Huffing and Puffing “Leadership”

Last week BC Premier John Horgan said BC would ban any increase in shipments of diluted bitumen (dilbit) to BC until a scientific advisory panel determined whether shippers can adequately prevent and clean up dilbit spills.  If the panel decides this isn’t possible, the ban on increased dilbit shipments will become permanent.

This announcement gave our politicians a chance to show us what they’re made of.

Before we examine how Jason Kenney responded, let’s see what the grownups said.

Enough is enough

For Rachel Notley this was the last straw.

She issued a sharp warning–any action to limit the increased flow of dilbit into BC through Trans Mountain was illegal and unconstitutional.  She confirmed her government is developing a legal strategy to respond to BC’s actions and called upon Prime Minister Trudeau to make it crystal clear to BC that only the federal government has the power to decide what goes into interprovincial pipelines.


Premier Notley

She underlined her displeasure by suspending negotiations with BC to purchase electricity, the loss of this deal could cost BC up to $500 million/year and alluded to further trade repercussions.

Horgan tried to mollify Notley by saying he was simply embarking on a “consultation” which could take one to two years.  This just makes things worse because, as Notley pointed out, ongoing regulatory uncertainty is corrosive to business investment.

Come on! Really?

Trudeau stepped up his defence of Alberta’s position by telling 1,700 noisy people, including many belligerent anti-pipeline hecklers, at a town hall meeting in Nanaimo that “It is in the national interest to move forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline, and we will be moving forward with the Kinder Morgan pipeline.”

When the prime minister of Canada invokes the phrase “national interest” and says the pipeline “will” be built he’s telling BC to back down.    

Horgan responded that BC is an equal partner in Confederation (yes, equal with the other provinces, not necessarily with the federal government) and it won’t be subservient (fine, it might not be subservient to Alberta, but that doesn’t mean it’s not subservient to Canada).

The mature response

Notley fired a shot across BC’s bow warning Horgan not to push his luck.  Trudeau declared his unequivocal support for Alberta in front of an unruly crowd of BC residents.  Both politicians proved they have what it takes to address BC’s position.

And they’ve kept their powder dry.  They’ve done nothing to impair their ability to take this issue to the courts if necessary.

Which brings us to Jason Kenney who’s as inept as John Horgan when it comes to the pipeline debate.

Bad Notley, bad Trudeau

To be fair, it’s a hard for Kenney as the UCP Opposition leader to have any impact whatsoever.  It’s not as if anyone who counts is listening to him.

So, he pitches his comments to his base.

Unfortunately, his comments demonstrate an appalling lack of understanding of the business/legal environment in which Notley and Trudeau operate.


UCP Opposition Leader Jason Kenney

Kenney argues Notley should have taken a harder line with BC.  He wants Alberta to cut off oil flowing to BC so “BC consumers can see what sky-high gas prices look like”.

Not only is this naïve (the backlash would be directed against Alberta, not Horgan’s government), it creates problems under the New West Partnership Agreement which prohibits provinces from impairing their trade relationships, and most importantly, it hurts Alberta producers and shippers by forcing them to violate energy contracts and pipeline transportation agreements.

Kenney professes to support the free market, but his “cut off the oil” solution is the antithesis of allowing the market to operate free from government interference.

Kenney tried to take credit for Notley’s decision to suspend the electricity negotiations, but unlike Notley who suspended negotiations on a potential trade deal with BC, Kenney’s “solution” impacted the existing trade relationship between the two provinces which creates problems under the New West Partnership Agreement.

When all else fails Kenney, like Trump, reverts to conspiracy theories.

Kenney suggests that Notley and Trudeau don’t really want the Trans Mountain pipeline to go ahead.  Apparently when Notley says the BC government “doesn’t have the right to re-write our constitution and assume powers for itself that it does not have” what she really means is “Well done, John, let’s rip up the constitution”.

Apparently when Trudeau ejects anti-pipeline protesters from town hall meetings he’s really telling them he’s on their side.

Kenney’s conspiracy theory explanations may go down well with his supporters who want to cede from Canada and join the USA, but most Albertans are too intelligent to swallow this hogwash.

Leaders and that other guy  

We need leaders like Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau who know how to work collaboratively with their provincial and federal counterparts but are prepared to ratchet up the pressure when it becomes necessary.

We don’t need leaders who try to solve difficult problems with ill-considered, half baked, “we’ll show them” solutions.

Some leaders know how to lead.  Others take cheap shots and talk big in memes.

Huffing and puffing can be entertaining but it’s no substitute for leadership.

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93 Responses to Huffing and Puffing “Leadership”

  1. E Davison says:

    Hi Susan,
    New UCP civility exactly like old UCP civility…no civility. Hey what happened to the poster child of tough conservative the Saskatchewan Party supporting Alberta’s stance. Probably won’t be on Jason Kenney Christmas card list.

    • Indeed, if anything illustrates the difference between a mature conservative politician and one prone to histrionics it’s the contrast between Saskatchewan’s Premier-Designate Scott Moe’s unqualified support of Notley’s response to Horgan while Kenney continues to tear her down.

  2. Brent McFadyen says:

    Another thoughtful blog with an adult in the room . Thank you so much for your sanity.

  3. mikepriaro says:

    “…I think Prime Minister Trudeau should be looking for a Plan B. I don’t think this pipeline is going to get built and I think this has to be something being considered both in Ottawa and in Alberta.”

    “…polling across British Columbia shows there is deep, deep anger. You saw the prime minister in Nanaimo the other day basically get booed out of a town hall just because of this issue. The opposition to this pipeline is deep, especially in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island,”

    “Polling shows that many, many thousands of British Columbians are willing to engage in civil disobedience to stop this pipeline, and I think, unfortunately, if the natural resources minister does threaten to use the army and does threaten to use police to push this pipeline through our province, I think that’s where this is going to go.”

    “If people choose for their own reasons not to be peaceful, then the government of Canada, through its defence forces, through its police forces, will ensure that people will be kept safe,” he (Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr) said to applause from the room of oil industry representatives during a speech on Thursday (Dec. 1, 2016).

    Which country do you want to live in?

    Kennedy Stewart’s where the people have the say?

    Or Jim Carr’s where the army, the police, and oil companies have the say?

