Monday, April 16, 2018

A Dark Future

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.

Image: Newsroom


Lorne said...

My bet is that the fallout from all of this will seriously, if not fatally, injure Justin Trudeau, Owen. All of his pleasing rhetoric (which I notice he is still using in Paris) will be shown to be hollow and meaningless when he pushes his pipeline through.

Owen Gray said...

My hunch is that Trudeau will be seriously injured from this business, Lorne. As one pundit recently quipped, he'll lose votes in B.C. and not gain a single vote in Alberta.

BJ Bjornson said...

I wouldn’t care so much about the fatal mauling of Notley and Trudeau over this pipeline so much if it weren’t for the fact that the most likely beneficiaries of it will be the far worse pair of Kenney and Scheer. Don’t like the tepid environmentalism and incremental moves towards carbon pricing and cleaner energy? Well just wait a year or so until these Scheer and Kenney take over and double down on all the worst points of their predecessors, do what they can to reverse or neuter the good ones, and top it all off with tax breaks and more to the richest and dirtiest corps to rob any future administrations of the resources necessary to fight the even bigger mess we’ll be left with when reality finally catches up to them.

I’d like to cheer on the folks in BC, but this has Pyrrhic victory written all over it.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, BJ. The Green Party will not win a majority government. So the alternatives are worse.

Anonymous said...

Notley and Trudeau are doing themselves and the country no favours in backing typewriter over computer manufacturers. Leaders with any sense of vision would be backing renewable energy companies while freezing the assets of the petro giants to make sure money's available to pension off their workers and clean up the mess they made.


Owen Gray said...

That's what's truly mystifying, Cap. Both Trudeau and Notley are looking backwards.

The Mound of Sound said...

Trudeau is the author of his own misfortune. If Scheer wins in 2019 that will be squarely at the feet of an untrustworthy and arrogant Liberal with a famous name that he was never able to grow into.

It's strange how our political parties can no longer attract top-drawer people to their leadership ranks. The Libs have put forward three duds in a row: Dion, Ignatieff and now Trudeau. It's ironic that after his father did so much to build Canada and reinforce its democracy, his son may leave it with deep, lasting scars. Because of him the place might even break up.

If nothing else, this Trudeau has shown us how much needs to be done to rehabilitate confederation to meet the strains and challenges that loom in the 21st century. He's also shown himself utterly bereft of the vision needed to reform our constitutional framework.

A better Liberal leader might have been able to do great things with the majority Trudeau has fumbled. It may be a while before that window of opportunity returns.

John B. said...

When Sheer and Jason take over and attempt to have their way, will there be enough libertarians and religious crackpots in BC to stop the province and the local First Nations from seceding? Have the CRAP Party and its provincial affiliates got a team already working on a new Clarity Act?

Maybe some good consulting opportunities for Harper & Associates.

Owen Gray said...

You can bet, John, that Harper and Associates are going to get in on the action.

Owen Gray said...

Trudeau Sr. could be just as bull headed as Trudeau Jr., Mound. The difference seems to be that Sr. knew when he had to deal. Consider the not-withstanding clause. Jr. doesn't seem to have his father's foresight.

the salamander said...

.. two choices for Justin Trudeau

- go full pipeline mode & extirpate wild food chain species
a major step towards extinction

- go full cull of the tar sands & fracking
& promise to enforce cleanup and remediation
and go full tilt enacting SARA process to save the habitat/creatures

Oh.. a 3rd option - go full Stephen Harper mode.. how wondrous
Are there any environmental legislations left he can strip?

For just 19.95 $ you can get the silver Caribou Coin
from the Canadian Mint.. presumably the proceeds
will help offset the subsidies to foreign owned Big Energy
getting dilbit via supertankers to Asia and the Texas gulf coast
and lessen the burden on Canadian taxpayers

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Sal, it doesn't look like Justin will choose any of those options.