Yesterday's meeting between Justin Trudeau, John Horgan and Rachel Notley does not bode well for the future. Michael Harris writes:
Whatever side you take on Kinder Morgan’s plan to triple its pipeline capacity from Alberta through B.C. to tidewater, a bomb is about to go off in Canadian politics.
There will be plenty of shrapnel to go around: Trudeau, Rachel Notley, Jagmeet Singh, John Horgan and a slew of other federal and provincial candidates are all in the blast zone. But the question is who, if anyone, will be fatally wounded?
The leader most damaged by this stand off will be Rachel Notley:
Despite the brave face in Ottawa Sunday, the drowning politician of the group is Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. Facing an election against a united right under Jason Kenney, she is desperately clutching at anything to show that she is the greatest petro-politician Albertans could ever hope to find. In the process, she is making Ralph Klein look like a tree-hugger.
From threatening to cut off British Columbia’s supply of oil, to musing about buying the entire Kinder Morgan project with taxpayer’s money, Notley has jettisoned crucial parts of the NDP’s policy mantra in the name of surviving Kenney’s political resurrection.
There is a reason for Notley’s mania to get Trans Mountain in place now. Simply, there may not be a tomorrow. If, as expected, demand for oil peaks in the next decade because of rapidly falling prices for clean energy options, Alberta could be saddled with vast reserves of unsellable oil. There is a shrinking window of opportunity and Notley is trying to get through it before it closes. In a nutshell, there is more bitumen than there is time to sell it.
Notley finds herself sitting on a resource that will soon be obsolete. She did not greenlight the massive investment in the Tar Sands. It was Klein who spearheaded that operation. Peter Lougheed, with his Harvard MBA, knew that the Tar Sands was a money pit. He refused to stake Alberta's future on bitumen.
But, now that Alberta has made that black goo its lifeblood, the future looks increasingly dark.