    • Mike, I don’t see this as a choice between living in a country where people (ie. some but not all of the population of BC) have the say or the federal government supported by the military have the say (assuming Carr actually meant he’d use the military to attack protesters as opposed to protecting oil company workers).
      I see this as a discussion of civil disobedience and the rule of law.
      Civil disobedience is used to protest an unjust law. What makes a law just or unjust? Martin Luther King addressed that question in his letter from Birmingham jail. He said a just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law and an unjust law is one that’s out of harmony with the moral law. He gives examples of just and unjust laws. An unjust law is a law that applies to the minority but not the majority (eg segregation laws) or that is inflicted on the minority when the minority had no part in creating it (no blacks were elected to the Alabama legislature which created the segregation law).
      Is the decision of the NEB and federal cabinet to approve Trans Mountain unjust? It was made by a federal regulatory agency that was created by a democratically elected government. By that definition it’s a just law and the government is right to enforce it.
      However an argument could be made that the approval is unjust because any new pipeline regardless of where it is situated accelerates climate change and climate change, if unchecked will destroy all life on the planet.
      I’m not persuaded by the oppression of the minority by the majority argument (because the decision is the result of a democratic process) but I could be persuaded by the immoral law argument (climate change).
      Here’s the link to MLK’s letter

      • jerrymacgp says:

        Unfortunately, there is a segment of society, perhaps a minority across the country but, I suspect, heavily clustered in the B.C. Lower Mainland and out on Vancouver Island, which is unalterably and admantly opposed to any pipeline carrying any fossil fuel from anywhere to anywhere, full stop, and who will take any action necessary, lawful or not, to stop it. I think the only solution is to give up on any pipelines reaching tidewater anywhere in southern B.C., and instead look seriously at the Port of Prince Rupert as a potential Pacific terminus.

      • Jerry a number of polls have been conducted on this issue. Some show the majority (even in BC) support pipelines, others show the opposite. Here’s a link
        I don’t know much about the Port of Prince Rupert, does it have attributes that would allay the concern about spills? If so that might satisfy some protesters, leaving only those who as you rightly put it are “unalterably and adamantly opposed to any pipeline carrying any fossil fuel from anywhere to anywhere, full stop”.

      • mikepriaro says:

        jerrymacgp (below) you hit the nail on the head!

        Plan B is Prince Rupert!

      • mikepriaro says:

        I disagree that, in regard to the decision of the NEB and federal cabinet to approve Trans Mountain expansion “It was made by a federal regulatory agency that was created by a democratically elected government. By that definition it’s a just law and the government is right to enforce it.”

        There was not adequate consultation at every step of the process, literally thousands were not allowed to testify or submit evidence, or respect shown for First Nations rights which the Supreme Court is upholding with almost every decision.
        By such considerations the NEB’s approval of Northern Gateway was not lawful as was shown by the Supreme Court’s reversal of the NEB’s approval in that case – and it is likely the Federal Court of Appeal’s pending decision will overturn the NEB’s Trans Mountain approval on the same grounds.

      • Mike, the courts overturn criminal, civil and regulatory decisions every day, that doesn’t make the lower court’s decision unlawful, it simply means the law was not properly applied in the circumstances. When the Federal Court of Appeal in a 2-1 decision overturned the NEB’s approval of Northern Gateway it said the Aboriginal groups generally availed themselves of the Joint Review Panel hearings, submitting both oral and written testimony to the NEB but the Crown failed to consult with the Aboriginal groups after the release of the Joint Review Panel’s report “on any project-related concerns that were outside of the Joint Review Panel’s mandate.” The Crown failed to adequately consult as required by law, consequently the regulatory process was incomplete and the NEB approval was quashed. The Court said the Crown could reconsider the submissions already on record or redo Aboriginal consultation to properly complete the process and then send it back to the Federal Cabinet for consideration. The fact the Court quashed the decision doesn’t mean the law was unjust, just that it was improperly followed by the Crown (it noted that Enbridge did engage in proper consultation).
        As Colleen points out, Aboriginal groups, environmental groups and the municipality of Burnaby are challenging the Trans Mountain approval. We’ll soon learn whether the applicant and the Crown followed the proper process and the NEB considered the proper evidence.

      • Colleen Fuller says:

        A majority of British Columbians oppose the expansion of the K-M pipeline. But I agree that the minority have rights, too – how could I not? But this leads to one important point that has to be addressed as a central, not a side issue and that is the rights of Indigenous people whose land the pipeline will cross or whose land and waters will be threatened. Unlike Alberta, this is a Constitutional issue in BC because very few treaties were signed between Europeans and First Nations. That’s why the Supreme Court has upheld the claims of First Nations in every single court challenge. That’s why there is a very strong sentiment here that the pipeline is never going to make it to the coast, regardless of what the Government of Alberta or of Canada say. If it’s a Constitutional issue, as Premier Notley says, then let’s hear what the SC has to say about it. Bring it on, I say. But I think Ms Notley should focus on the potential $2 trillion clean up of the tar sands that the industry is leaving as a gift to the people of Alberta.

      • Actually Colleen I think it’s a constitutional issue for the federal government in addition to a constitutional issue for BC. Trudeau could do everyone a favour by referring the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada. That would put an end to the escalation of ill will between Alberta and BC. (One AB restaurant took BC wines off the menu). Good lord, my parents and all my siblings and their families live in BC, the last thing I’m going to do is get into a Hatfield and McCoy feud with them over this issue.
        I agree our government needs to put a plan in place to ensure the oil companies can’t bail on their responsibility to clean up the tar sands.
        And thanks for the National Observer article. I’m not convinced that adding another scientific panel outside the NEB process is the answer. I would prefer to see the NEB have access to its own independent scientists who can review the applicant’s submissions and the intervenors’ submissions and advise the NEB accordingly. Perhaps I have more faith in the neutrality of the NEB (I’ve worked for NEB regulated gas pipeline companies and learned that even a yes can kill a project if it’s subject to enough conditions).

      • Carlos Beca says:

        ‘Unjust law is one that is out of harmony with the moral law.’ – I agree with this definition and I ask – is this law in harmony with the moral law?
        Not in my opinion and so it is unjust to me.
        I do not think for a second that we have the right to force the building of this pipeline down the throats of British Columbians and all the First Nations in the region. It is not morally correct to do that. The consequences of more oil tankers and the possible destruction of the amazing environment we have in the West Coast is to me more than obvious.
        Furthermore the only reason why Alberta wants to increase production is because our royalties are so pathetic that we have to produce more and more to get the revenues we need. This is a vicious cycle and one just has to check around the world to see the consequences of this non-stop greed for more and more. Soon they will decrease taxes even more and then we need more production to compensate for the taxes. This is all lunacy in my opinion and it is time that we look at this situation with human hearts rather than greed and out of control desire for more and more. We have to get off the permanent growth bandwagon if we want to survive and have a more meaningful life. We already consume in Canada 10 times more than the average human being and we continue dealing with poverty and homelessness only because we cannot get our minds off the treadmill of more is best. We have now almost tripled our GDP since the 1970s and still we have not been able to resolve any of the social issues we have had for decades. 82% of the GDP growth went to the 1% and the rest of us have to continue our hamster marathon to paradise.
        It is time we start thinking rather than imitating. The system is spiraling to a black hole. What are we waiting for?
        Yes we need to make a controlled transition but let us not delay it one more time under the excuse we do not have enough. YES we do have enough if it is well distributed.
        This pipeline serves no one but the Oil companies and they love to see us confused.
        By the way it is not criminal to just change our mind set for a little while and find new paths. The NDP is supposed to be a Progressive party not Regressive. We have enough regressive parties in this province.

