes to the Temporary Foreign Workers’ Program. B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair stated this week that “the program is still going to exist — they just found ways to massage public opinion so they can continue with it.” Consequently, he added, “our position is that (foreign workers) should be given citizenship … If they’re good enough to work here, they’re good enough to live here, bring their families and spend their paycheques in Canada.”
All of the Alberta Conservative leaderships candidates have voiced their disapproval. The prime minister is now making enemies of former friends.
He sees enemies everywhere because he creates them everywhere -- wherever he goes.