The day after the election, Jason Kenney set his sights on Ottawa. Linda McQuaig writes:
Only a day after Monday's federal election, the Alberta premier was in full battle mode, honing his mission to defend the oil industry, stir up Western resentment and stick it to Justin Trudeau's freshly wounded Liberal government, now reduced to minority status.
Keen to depict anyone not swearing fealty to the oilsands as a traitor, Kenney will paint Canada as a country plunging towards disintegration if Ottawa fails to expand pipelines and end the carbon tax.
But Kenny ignores some uncomfortable facts. The first is that Alberta has been giving the oil industry an easy ride for a long time:
Certainly, Alberta politicians have found it effective to blame Ottawa, thereby directing any popular resentment away from themselves -- for their failure, for instance, to drive a tougher bargain with the multinational oil industry, as Norway has done.
Although Norway and Alberta both have generous oil deposits and small populations, Norway has driven a far tougher bargain with Big Oil, demanding a much larger share of oil revenues for its people.
As a result, while Alberta has built up a heritage fund for Albertans worth $18 billion, Norway's heritage fund is 60 times larger -- worth $1.3 trillion. That translates to about $260,000 per Norwegian, making recent declines in international oil prices -- and the world's eventual transition away from oil -- less worrisome in the Nordic country.
The second fact is that not everyone in Alberta and Saskatchewan voted blue:
30 per cent of Alberta's popular vote (and 35 per cent of Saskatchewan's) went to candidates who weren't Conservative -- which would have resulted in numerous non-Conservative seats under a proportional representation system, which many Canadians thought they would get after Trudeau promised electoral reform in his 2015 campaign.
The appearance of provincial unity helps Alberta's politicians make the case that they speak for an aggrieved province, unified against Ottawa.
Neither of these facts makes Trudeau's job any easier. But, as you listen to Kenney rage, remember that his memory -- like his use of facts -- is highly selective.
Image: HuffPost Canada