  4. J.E. Molnar says:

    Jason Kenney’s demagoguery has attained a new level of heightened absurdity. Demagoguery is associated with dictators and sleazy politicians that attempt to appeal to the worst nature in people. Bluster and bombast is now a reoccurring part of the UCP playbook — much the same way it was with the Wildrose Party.

    • J.E. It’s only a matter of time before Jason Kenny says any news story supporting a Notley policy is “fake news”. His supporters are on record accusing Andrew Leach and Trevor Tombe, both apolitical academics of being NDP shills. Sad.

      • J.E. Molnar says:

        I agree Ms Soapbox. And when it comes to shills, Postmedia scribes are standing on their heads to do Jason Kenney’s bidding. A flurry of recent articles over at the Sun properties have been so obsequious and servile I thought I was reading UCP campaign literature, instead of columns. Now that’s truly sad.

  5. Colleen Fuller says:

    Hi Susan, You forgot to mention the several other challenges to K-M that are headed to the Supreme Court:

    These likely will have a greater influence on decisions regarding the Constitution and K-M than Rachel Notley.

    Love your columns – but disagree with you on the pipeline issue. Like a majority of British Columbians I’m totally opposed to the tripling of the pipeline.

    Best regards,

    Colleen Fuller Vancouver Canada

    I respectfully and gratefully acknowledge that I live and work on unceded Coast Salish Territory; the traditional lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations and Kwikwetlem (kʷikʷəƛ̓əm) Nations.


    • You’re right Colleen, I was focusing on the comments made by Notley, Trudeau, Horgan and Kenney (who sniped from the sidelines). I didn’t focus on this case which appears to argue that the process was flawed because there was insufficient Crown engagement with the Squamish Nation and inadequate (or no) consideration given to the risk posed to human health and marine life as a result of increased shipping traffic. It will be interesting to see how the court resolves it.
      I appreciate your comments Colleen, reasonable people sometimes disagree and that’s fine too. 🙂

  6. Sam Gunsch says:

    FWIW… Constitutional musings by an academic today in G&M. BC may have a new leg to stand on given the BC SCourt decision on Northern Gateway. And CBC radio has interviewed 2 other academics who refused to rule out BC possibly having shared jurisdiction.

    excerpt: Jason MacLean is an assistant professor at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

    excerpt: The constitutional jurisdiction over pipelines is clear all right. Clear as bitumen.

    In a 2016 decision known as Coastal First Nations concerning a similarly controversial project, the Northern Gateway pipeline, the B.C. Supreme Court concluded that while Northern Gateway was interprovincial, it was not national, and it posed risks that would have disproportionately impacted British Columbians. According to the Court, “to disallow any provincial regulation over the project because it engages a federal undertaking would significantly limit the Province’s ability to protect social, cultural and economic interests in its lands and waters.”

    “It would also go against,” the Court added, “the current trend in the jurisprudence favouring, where possible, co-operative federalism.”

    Those two words – where possible – are crucial.

    The real constitutional question here is whether B.C.’s anticipated oil-spill regulations encroach on the core of the federal government’s power to approve interprovincial pipelines such as Trans Mountain.

    And the answer to that by-no-means-clear question will ultimately turn on what B.C.s regulations actually say and do.

    In the meantime, here’s what we know: B.C.’s anticipated regulations will build on existing pipeline and rail transport measures, which were approved last fall absent any constitutional controversy whatsoever. The new regulations will be designed to ensure immediate and geographically specific responses following an oil spill, whether from a pipeline or from the rail or truck transport of oil; maximize the application of regulations to marine spills so as to complement existing federal measures; restrict the increase of diluted bitumen transportation until the behaviour and effects of spilled bitumen can be better understood and managed; and allow for compensation for the loss of public and cultural use of land, resources and public amenities resulting from bitumen spills.

    • Sam, thanks for the link. The author says the proposed regulations could be seen as a prudent extension of existing spill prevention and spill response regulations (which makes sense), where he nails it is in his comment that the real constitutional question is whether these regs encroach on the federal government’s power to approve interprovincial pipelines, ie. are the new oil spill regs a covert attempt to dictate what goes into the pipeline. This is where the role and authority of the scientific advisory panel becomes relevant. This case may end up at the Supreme Court of Canada. Luckily the Supreme Court Act allows the federal cabinet to submit a question about the constitutionality of any federal or provincial legislation and the powers of the federal or provincial government directly to the SCC so the matter could be decided relatively quickly.

  7. Bill Malcolm says:

    Pipelines last 30 years or more.
    Global warming is likely to have had clearly bad consequences by 2048, even to the current deniers and assorted apologizers for oil and fossil fuels.
    Alberta has decided to deny this likelihood given that even an NDP Notley sits astride the tarsands goop charge to a dystopian future.
    The dilbit Alberta exports is not even refined synthetic oil, but diluted tar sludge complete with all sorts of abrasives.
    If Alberta refined the tar further to remove the main contaminants, it would blow its CO2 output budget promises – hence it wants to get rid of the stuff to be refined elsewhere and add to someone elses’s carbon output budget. Out of sight, out of mind, but still adding to the ruinatiojln of Earth – a mere accounting trick.
    Nobody has spilled dilbit in an ocean – yet. Straight crude is bad enough. So is Alberta going to wash its hands of any consequences of a dilbit spill on the BC coast? Or will Notley and Kenney and Trudeau be there with a bucket and shovel to help out, and a six-pack of Dawn to wash down seabirds? If not, why not?
    I’m on the East Coast where Canada is allowing BP of Deepwater Horizon notoriety to drill some extremely deep wells off Nova Scotia. Approved when it would take two weeks for an oil well capping ship to arrive from Norway in the event of a spill. The height of irresponsibility from Trudeau and the NS government, just off the Georges Bank fishing area.

    I’m a 70 year old retired engineer, so will with any luck be pushing up the daisies when catastrophes ruin either our east or west coast. But you Albertan dingbats, struggling to preserve an oil “culture” on an otherwise featureless plain for no reason other than greed, will get your comeuppance even as you sweat under a pitiless sun.

    I’m sorry, I just don’t get Alberta’s position on this. You are willing to strongarm BC on shipping your contaminated muck through their land and home waters, and to you that’s the end of it.

