Cana­dian lead­ers avoid po­lit­i­cal cir­cus

The Daily Observer - - OPINION -

Say what you will about Cana­dian pol­i­tics be­ing bor­ing, but at least the PMO’s flak isn’t hid­ing in the bushes. Since U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump took of­fice in Jan­uary, the Wash­ing­ton po­lit­i­cal scene has been get­ting in­creas­ingly crazy.

If the pres­i­dent’s abrupt fir­ing of the FBI di­rec­tor in­ves­ti­gat­ing his cam­paign ties to Rus­sian elec­tion med­dling isn’t in­cred­u­lous enough, the fact that White House press sec­re­tary Sean Spicer avoided me­dia af­ter­wards by hid­ing in shrubs at the White House is just plain bizarre.

Cana­dian pol­i­tics is pos­i­tively mil­que­toast by com­par­i­son.

Yes, we have a weird “I’ll never join you but you can join me” tap dance go­ing on in Al­berta be­tween the two main con­ser­va­tive par­ties. But de­spite some al­leged name­call­ing and bul­ly­ing, both par­ties save most of their vit­riol for the rul­ing NDPs.

There’s also been a few tus­sles be­tween prov­inces over poli­cies -- namely energy and cli­mate -- that get pol­icy wonks and the news me­dia all worked up but few oth­ers. Harsh sound bites are about as ex­treme as it gets.

Pol­i­tics in Bri­tish Columbia has the po­ten­tial to go off the rails with no ma­jor­ity win­ner in this week’s elec­tion. So Al­berta Premier Rachel Not­ley is wisely reach­ing out to the lead­ers of all three par­ties in a bid to “work with B.C. on our shared pri­or­i­ties.”

She un­der­stands that Al­berta’s eco­nomic pros­per­ity is linked to get­ting a pipe­line to tide­wa­ter in B.C. and that won’t oc­cur through blus­tery threats or shady deals.

In­terprovin­cial co-op­er­a­tion will be key to en­sur­ing ev­ery­one ben­e­fits from in­creased re­source rev­enues and jobs. The job of con­vinc­ing Bri­tish Columbians of that will be so much eas­ier if Christy Clark’s Lib­er­als gain a ma­jor­ity af­ter re­counts and ab­sen­tee bal­lots are tal­lied.

But if the NDP gain more seats or the Greens con­tinue to hold the bal­ance of power, Not­ley will have to hope her out­reach now will pay div­i­dends later. The Green Party has pledged to stop the ex­pan­sion of Kinder Mor­gan’s Trans Moun­tain pipe­line, which brings Al­berta bi­tu­men to the coast for ship­ment to Asia. The NDP in B.C. are also anti-pipe­line, so Not­ley has her work cut out for her.

Ob­vi­ously, there will need to be some give and take. But here in Canada, we ex­pect our lead­ers to deal trans­par­ently and in good faith. Strongly held views and po­si­tions are ex­pected, but so is find­ing com­mon ground in a re­spect­ful way.

There’s lit­tle pa­tience for out­siders ma­nip­u­lat­ing out­comes and, so far, no one has felt the need to hide in the bushes if it all falls apart.

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