Kenney is filling the void left by Trudeau
Premier manages foreign policy, economy
It took a crisis — COVID-19 — to reveal that many Canadian premiers and American governors are dramatically better leaders than either country’s current federal incumbents.
In Canada, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stands out not only for managing the pandemic well, but also for filling the foreign policy and economic vacuum left by Canada’s hapless prime minister, who has spent far too much time and energy pursuing a useless United Nations Security Council seat, at the expense of our national interests. By contrast, Premier Kenney has been proactively doing what good foreign policy dictates: unequivocally condemning China for its misdeeds and proposing that Canada distance itself from Beijing, while pursuing deeper integration with the United States in manufacturing, medical equipment and energy. He has also been making the rounds in Washington to protect our economic interests.
“The irresponsible actions of Russia and Saudi (Arabia) clearly have been trying to permanently impair the North American energy industry and one of my goals has been to remind folks in Washington that Canada is part of the solution and not the problem,” he said in an exclusive interview with the National Post. “I spoke with the U.S. energy secretary, Congress, Senate and House energy committees, and leading energy business leaders to advocate for a co-ordinated approach away from allowing OPEC to dump its dictator oil here.”
Discussions there ranged from a “co-ordinated Canada-u.s. tariff on foreign imports, that might exclude Mexico,” to “some kind of a co-ordinated (bilateral) price until OPEC+ agreed to reduce production,” said Kenney. He said that there was significant interest in these ideas, and congressional sources have told me that the idea of imposing common tariffs on foreign oil is gaining traction.
(In 2019, Canada exported four million barrels a day to the U.S. and was more than capable of helping replace the two million barrels that America imported from OPEC countries that year.)
“Energy independence would be a huge achievement and the U.S. has spent trillions of dollars defending Persian Gulf countries to protect their energy supplies, and independence would mean that was no longer necessary,” Kenney added.
Kenney is working with some of his American counterparts to impede “collateral threats from U.S. politics,” such as efforts to kill the Keystone XL pipeline (which Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has endorsed), as well as NGOS on both sides of the border that are devoted to closing pipelines.
“Everywhere we turn, there are U.S. efforts to block Canadian energy,” he said. “We hope to work with his (Biden’s) transition team to ensure he’s aware of all of the facts.”
The facts regarding Keystone are that the State Department concluded twice during former president Barack Obama’s tenure that
Keystone would reduce overall emissions by eliminating contaminated crude from elsewhere, that Gulf Coast refineries need Canada’s heavy crude to operate and that all governors along the route support it, Kenney added.
“We want to reach out to allies such as key Democratic stakeholders, teamsters, construction workers, industry leaders,” he said. “The Canadian federal government needs to play a role to make it clear that any U.S. administration retroactively cancelling this pipeline would damage us.”
“The federal government understands the importance of trade with the U.S., but, obviously, we’re concerned that there are people in the federal government who see this huge export industry as being a problem rather than great benefit,” he said. “We are increasing our own presence, opening a trade office in Houston, and potentially having a presence in New York and the Bay area.”
He also criticized the “hypocrisy” of oil-soaked Norway, whose gigantic heritage fund dumped its oilsands stocks recently: “Its boycott of Canadian oil is based on outdated and inaccurate emissions figures, and it continues to invest in some of the worst regimes on earth in respect to human, labour and women’s rights.”
Back home, Kenney is working on getting a “fair deal” from Ottawa, hoping to put an end to energy policy sabotage, meddling and unjust equalization payments. The Fair Deal Panel’s public consultations have been completed and will soon be turned into a list of demands.
Fortunately, Alberta’s premier is also fulfilling the role of a prime minister by strengthening alliances and protecting the country’s reputation and its economy from our rivals.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has condemned China and pursued deeper integration with the U.S. in manufacturing while aiming to protect our economic interests.