    I presume a newt would be able to see through the idiocy of Notley’s argument. But not human Albertans. This is a sorry state of affairs for Canada. A stupid PM who excoriated Suzuki, and a province populated by people apparently united who tell the province next door that they must accept trans-shipment of poison across their territory because it’s the “law”.

    Time for some rationalizations that actually make sense, because this article does not.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Well said Bill – this is lunacy at its peak and to me Rachel Notley is taking this position because she knows that if she does not, she will be run over by Jason Kenney and his goons. We are now living between oppressive Oil companies push for more free oil and the extreme right wing total control of the propaganda machine and bought out by money interests.
      I say – The heck with all of them.
      And we call this idiotic show – our Democracy.

      • Carlos, just to pick up on your point about the lunacy of Jason Kenney and the UCP, today the Notley government announced two more renewable energy auctions which will build on the successful auction we had last fall that saw four wind developers commit to delivering 600 megawatts of power, attracted $1 billion in investment, created 740 jobs and offered power at an average price of 3.7 cents per kwh which is unbelievably low. The UCP’s reaction was it “remains concerned that the NDP’s policy of investing in unreliable forms of electricity will eventually result in major increases in electricity costs, just as we’re seeing in Ontario.” This is galling–Alberta’s renewable energy auctions are nothing like Ontario’s plan as witnessed by our success and Ontario’s problems. But these guys never let up.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      ‘I’m sorry, I just don’t get Alberta’s position on this. You are willing to strongarm BC on shipping your contaminated muck through their land and home waters, and to you that’s the end of it.’

      Yes Bill and the most amazing revelation about this is that it is not even of great benefit to us because the bulk of the money will be out of the province into the coffers of the Oil Companies faster than the speed of light.
      We have now become the full banana province and even when people show us our own sorry reality we prefer to go fight for our Landlords. We are now the best feudal oil centre in the world. Dingbats is in fact the appropriate word.
      Just wait when they all leave and gift us the tar ponds that they will then call our future lakes.
      Instead of going to Mexico for vacation Albertans should take trips to Ecuador and see with their own eyes what the Oil Companies have left behind.

      • Bill and Carlos, if we’re going to have a reasonable conversation about this we need to listen to each other. Listening doesn’t mean agreeing, it just means hearing what the other guy says. The pro-Horgan people are arguing three threads (1) climate change is bad and this pipeline will make it worse, (2) the impact of a bitumen spill is bad or at least unknown and more scientists need to examine the problem and (3) the NEB process is flawed. My view is (1) people who are serious about addressing climate change need to work hard to get the Greens elected, provincially and nationally. (2) the NEB was satisfied that TM could prevent and mitigate spills. Take a look at the conditions relating to safety and spill risk, for example, the one requiring TM to complete full scale exercises of the worst case spill scenarios before they commence operation and then follow up every 5 years. Why is this condition and the 100 or so other conditions dealing with the environment, marine life, safety, risk, etc not enough? (3) yes the NEB process has been flawed, these flaws are being challenged in the courts as they should be.
        The pro-Notley people say Horgan’s regulations are unconstitutional because only the feds can dictate what goes into an interprovincial pipeline. They want Trudeau to test this premise in the courts. I agree. I see this as being analogous to Alberta deciding genetically modified foods (approved by the feds) pose a health risk and refusing to allow rail cars carrying GM foods to cross into Alberta.
        I’m not saying I want to strongarm BC into taking Alberta’s muck, I’m saying there are many issues here and I prefer to see the constitutional issue resolved in the Supreme Court of Canada.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Not sure why you are saying that Susan because I was just agreeing with Bill on his comments about the Alberta position.
        Was I disrespectful to someone else?
        I do agree with Bill on what he has said about our position. I was not making a comment to anyone else.
        I am confused here.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Susan I fully accept what you are saying about what is going on but I do not agree with you. Just because it is law that BC cannot stop the building of the pipeline, it does not mean that it is morally right. I do think this law to be unjust.
        We have spent the last 3 decades using excuses like this one to continue doing whatever is convenient to us and our financial greed and we do not seem to be able to stop our bad habits unless someone takes the attitude Hogan has taken. I am not saying that he has done it the best way possible but I certainly think that it is the only way we seem to pay attention to reality. The fact of the matter is that the current government of BC elected by its people does not think this pipeline to be a good idea. I personally agree with him and so it seems most of British Columbians. So what I was trying to say is that it is not reasonable for us to force that on them just because it is law. I was not suggesting that you were either but your position is different than mine. You seem to accept the situation in a different way.
        I am not claiming to be right but that is my position. We have enough production in Alberta and this to me is just an unnecessary step to produce more. What for? We have enough money in Alberta for everything we need, we just do not have a good enough distribution or good enough royalties and level of taxation to be able to balance our finances. So why should BC have to put up with oil spills in their territory to accommodate our expansionist attitudes? I personally do not understand that – that is all.

      • You’re right Carlos. I see this as a constitutional law issue, federal powers vs provincial powers. You’re looking at it from a different perspective and that’s fair too. Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate it.

      • Carlos I was reacting to “dingbats” and “newt” and “strong arm”. It’s been a difficult week, I may be more sensitive than usual. Part of my issue here is that if people in Alberta dump Notley because she didn’t “deliver” this pipeline (what more can she do?) we will be stuck with Kenney and that would be horrible.

      • carlosbeca says:

        I fully understand your point about dumping Rachel Notley and I too have that concern.
        I was not intentionally being disrespectful but if I was, this blog is yours and I do respect your decision to ban any of my posts. I am fine with that.
        I am just not going to allow anyone to just shower me with empty propaganda slogans because that is their way to win elections on this very weak system we have. I just will not accept that ever. They have had 3 decades of this garbage. It is over.

      • Carlos, I liked your response to Brian. The reason I responded to him the way I did because people like him think they’ve “won” an argument when all they’ve done is demonstrate their lack of understanding. I don’t ban or block people because we disagree (just look at all the people who don’t agree with me on this particular post), however I do block people whose only argument is “Ms Soapbox, you’re an idiot, a commie, a whatever” because they add absolutely nothing to the discussion.
        PS I must admit I hadn’t thought about “dingbat” being a step up from “communist”…good point 🙂

      • carlosbeca says:

        By the way – we Albertans many times behave like dingbats. I think Bill has a point.
        🙂 🙂 🙂
        In Alberta after being called a communist – dingbat is a step up

  8. Toby says:

    BC residents are rather sensitive about oil spills. We know, for example, that the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska has still not been fully cleaned up and Exxon is refusing to pay. We know about The Dilbit Disaster in Kalamazoo. We know that it would be impossible to clean up a dilbit spill in the waters of BC. Impossible!

