At a recent town hall meeting Mr Trudeau reiterated his position on climate change. He said:
“You can’t make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy. We can’t shut down the oilsands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off our dependence on fossil fuels. That is going to take time, and in the meantime, we have to manage that transition.”
Alberta’s conservatives went ballistic.
Mr Jean tweeted: @Justin Trudeau, if you want to “phase out” the oilsands. You’ll have to go through me and 4 million Albertans first.
Mr McIver tweeted: Justin Trudeau you just threw Alberta under the bus today. How dare you shut down an industry providing 1000’s of jobs for families.
Mr Jean’s “you and whose army” response and Mr McIver’s righteous indignation were a little over the top but the most bizarre response came from Jason Kenney.
Mr Kenney reacts
In a recent radio interview Mr Kenney said:
- Justin Trudeau was Pierre Trudeau’s son (true, but irrelevant unless this is a “sins of the father” tactic) and Pierre Trudeau “single-handedly shut down the western Canadian oil and gas industry with the National Energy Program (partially true, but irrelevant because Justin Trudeau did not say he was introducing NEP 2.0)
- This prime minister, Justin Trudeau, rolled over and played dead when Barack Obama vetoed Keystone XL. (Not true, Obama vetoed Keystone XL on Feb 24, 2015, Trudeau was elected on Oct 19, 2015, so the prime minister who rolled over and played dead was Stephen Harper, not Justin Trudeau).
- Trudeau vetoed Northern Gateway (true, but let’s give him a little credit for approving Kinder Morgan and Line 3) and is introducing a carbon tax (true) that’s going to make life more expensive for Canadians (not necessarily true, the feds will recognize provincial carbon taxation programs, two thirds of Albertans will get a full or partial rebate and BC’s carbon tax is revenue neutral).
- When Trudeau talks about phasing out this multi-trillion dollar asset that can help us pay for future healthcare and education infrastructure and pensions, what he’s really talking about is letting the future global demand for oil be filled completely by theocracies, kleptocracies and dictatorships like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Qatar. (Not true, Trudeau said nothing about letting the future global demand be filled by theocracies, kleptocracies, dictatorships, or even that looney country south of us).
- I for one would prefer that Canadian oil be in the mix in the global market rather than leaving it all to the bad actors who are the other major producers of oil. (Agreed).
Mr Kenney was asked whether Stephen Harper said “anything that sounded like at some point that Canada will phase out of fossil fuel production”.
His answer was no. No?
Mr Kenney explained that when Mr Harper signed the Munich G7 Agreement in June 2015 it was simply “a completely symbolic aspirational statement” to be carbon free by 2100. Ah, Mr Harper’s commitment to a carbon free future was NOT a commitment to a carbon free future notwithstanding what he told the G7 in Munich.
Rachel Notley’s response
Mr Kenney was singularly unimpressed with Ms Notley’s response to Mr Trudeau’s comments.
He said her video statement was not the right because what she really said was “there’s nothing to be worried about here, everyone please look away” and she failed to demonstrate Alberta’s traditional leadership which was a “tradition of strength”.
My goodness. What did Ms Notley say that was so deeply disappointing to Mr Kenney?
In her video she said:
“Oil and gas will help power the global economy for generations to come and our job is to make sure that Alberta’s product is the first in line. That’s why we’re working with industry to position Alberta as a global energy leader, the most progressive and sustainable producer of oil and gas anywhere in the world. And you know what, it’s working, just recently we secured approval for a new pipeline, something former conservative governments could never get done. The bottom line: Alberta’s oil and gas industry and the people who work in it are the best in the world and we’re not going anywhere anytime soon.
She elaborated on these comments in a CBC interview where she said:
“At the end of the day this is what I know to be true…the world market for oil is not going anywhere soon, and so the job of Albertans and Canadians is to make sure that that world market looks to the oilsands, as they should, as the first choice for where they get that product from and the reason is because we’ve been so successful working with industry putting in place significant environmental improvements, working hard with industry to help them reduce their emissions footprint so we truly are the most progressive and sustainable producers of oil and gas in the world.”
Nothing in Ms Notley’s response contradicts Mr Kenney’s desire that Canadian oil be part of the mix in the global market.
So what’s not to like about Ms Notley’s response?
I’m betting it’s Ms Notley’s observation that Alberta has recently secured approval for a pipeline which was “something former conservative governments could never get done”.
Albertans and Canadians may want to take that on board when they’re asked to chose between quiet diplomacy that gets results and throwing one’s toys out of the pram which does not.