Singh not ready for prime time

Edmonton Sun - - COMMENT -

A cou­ple of state­ments this week by Jag­meet Singh in­di­cate the na­tional NDP leader has very lit­tle real grasp on en­ergy or en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

Of course, Singh be­lieves all the fash­ion­able things. He’s in love with the idea of a car­bon-free econ­omy and con­vinced al­ter­nate en­ergy can eas­ily re­place fos­sil fuels (all that’s miss­ing is bil­lions in your tax dol­lars and ours). And, if gov­ern­ment were merely given a big­ger role in di­rect­ing the econ­omy, Canada would soon be­come a “green” nir­vana.

At mid-week, Singh told CBC he had a so­lu­tion to the Lib­er­als’ Saudi prob­lem – just im­port more oil from some other coun­try.

Well, isn’t that a clever idea.

What’s wrong with Cana­dian oil?

We have the third­largest proven oil reserves in the world, be­hind only the Saudis and the Venezue­lans. We have more than enough oil to be self­suf­fi­cient, to re­place all 700,000 to 800,000 bar­rels a day we im­port from other na­tions.

All we need is some way (like a cou­ple of pipe­lines) to get our oil to those parts of the coun­try that are dependent on the for­eign stuff.

But Singh is op­posed to pipe­lines be­cause they con­trib­ute to cli­mate change.

Huh!? He’s not okay with pipe­lines or Cana­dian oil, but he is okay with more for­eign oil – even, pre­sum­ably, for­eign oil from coun­tries with poor hu­man rights or en­vi­ron­men­tal records.

No to Cana­dian jobs. No to Cana­dian small busi­nesses. Yes to sup­port­ing, say, the Nige­rian regime with its wide­spread cor­rup­tion and its record of ar­bi­trary ar­rests, tor­ture, death squads and dis­ap­pear­ances of op­po­si­tion politi­cians.

How, on earth, does that make any sense?

Then on Thurs­day, af­ter an­nounc­ing he would run in a by­elec­tion in Burn­aby South when one is called, Singh told the news­pa­per Burn­aby Now that he was op­posed to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment buying the Trans Moun­tain pipe­line.

Okay, no big­gie. We’re op­posed to the feds buying up Kin­der Mor­gan’s Cana­dian op­er­a­tions, too. If Ot­tawa had just got­ten tough with the B.C. pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and stopped its ob­struc­tion­ism, the com­pany would have built the pipe­line with­out any tax­payer help.

But that wasn’t Singh’s rea­son­ing. Singh said the fed­eral gov­ern­ment doesn’t need to be “spend­ing pub­lic dol­lars on a 65-year-old leaky pipe­line.” Leaky!?

The NDP boss can say what he wants about the wis­dom of gov­ern­ments buying pipe­lines, but call­ing Trans Moun­tain leaky is sim­ply mis­in­formed – shock­ingly mis­in­formed for the leader of a na­tional party. Trans Moun­tain has been ship­ping nearly 300,000 bar­rels a day of Alberta oil to the West Coast with­out ma­jor in­ci­dent since 1953. Leaky, it ain’t. What Singh re­ally be­lieves is that Trans Moun­tain isn’t needed. What is needed, is bil­lions of dol­lars in pub­lic spend­ing on re­new­able en­ergy. But that ap­proach has been tried in Europe (nearly $300 bil­lion) and On­tario (over $50 bil­lion) with­out pro­duc­ing the eco­nomic spinoffs, the jobs or the en­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits sup­port­ers had pre­dicted.

What makes Singh think things would be dif­fer­ent if he were in charge?

Singh re­marks are proof he’s not ready for prime time.

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