    There is a solution to this impasse. Refine the bitumen in Alberta as Premier Lougheed suggested so many years ago. Keep the jobs and the mess in Alberta. Send oil down the pipe, not dilbit.

    • GoinFawr says:

      I think a lot of Albertans would have no problem with your idea Toby, even if it (a refinery) was a state operated enterprise.

      And I’d wager even Kenney would like that (though at first he would likely pretend he didn’t, on ‘principle’) because if Albertans ever made the mistake of electing him premier he could turn around and sell the SOE for pennies on the dollar, possibly giving himself one of those one-time budgetary surpluses he and his ilk are so fond of flashing about as if it illustrates how ‘fiscally responsible’ they are.

      All wild conjecture aside, just trying to say you might be on to something there Toby

      • Toby I’m with GoinFawr on this. Many of us would love to see bitumen refined in Alberta as Peter Lougheed suggested. Sadly there are so many others who prefer to follow that buffoon Ralph Klein and that mega buffoon Jason Kenney who will take Alberta even further backward than King Ralph did.

  9. Dwayne says:

    Susan: All I see is Jason Kenney posteuring. What did he do on the federal level in relation to these issues? Nothing. The UCP is in disarray and is grasping at straws to try and remain relevent.

    • Good point Dwayne. Even the Conservative government in Saskatchewan (not exactly Alberta’s BFF) is on board. If Kenney is this partisan on an issue he should be supporting god help us when we get to the election!

  10. Bill Smith says:

    Collectively, you have a short memory. Harper redid the the federal environmental assessment rules, Fisheries Act, Navigable Waters Act, and NEB Act to give himself and his cronies in Cabinet the final say on whether any Pipeline would go ahead, regardless of what experts or public servants might conclude. Justin promised in 2015 to reinstate or improve the rules of game but instead is giving this one a hall pass. Do you really believe NEB has ever seen a Pipeline it didn’t like? The whole sideshow has been unfair and hasn’t respected the rules of natural justice from the get go.

    Here is the bottom line is far as I am concerned. If an independent expert panel, not a licensing agency, finds there are significant adverse impacts that can’t be mitigated, the project shouldn’t go ahead until the proponent comes up with an engineering solution that has a chance of working. Saying if there is dump in the Bay it’s not my problem isn’t going to cut it on Canada’s East or West Coast.

    What gets the press coverage is Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, and those bloody whales that get in the way of oil tankers. It’s topped off with a lot of verbal abuse from Alberta politicians.

    I live on Canada’s East Coast. What I see here is the possibility of a dilbit dump in the Bay of Fundy, where between 20-30 thousand people could lose their livelihood permanently, no local East Coast refinery connected to the export terminal that could process the stuff for local use, and shoddy construction and operating practices.

    Yet at the East Coast NEB hearings, for example, the local fishermans’ association was told they had no standing: even though fisherman have worked collaboratively for years to help ensure tankers safely navigate the Bay. You are using up a lot of good will. There a few people here who haven’t friends and family in the oil patch or who were let go when the price of oil tanked. Yet they still collected money for Fort Mac.

    For the record, I am 3rd generation Albertan, retired to Nova Scotia, worked in the Environmental and Natural Resources field for forty years, and even own some oil & pipeline shares ( not KM). What we have here is a pissing match. Are there no adults left in the room? We need are some problem solvers. And for the record, local people are not going to accept your right to do this without dealing effectively with the risks.

    PS Susan I am a Fanboy and look forward every week to reading your thoughtful columns.

    • Hi Bill (Fanboy!) I appreciate your insights. I remain hopeful that the NEB can become an objective impartial regulator and not just a flunky of the government. This requires a number of changes including (as you point out) expanding the definition of parties who have standing and getting rid of the federal cabinet’s ability to override the NEB’s decisions. (Cabinet rejected Norther Gateway after the NEB approved it but approved Trans Mountain, why?)
      My concern with an independent scientific panel is it undermines the NEB’s findings in Trans Mountain which led to the addition of 157 conditions, a great many of which address spill prevention and mitigation.
      As I mentioned to Colleen the NEB should have access to impartial scientists, either inhouse or consultants, who can analyse the evidence presented by the applicant and the intervenors and advise the Board on whether they adequately mitigate a worst case scenario spill. If the NEB lacks such access it better get some soon or else it won’t be able to fulfill its new mandate to consider upstream and downstream GHG emissions (a change brought about by the Trudeau government).
      Out of curiosity who is going to pay for the independent scientific panel? I’m not suggesting the scientists will be biased, I’ve worked with enough inhouse engineers and environmentalists to know they won’t compromise their professional judgment just to make the CEO happy.

      • Bill Smith says:

        Having applied many years ago for a job with the NEB and been shown the door after giving the wrong answers on indigenous rights and compensation after expropriation, my conclusion is that NEB is the wrong agency for the GO/NO GO decision and should focus on providing more oversight for the construction and operation of pipelines after the Big Decision is taken. Self-regulation so far hasn’t been very credible.

        Before the downsizing of the Federal Public Service in the 1990s the Federal Government had the in-house capacity, legal, scientific and engineering personnel, to independently review major projects. Martin and Harper, good neo-liberals or conservatives (take your pick) didn’t want public servants second guessing big business or public servants providing easily understandable digests of what was going on to the public so they declared most of their scientific and professional staff redundant and showed them door.

        Before Harper gerrymandered the environmental assessment process to favour the petroleum industry, the Federal Government appointed and paid the cost of an independent panel review. The members were recognised experts with standing, drawn from academia, professional and industry associations, with inputs from the communities directly affected. The role of the in-house government experts assigned to help the panel was to act in the public interest to ensure that all issues were thoroughly aired before the panel, and appropriate recommendations developed. But those were simpler times.

        The process has broken down now for a variety of reasons. The failure of the federal government to adopt a policies that deal with indigenous rights, respond to climate change, pollution or oil spills and to develop program responses that effectively deal with public concerns means that every major resource project is a target. You cant make national public policy decisions on the back of a major construction project. Neither claiming that pipelines are in the national interest, (that there aren’t going to be major losers) nor is going ahead with this project while you fiddle with the rules, saying the PM and Cabinet will still get the final say no matter what is going to win you any converts.

        Susan You seemed to have inspired a major discussion. Good on you.
        Your fanboy!

  11. Dave says:

    Kenney is good at huffing and puffing, the government he was part of was often very blustery so I guess he fit in well. They didn’t do that well in getting pipelines built, so I consider the huff and puff approach more of a clever political strategy to just play to the base, as opposed to a strategy that actually gets things done. In some ways their confrontational approach created more opposition to pipelines in BC and elsewhere, so it could be argued it was counter productive.

