How much longer do we have to put up with this nonsense?
The Alberta Legislature has been in session for eight days and the UCP is using Question Period to test-drive political slogans.
Ms Soapbox’s personal favourite is the UCP’s claim: “We lead, they follow”.
The UCP’s “lead” translates into something you’d hear from an unimaginative cheer leading squad: “Go Alberta, Fight! Fight! Fight!
The UCP wants the NDP to follow its “lead”, particularly with respect to pipelines. It wants Premier Notley and her ministers to:
- insult and threaten the federal government and other provinces. And this is effective, how?
- punish Burnaby for delaying the Trans Mountain pipeline by convincing Telus to move to Alberta. Telus opened its global headquarters in Vancouver (not Burnaby) in 2015. It’s a $750 million LEED platinum standard building. Any CEO who sauntered into a board room and said: “Guys, let’s blow this pop stand and move to Alberta” would be fired on the spot. But hey, Brad Wall tried it so it’s got to be a good idea, right?
- retaliate against BC by putting tariffs on Alberta’s interprovincial exports. This would have the same impact as an unexpected tax hike, reducing expected returns for Alberta producers and creating unnecessary uncertainty. It would also violate the New West Partnership Trade Agreement between BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba which created the largest, barrier-free interprovincial market in Canada. Nice move UCP.
- sue the feds, sue BC, sue somebody, anybody over pipeline delays or cancellations. It’s unclear what the UCP wants to do other than hire a flotilla of lawyers to start a bunch of law suits that would cost a fortune and drag on for years, however this didn’t stop the UCP from trying to take the credit when Alberta intervened in support of Trans Mountain’s application asking the NEB for a constitutional ruling on whether Burnaby could delay construction at the Burnaby and Westridge Marine terminals. The intervention involves the doctrines of interjurisdictional immunity and paramountcy. It’s a little presumptuous to assume the government was not planning to intervene simply because it didn’t do so immediately.
- take an aggressive stance on renegotiating equalization when it expires in 2019. This is a tad ironic given that the GDP growth rate rule which was introduced under the Harper/Kenney “lead” in 2009 will give Ontario an additional $360 million and Quebec an additional $215 million than they would otherwise receive.* Frankly, anything the Notley government does on this file will be an improvement.
Ms Soapbox and about 10 other people across the province are keen Question Period observers.
We know QP is adversarial: the Opposition will fly into high dudgeon and play “gotcha”, the government will spar with the Opposition, correct “misstatements” and make speeches. We get that, but we do expect a bit more substance from the UCP than we’ve seen to date.
The expression “we lead, they follow” may be a cute political slogan, but as a UCP Opposition tactic it’s coming across as “we have a tantrum, they press on”.
*Hansard, Nov 8, 2017, p 1823