Kenney needs to cut a deal with the devil — Trudeau
The quicker Premier Jason Kenney drops his Pan-canadian rhetoric the better for Alberta.
He seems desperate to be a national statesman, a role that’ll ultimately end in bitter disappointment for him and our province.
His latest invocation to some mythical national ideal came when he lambasted big-mouthed Bloc Quebecois Leader, Yves-françois Blanchet and that silly Green meanie, Elizabeth May, after the pair took turns kicking Alberta by declaring oil is dead. Kenney called them un-canadian for their smarmy comments during a global pandemic.
Of course, those two would be as thick as the sewage their respective home provinces pour untreated into the St. Lawrence River and the Pacific Ocean if they believed their own blatherings.
Look, the world is awash in oil. There are more fullto-the-brim tankers sitting idle than ever before. The folk in Singapore must think they’re facing invasion, given the number of stationary big ships on their horizon.
But because it’s so cheap doesn’t signal oil’s death knell.
What it does mean is future paralysis in the alternative energy movement. The world will only turn to cleaner fuels when they closely match the price of oil. At 75 cents a litre? Poof: we’ll merrily keep filling that tank. Premium? Yes, indeed.
It’s doubtful Blanchet and May will give this a passing thought. Facts, economics and reality have little to do with political life; so pointing out the bleedin’ obvious is wasting time.
The pair were simply playing to their respective peanut galleries. Any potential economic fallout from their chuntering wouldn’t cross their minds. It was grandstanding for their clans: if Alberta happened to be the easy target, so be it.
And, before we get all sanctimonious, let’s remember it wasn’t too long ago Calgary city council voted unanimously to condemn Quebec’s religious symbols law. Did our elected officials stop for a moment to consider French history up and beyond the revolution and the subsequent transplanted cultural mores that make la belle province so egalitarian in matters of religion?
Of course, council didn’t. Here was a looping softball, right over the plate, to be heartedly dispatched in front of Calgary’s own cheering peanut gallery, just as Blanchet and May are doing now.
It’s Canadian politics in the raw. This is a huge county with relatively few provinces when compared, for example, to the United States that make up the political and geographical structure of our southern neighbour.
Provincial differences in geography, economics, culture and history are vast. There’s no one size fits all. Therefore, Ottawa’s job is brokering deals between these endlessly wailing want-mores.
So did Kenney actually believe sending a bunch of face masks and such to Quebec and Ontario during this pandemic could negate that age-old truth of Canadian Confederation?
Therefore, deep-six this would-be statesmanship guff. Instead, get down in the mud, like everyone else.
Here’s pure politics. Justin Trudeau has delayed direct help for the energy industry for a month (this recent convoluted big company loan plan certainly isn’t it) despite appearing like a runaway Santa Claus each day, showering borrowed cash on everyone else.
Why? Because certain groups are adamantly opposed, while the Grits haven’t a single Alberta seat.
But the Liberals know jettisoning oil and gas is fatal to the long-term health of this country. You don’t rule for so long if you’re stupid.
They just can’t say so. So Kenney should propose Alberta shutter 25 per cent of its oil production during 2020, in return for $20 billion from Ottawa this financial year. Nobody knows what 2021 will hold, so we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
Voila, the Greens and separatists are giddy; Alberta balances this year’s brutal budget; Trudeau becomes the toast of the United Nations; while a bemused energy industry shrugs and says
(oh, so quietly), “Actually, we were shuttering 30 per cent, anyhow. Otherwise, we’d go bust.”
That’s how the game’s played. So Jason, stop trying to be Churchill. Do a deal with the devil instead. This is Canada, after all.
Chris Nelson is a regular columnist for the Calgary Herald.