    Trudeau does want to see the Kinder Morgan pipeline built and I think he really understands it is in the national interest. Of course he would prefer not to use up too much political capital for this to happen, so he is going to show some restraint on bringing the hammer down on BC. However those that might mistake restraint for no action do so at their own peril. The Federal government has the powers to use on this and will if forced to. The Green influenced coalition may not last that long in BC, so the Federal Government may not even need to bring down the hammer.

    I think Premier Notley understands it is more effective to bring in a series of measured responses to show BC we mean business, rather than go nuclear and cut off oil shipments right away. Doing that might hurt Alberta’s economy as much as BC’s and being on the ocean Vancouver can easily get oil and gas shipped in from nearby US refineries in Washington state, so any economic pain to them would be very short lived. We are already not negotiating to buy their electricity at a potential cost of $500 million and as of today not buying BC wine at a cost estimated to be $70 million, with probably more measures to come. I don’t know at exactly what point BC decides it is not worth it, but if BC Premier Horgan initially underestimated Alberta’s seriousness, I don’t think he does now.

    • Dave I agree with you, especially your final comment that BC Premier Horgan underestimated Alberta’s seriousness. I was listening to the Feb 5 edition of The Current. Shannon Phillips, Alberta’s Environment Minister, explained the constitutional issue and the impact of Horgan’s actions on Alberta’s and Canada’s economy. She wants Trudeau to clearly articulate that BC overstepped its jurisdictional bounds. It would have been really nice to hear the BC government’s response but CBC asked “to speak with someone in the BC government and no one was available.” (which was pretty cowardly in my opinion). The next interview was with Tzeporah Berman, the environmental activist. She said she had “tremendous respect” for Phillips and Alberta has done “an admirable job” in being the first Alberta government to address climate change, but Alberta’s climate plan wasn’t enough. She also blamed Trudeau for failing to properly address the flaws in the NEB process. Journalist Gary Mason was next. He said it’s a political problem, Horgan needs to appease the Greens, Notley needs a pipeline or she’ll lose the next election and Trudeau needs to step in on Alberta’s side solve it because it can’t continue. Seems to me the interview summed up the whole mess pretty well.

  12. Goin Fawr says:

    “…today the Notley government announced two more renewable energy auctions which will build on the successful auction we had last fall that saw four wind developers commit to delivering 600 megawatts of power…”

    Here is a simple but effective way to deflate supposedly ‘business oriented’, short term thinking nay sayers when it comes to ‘renewable energy sources’:

    over a long enough timeline, remind them what happens to the ‘energy return on investment’ (not to mention simply ROI) when a electricity generating station requires ~zero ‘inputs’ other than maintenance following the capital expenditure of constructing it

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Yes this is a great development but I would take a step further and instead of negotiating a 500 million dollars to buy BC’s hydroelectric power, the province could invest it on building our own Geothermal power and sell shares to the public. We can own our cake and eat it two instead of sending billions of dollars to the Bahamas accounts of multinationals.
      After decades of propaganda we can no longer believe in having control of our own future and live by our own decisions. That is the way most industries were developed in the past. We are choosing to give away what belongs to all of us.
      We have the education and the expertise to run our own energy sector rather than giving it away to avoid dealing with the work and the risks involved. We then proceed to give tax credits and grants just like we are now doing to the marijuana industry.
      Let us compete with them rather than display an enormous complex of inferiority. With it comes the build up of a self confidence that has been lost to the brain washing neo liberal belief that everything public should be eliminated.

      • Carlos, what an intriguing idea! This is another reason why we need to get away from the conservative idea that the private sector can do it better than the public sector, especially when we’re talking about utilities. It’s in the private sector’s best interests to milk the status quo for all its worth before moving on to the next thing while at the same time grabbing all the incentives it can from the government. CAPP is on record as saying they like the carbon tax (that must have made Kenney gag), but they’d rather see it applied to innovations and improvement in their sector rather than renewable energy.

      • Ken Larsen says:

        I totally agree Carlos. It is remarkable how short memories are. Prairie grain farmers had the good sense to take collective control of their wheat and barley by creating the Canadian Wheat Board. The private companies they faced down were and are much larger and more powerful than any oil company.

        Harper killed the CWB with legislation because prairie farmers would never vote to disband it. So now the pipeline companies in grain (the grain oligarchs) are happy to flip prairie grain for their own profit. Prairie farmers went from getting almost 88% of a CWB quality assured world price to around 60% of an undifferentiated commodity price now. 3 years of this theft would build a new KM pipeline with change left over.

        However it will not really matter how many privately controlled pipelines get built, or even what the world price for oil actually is. The owners of the oil resource (all Albertans) will never get a greater share of the per barrel price than what the oligarchs chose to give them. It might even work out that the pipeline owners and tar producers will flood the market and Albertans will get less per barrel than ever before because the world price goes down rather than up. Like farmers they may well produce themselves, and us, into poverty.

        I was not close to the industry but as I recall Peter Lougheed established a unified export price for natural gas soon after he came to power and he also instituted a quota system so natural gas producers had equal access to the pipeline system.

        The public solutions are there and they work, but even the NDP seems content to play along with the neo-liberals. Pity.

      • Einar Davison says:

        In reply to Ken Larsen, the CWB was actually started by the Government of Canada, and only about 10-15 years before its demise did it have any farmer directors. It was killed by Harper is true, but as farms became larger and farmers became more sophisticated in marketing the desire to deal with the CWB became less and less. The CWB was great for small farmers, but truly it was propping them up. The margins are so lean in grain farming that you need a big operation to justify all the costs involved. There are farmers who have less than 10,000 acre but really a 10,000 acre farm is becoming the minimum. Everything is also geared for larger farms to the point where a small farmer (like I was) needed to buy 30 year old equipment or keep hand building parts for 40 year old equipment to be able to farm. There was no way I could afford a $300,000 to $400,000 tractor, combine or super b with out having a large farm. Not to mention there are probably way to many market gardens to make a living from that. Sometimes what you want and what is reality are two different things.
        What Ken Larsen was probably refering to was the farm grain co-ops like Alberta Pool, Sask Pool, Manitoba Pool and UGG. They formed because the grain handling companies were putting the screws to the farmers with high handling charges to the point where farmers made nothing. Unfortunately co-ops are only as strong as the commitment from their members and the quality of their management. None remain now so that gives you and idea of the commitment of the members and the quality of the managers. Being an ex-grain farmer and a former delegate of a farm coop (Agricore) I kind of have first hand experience with all of this.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I am glad you agree Ken – at least I am not the only communist.
        Susan the idea is only intriguing because you are probably too young to remember a world where most utilities were owned and built by public companies.
        In fact in some parts of the world people lose their lives protecting their utilities from being privatized. They know well what happens next.

