The Conservatives are blaming Justin Trudeau for the mess in the oilpatch -- which is, Michael Harris writes exceedingly curious:
The latest nonsense out of the National Post (which is a business partner of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and acts the part on its news and opinion pages) is that Trudeau has somehow failed Alberta. That’s right — you’re meant to believe that the whole thing has unravelled (in three months) because Oprah is now in the driver’s seat. Forty years of provincial Tories and a decade of federal Conservatives had nothing to do with it.
You have to remember that the Conservatives aren't speaking for all Albertans:
That longstanding delusion was smashed by Albertans themselves when they elected an NDP majority government in the last provincial election. Alberta is much, much more than any single industry. More importantly, no single industry can or should dictate its own rules to government, at least not in a democracy.
It’s the oil industry itself that has a lot to account for, not Trudeau. It was the industry’s so-called “hardball” approach to resource extraction and pipeline development that turned off environmentalists, First Nations, unions, other provinces and, finally, an entire country.
Everything Harper did was focused on the oil industry:
Point one: Stephen Harper never did regulate the energy sector, despite his serial broken promises to do so from the day he won government. He carried a brief for the industry from day one. Ironically, his actions turned out to be detrimental to the very people he was trying to help. Harper got a hernia pushing their interests in the wrong direction.
Point two: Harper deconstructed what environmental protections Canada had in place for air, water and land, creating what he must have thought was an obstacle-free path to rapid extraction and marketing of non-renewable resources for his cosseted pet industry. In the process, he drew the ire of President Barack Obama by calling approval of the Keystone XL pipeline a “no-brainer.” Maybe Harper didn’t care about the environment; other people clearly did.
Point three: Harper expanded the powers of the National Energy Board and made a public agency the captive of the oil industry, stocking it with industry players.
And, despite all his help, the oil business is in the dumpster. Harper may have sought to control a lot of things. But he couldn't control the price of oil. And, because the break even point for a barrel of bitumen is $80, nobody is making any money at $30 a barrel. At those prices, all that goo will stay in the ground.
The future is now in wind, solar and green energy in general. The business plan for Alberta, for Albertans and for the rest of the country has changed. That reality is just beginning to sink in.