Ken­ney needs to cut a deal with the devil — Trudeau

Calgary Herald - - OPINION - CHRIS NEL­SON

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.