      • Carlos, I’m not sure I’m too young 🙂 to remember a world where most utilities were owned, built and operated by public companies but I’d really like to see us return there. Why should public money be used to create and operate infrastructure only to sell it for a song to the private sector once it’s up and running and then have the private sector abandon it after they’ve run it into the ground. There are many examples of this, including Pittsburgh’s privatized water authority.

    • GoinFawr I love it when the Notley government does these things. I just wish the public paid more attention because you’re absolutely right.

      • Ken Larsen says:

        Einar’s comments are rather far from the point that collective bargaining and public enterprises can be very effective. However with Ms. Soapbox’s indulgence, I will just point out a couple of glaring errors among the many in Einer’s response to my comment.

        The academic literature documents that the CWB was incorporated by Ottawa in 1935 only after years of furious lobbying by prairie farmers, including some of the various cooperatives which Einar mentions.

        It is true the CWB was good for small farms but it was much better for larger farms. The CWB obtained and returned an extra percentage of the world grain price to farmers. Percentage is the operative word here. If you only ship a couple of rail cars of grain a year the extra percentage from the CWB was not of great significance, but for the larger operations it was a substantial amount – in my experience and observations over some 40 years, more than enough to provide a family with a very comfortable middle class income.

        That is why the strongest supporters of the CWB have always been the market savvy larger farmers. For decades farmers elected an advisory Board to direct CWB policy. This is also why, starting in 1998 with a couple of notable exceptions, very large farmers were always elected to the CWB Board of Directors.

        As Einer notes, the elevator cooperatives were taken for granted by their members and run into the ground. I believe better member education would have made a difference as well as less hostility from the Government of Alberta and the cattle industry.

        With the end of the CWB we are seeing the same economic forces taking shape that we saw when the first CWB was killed in 1921. Time will tell, but don’t bet economies of scale at the farm level will really off-set the market power of the grain oligarchs. So far the macro-economic numbers, especially aggregate farm debt, do not look promising. And those who understand the current market situation also understand that the grain companies are once again taking advantage of farmers, especially the innocent ones who do not understand the difference between marketing and finding a price.

        While the experiences of a single life time are valuable they need to be seen in their historical context to be useful which is why having some grounding in prairie agricultural history is so important.

        Readers may be interested in my blog posts on two recent events in agriculture which attempt to provide some of that context. The first is on China and Trudeau and the second on the fifth anniversary of killing the CWB.

        And now I must apologize to our host for this shameless promotion.

      • E Davison says:

        My grandfather started grain farming in 1926, my father just after WWII and I started in the 80’s. My family lived through just about all of it. My grandfather was a founding member of Alberta Pool and an early member of the UFA, so was my father and so was I think I might know a few things too. The first CWB was actually started as a war measure. The second was in regards to the depression to stabilize the price of grain so farms wouldn’t fail. I’ll trust my grandparents and parents view on farm history than your “academic” papers.

  13. John Roggeveen says:

    The dust up between BC and Alberta is convenient to both governments. BC’s NDP wants to look tough on environment issues after approving Site C, so it cooks up a plan that allows Alberta’s NDP to look tough. Remember that many of Alberta’s deputy ministers came from BC and have ties to the BC NDP. Looks to me like a win-win (for the NDP) con job on citizens of our two provinces. Notley calling an “emergency” cabinet meeting was so over the top. A “wine import ban”? Really? Can you get more petty for show? Both NDP governments likely have legal opinions (that we’ll never see) that the Fed’s constitutional authority trumps BC’s when it comes to the pipeline. Forcing Trudeau to defend the pipeline in BC will also help the federal NDP in BC, so the whole phoney-baloney “fight” is a win-win-win for the NDP. Don’t forget: unlike other provincial parties they’re all the same party. It’s a big, fat sham to improve their polls.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      I do not see this as impossible because the political world is pretty bad but if true it would not be any different than what any of the other parties have done in the past and still do.

    • John, I’m not so sure this is as much a convenient dust up as Horgan stepping on a hornets nest. I know the NDP are supposed to be one party but that doesn’t seem to stop Notley from saying the Leaf Manifesto presented at the federal NDP convention in Edmonton was naive and ill-informed and that Jagmeet Singh’s views on TM were irrelevant. She’s very independent and as Dave said, Horgan grossly underestimated her. I agree with you that the BC and AB NDP government likely have legal opinions about the constitutionality of BC’s move. Notley did say that her government has been working on a legal strategy for months now. If Horgan has a similar opinion (that the feds trump the province here) he should be ashamed of himself for going down this path.

  14. Harce says:

    Two things are clear here: 1. Notley has no plan and is simply taking as much as she can from Jason Kenney’s playbook in a futile attempt to garner support. 2. Jason Kenney is already showing that he is Premier material, leading the agenda from the opposition benches before he takes the reigns and brings back true conservatism that we haven’t had in over 10 years. This will bring unbridled prosperity to Alberta once again.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      My goodness Harce if you repeat this cassette one more time I will have to leave this blog because it is really a pain.
      Can you say something from your mind rather than the UCP Borg?
      We already know for sure that you love Jason Kenney and he is the MAN and he will cut taxes and bully half the planet and finally will make this province great.
      Can you tell us how? Can you at least talk about what he is going to do other than the same CUT TAXES you have repeated about a thousand times. We also know he will bring true conservatism. Can you tell us now what is that true conservatism?
      OK I forgot – The unbridled prosperity (you forgot the Alberta Advantage) this time will once again shower our province.
      Thank you
      WOW I believe is name is Jesus Kenney – someone made a mistake and called him Jason.
      I am sorry I am not trying to be rude but gosh lets talk like adults.

      • Harce, I’m with Carlos on this one…Kenney has not yet produced a shadow budget and refuses to unveil any policies before the May convention, so on what do you base your opinion that he’ll return Alberta to “unbridled prosperity”. If you’re talking about the conservative ideology getting us there, remember that when Kenney was in Harper’s government, Harper ran up 6 straight deficits in a row from 2009-10 to 2013-14 and managed to balance the budget in the election year with a $1.9B surplus which equates to .1% of GDP. Not exactly stellar.

      • Now now Carlos… 🙂

      • Brian says:

        I’m further than Harce on this one. Carlos, most parts of the world don’t put up with communists like you!

      • Brian, if you have a point to make, make it using facts, some form of persuasive logic, or even your own personal experience, name-calling doesn’t cut it.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        I doubt that you know what a communist is. I do know in fact because I experienced a communist system in my lifetime.
        I am not a communist but even if I was I would at least have an ideology. I believe in something and I am ready to discuss it.
        What is yours? I know about the cut taxes but what else? cut more taxes by any chance to unbridled prosperity?
        By the way Susan calling me a communist is not name calling so if you have to ban someone I was the one who started it. I am done with people that think that the continuation of this disgraceful extreme right wing propaganda is possible. I will go to civil disobedience if I have to in order to stop this madness. It is my responsibility as a democrat and a citizen to do so.

