Published On: Tuesday, 21 May 2019

OPINION: Alberta Is Angry With British Columbia, And It’s Going To Cost This Province

By Mark MacDonald

Jason Kenney is the new Premier in Alberta, and things are about to get very interesting here in British Columbia.

When BC Premier John Horgan decided to placate the Green contingent propping up his NDP government by clogging up the expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline through the courts, it strained relations with Alberta, then being run by media darling, the NDP’s Rachel Notley. It was interesting but predictable that an NDP-NDP feud would result in nothing substantial in terms of change. The Notley government introduced legislation that could allow Alberta to restrict the flow of tar sands product to their western neighbors, but it was not implemented.

The United Conservative Party’s Kenney promised repeatedly to do exactly that, and it is almost certain he will.

To which Horgan has signaled that BC will protest via the courts, under the premise that doing that is unconstitutional.

So let’s summarize: Horgan’s NDP has used the courts to stop any increased flow of oil to BC. Now he’s threatening to use the courts to stop Alberta’s possible decrease in the flow of oil to BC

Talk about hypocrisy – all the while Horgan’s political schemes are paid for by taxpayers covering the cost of lawyers involved in the debacle.

And the price of gas goes through the roof in BC, with more increases on the horizon. For the record, the carbon tax – which now goes into general revenues – hits not just consumers at the pumps, but it will eventually manifest itself in price hikes for anything and everything that needs to be transported from Point A to Point B. The cost of fuel will be covered by consumers, as always. So much for making BC “more affordable”.

If anyone is failing to understand the strong sense of anger that Albertans now have towards BC for their obstructionism, and Trudeau II’s all-out assault on the province’s energy sector, they’re not paying attention.

Albertans are outraged. The smoldering embers of Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Plan that kneecapped the province’s economy instantly in the early 1980’s have been fanned into a blaze by Justin Trudeau’s ambiguous waffling on building a pipeline, therefore keeping Alberta’s resources from reaching either coast for export to non-U.S. markets.

It is crippling Alberta, and Kenney has saddled up his entourage to do something about it. And they will.

Remember “The West Wants In” chants of decades ago, as westerners decried Ottawa’s negligence of the prairie provinces that led to the foundation of the Reform Party, which became the Canadian Alliance and ultimately a merger partner in the Conservative Party of Canada?

Now you’re hearing the vocalization of separation from Canada if Alberta continues to be stymied in its attempts to get its product to market. They are real. Just think of that for a minute. While portions of Quebec have repeatedly pushed for separatism, one could scarcely believe that Alberta would be the province making the most noise about leaving Confederation.

Yes, Albertans are mad. And the rest of Canada better start paying attention.

What options are available for Kenney, who has already been rebuffed by Trudeau and the Premiers of BC and Quebec? Crimp the delivery hose to BC, which will drive the cost of gas even higher than the record levels now seen?

What about the Keystone Pipeline, which U.S. President Donald Trump has recently green-lighted. When former President Barack Obama repeatedly blocked the Keystone project, former Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated publicly that it wasn’t a question of whether the Keystone would be built, but when. It had/has to be built, and it will.

That is one option, although it only provides better access to one market - the U.S. – which already enjoys a 35 per cent discount on Canadian supply.

The other is a united First Nations push to build the pipeline, which could prove to be the positive deal maker in making it become reality.

Religious fervor has so gripped the climate crowd that any reasonable question of their tactics or government-paid-for facts is immediately and forcefully publicly shamed, and those asking the question are labeled as “deniers”. National columnist Rex Murphy has somehow escaped the wrath of climateers, even as he continues to question the zeal and methods of the theory’s proponents.

Flooding in Eastern Canada? The media is quick to conclude this is, again, a by-product of global warming, conveniently forgetting to mention that spring flooding is often the direct result of a larger than normal snow pack that melts and runs into tributaries and rivers.

And while this goes on, California, hundreds of miles to the south, has “officially” come out of its years-long drought. Reservoirs that had reached perilously low levels are now almost at full capacity, and important ground water tables have been replenished, alleviating concerns that siphoning of underground water could lead to a collapse of the land above.

None of this matters to U.S. funded organizations and our own governments who have demonized the Alberta oil industry, and use their narrative to add the resource to the list of other “sin taxes” like tobacco and alcohol.

Kenney says Alberta will fight back, and his record as a federal cabinet minister suggests he keeps his promises. Suffice it to say that Albertans have had enough, and they’re not going to take it anymore.

It will be more than interesting – and expensive – to see how this all plays out.