Op­por­tunism run­ning amok

Calgary Sun - - COMMENT - Ricky LEONG

Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley and Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau are given a hard time for how they’ve han­dled the en­ergy sec­tor.

Trudeau, for his seem­ingly luke­warm and of­ten un­con­vinc­ing sup­port of pipe­lines.

Not­ley, mainly for her fullthroated em­brace of econ­omy-wide car­bon pric­ing.

But on the Trans Moun­tain de­ba­cle, they are not com­pletely at fault.

The feds did ap­prove this pipeline af­ter all, in an apo­lit­i­cal process (the­o­ret­i­cally) at the Na­tional En­ergy Board.

And Not­ley has long touted trad­ing good­will ac­quired through a re­duc­tion in car­bon emis­sions for new pipe­lines.

Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, this tidy ar­range­ment could have worked.

What they didn’t count on was Bri­tish Columbia Premier John Hor­gan, who’s promised to fight Trans Moun­tain tooth and nail.

As you might re­call, he vaulted into power af­ter vot­ers on the other side of the con­ti­nen­tal di­vide elected a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment last year.

The in­cum­bent Lib­er­als couldn’t form a coali­tion — but the NDP did, with the B.C. Green Party.

It would not have mat­tered who’s in charge in Ed­mon­ton and Ot­tawa. Those facts are im­ma­te­rial to the re­al­ity of do­mes­tic B.C. pol­i­tics.

Now, the en­tire coun­try is get­ting a taste of the weird­ness that of­ten in­hab­its the leg­is­la­ture in Vic­to­ria.

Re­mem­ber: Hor­gan isn’t act­ing alone. In the na­tional me­dia, he’s get­ting al­most all the face time as an anti-pipeline cru­sader. But, as the leader of a mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment, he’s just a pup­pet. The pup­pet master is An­drew Weaver, leader of the Greens.

To­gether, they’ve cre­ated a wel­come home for the worst kind of en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivism in pol­i­tics.

It is no sur­prise Sun­day’s get-to­gether be­tween Trudeau, Not­ley and Hor­gan amounted to a whole lotta noth­ing.

In short, we’ve found our­selves in a sit­u­a­tion in which there is no amount of good Al­berta can do to per­suade Hor­gan, Weaver and Co. to make a pipeline palat­able.

B.C.’s po­lit­i­cal pup­pet master, backed by a premier with a ten­u­ous hold on power, con­tin­ues to op­pose all pipeline con­struc­tion, dis­miss­ing it as a sign of Canada turn­ing away from a low-car­bon econ­omy.

It doesn’t mat­ter Al­ber­tans are pay­ing car­bon taxes.

It doesn’t mat­ter how hard in­dus­try works to re­duce its car­bon emis­sions and min­i­mize its im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

It doesn’t mat­ter how many safe­guards Kin­der Mor­gan takes to pre­vent spills — and if there is a spill, that the re­sponse is prompt and ef­fec­tive.

It doesn’t mat­ter if Trans Moun­tain will aid in the in­dus­try’s even­tual pivot away from fos­sil fu­els.

It doesn’t mat­ter how many First Na­tions have backed the pipeline’s con­struc­tion.

Trans Moun­tain makes a per­fect bo­gey­man for B.C.’s dis­as­trous duo: Hor­gan and Weaver stand­ing hero­ically against a big, bad cor­po­ra­tion ma­jor­ity-owned by big, bad Tex­ans, pro­tect­ing B.C.’s wa­ter­ways from an en­vi­ron­men­tal apoc­a­lypse.

That’s how they’d like to be seen … but it doesn’t take much to see be­neath their shal­low right­eous­ness.

Hor­gan not long ago ap­proved a liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas pipeline and as­so­ci­ated in­fra­struc­ture in north­ern B.C.

Weaver threat­ened to bring down the gov­ern­ment over it but he hasn’t yet. One does not have to think too hard to imag­ine why.

B.C. also con­tin­ues to al­low its cities to dump partly treated, chem­i­cal-laden waste­water as a mat­ter of course — some­thing Al­berta’s two largest cities don’t do, by the way.

Mean­while, the prov­ince is pep­pered with tick­ing time bombs con­sist­ing of tail­ings ponds at mine sites that could be leech­ing tox­ins into rivers and streams.

B.C.’s Franken-gov­ern­ment block­ing pipe­lines to pro­tect its wa­ter­ways? Cry me a pol­luted river.

The po­lit­i­cal cru­sade against Trans Moun­tain is un­bri­dled, un­prin­ci­pled op­por­tunism.

Canada de­serves bet­ter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.