    • Farmer Dave says:

      Harce, you need to get out from under the DOME before you get Dome Syndrome. Kenney was part of a Federal Conservative Government that for years complained about the CBC and that it should be privatized. Kenney and Harper had ten years to do this and what was the result, nothing. Their CBC complaining probably got your vote for no result.

      • Brian says:

        You’re right, the CBC should be completely abolished. You must however give Harper credit for significantly reducing funding to this outdated and outmoded sinkhole of tax dollars.

      • Farmer Dave says:

        Brian, there is a reason why Political Parties in Government Power won’t get rid of the CBC because they use a government owned business for their own advantage, so you will also need to get out from under the DOME. Harper and Kenney used getting rid of the CBC to get your vote and you fell for it.

      • carlosbeca says:

        Farmer you forgot to mention that for 9 long years they were bullying their American friends to build a pipeline and they did not even get one approved never mind built.
        The problem is follow the leader syndrome. To aggravate the problem the leader does not have a clue of what to do other than turn on the extreme right wing cassette.

  15. Just to add to Farmer Dave’s point, David Frum, a neo-conservative analyst and former speechwriter for George W Bush, said Canadians are very lucky to have the CBC because it gives them a news source that’s not grossly partisan.

    • carlosbeca says:

      Well David Frum is starting to see the light – he finally realizes that blindly following the leader can be very detrimental for his mind. A bit too late, very few people trust him these days.

    • Brian says:

      The CBC (Communist Broadcasting Corporation) is biased to the left. We don’t force liberals to pay for Fox News. Neither should the rest of us pay for the garbage the CBC puts out. It should be managed by voluntary donations like PBS.

    • Brian you suggested the CBC should be voluntarily funded like PBS. PBS receives government funding in addition to private donations. Wikipedia says it’s the most prominent provider of government funded educational programming in the US.

  16. GoinFawr says:

    I doubt that you know what a communist is”

    Oh! Oh! Pick me CB, I love this one!

    What is really, really hilarious to me is that most self styled ‘libertarians’ endlessly spout what is essentially the original ideal of “communism” without even the slightest inkling of awareness that they are doing it. Specifically:

    “Kropotkin was a proponent of a decentralised…society free from central government and based on voluntary associations of self-governing communities and worker-run enterprises” (Kropotkin being the original anarchist/communist) Any libertarian I have ever had to endure proposes a very similar absolutist ideal, they just call it ‘smaller gov’t’ and avoid the word ‘communist’ like the plague because, I assume, they’ve been so heavily conditioned to be triggered by the term, like the neoliberal plutocrats’ useful idiots they are.

    Of course, Kropotkin was JUST as wrong as Murray Rothbard/Mencken et al because the duality of human nature combined with a population in the billions wants civil oversight, and history clearly illustrates that a legislative assembly composed of ~democratically elected representatives mitigated by a just constitution works out the best for the most. ie Every time ‘anarchy’ (the smallest of small gov’t) has been tried it has immediately devolved to bellum omnes contra omnes and ‘Might makes right’ combined with “money talks”, none of which have ever led to ~decent, just society. Why? Because power loves a vacuum (not to mention the libertarian airheads trying so witlessly to hand one to it).

    • Carlos Beca says:

      🙂 🙂 🙂

      Life is way more interesting when people can think for themselves

      • Brian says:

        Yes. And not being told what to think by a state sponsored news agency that forces us to pay to keep it going. Aka the Communist Broadcasting Corporation.

      • Erik Friesen says:

        How much has Alberta paid in equalization over the years? $100 Billion? Max? That is merely 1/10th of a Trillion. And Norways daily prod is 1.5 mb while Alberta pumps 2.5 MB per day. The big difference is Alberta is run by Albertans, specifically Alberta Conservatives, and Norway is not.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        Yes Bryan I think that we are done about discussion – I would appreciate if you do not reply to my posts and I will not on yours because we cannot discuss about it at all. I have a hard time talking to people that are not interested in anything other than the repetition of the same over and over. I have heard it and I thank you for your opinion about the CBC – I got it that it is called Communist Broadcasting Corporation and that you hate it and produces only crap versus the extremely intelligent Fox News.
        I got it.

    • Wow GoinFawr! This was great!

  17. Munroe Scott says:

    Susan, I don’t expect you to post this link but it’s possible you yourself might find it of interest as a (simplified) view from Ontario.
    I really enjoy your blog. Quite illuminating.

  18. Einar Davison says:

    Good Morning Susan. I read some of the replies and I need to shake my head, they really make me wonder. Those boneheaded comments aren’t worthy of this blog.
    If you are an Albertan you should be supporting Rachel Notley (yes even out here in the boonies we are supporting her). Every person in this province whether they like the energy industry or not benefits from “our dirty muck”. If you destroy the industry withour planning what will replace it the damage to our economy will be dramatic.
    I’m going to say that many so called environmentalist still drive cars, still take buses and yes maybe some of your public transit may run on electricity but most of it comes from hydro dams and do you even care that those dams cause mercury, making the fish poisonous to eat. How many rivers in BC have mercury in them right now?
    Rail transport of crude oil or dilbit is also a more risky way of transporting it and how many tank cars cross BC every day? BC what about your own energy industry? When you go back to riding horses and buggies and being prepared to give up every modern convenience then you can talk. NONE OF US are innocent, NONE OF US do not benefit from the oil and gas industry in Canada and to hold yourself above it is to be a hypocrite and delusional! The only way humans stop affecting the environment is if we as a species disappear and right now the enviroment isn’t the only risk we face that could lead to that happening.
    That all being said, we should work hard to limit the amount of damage we do to the environment, start working towards the day that the world no longer needs our “dirty muck” but in a manner that won’t leave any province without an economic replacement. If you want to affect our livelihoods don’t think for one moment we aren’t going to retaliate.
    I don’t like that our ban is hurting small BC companies, but not allowing our oil and gas to be exported has and continues to hurt this province in both the price we are paid for it and the jobs that could come from being able to move more. Alberta really has four industries, oil and gas, cattle, grain farming and tourism. Unfortunately environmentalist hate most of them and tourism generally provides low paying jobs and is seasonal. As soon as someone can come up with an industry that can overnight end our reliance on those industries I listed, I will be the first to demand a change. However overnight solutions don’t exist and transitions take time and if you don’t understand that I really don’t want to know you because you are selfish. Prime Minister Trudeau needs to stop sitting on the fence and come down on one side or the other.
    In closing to those people who like to talk for the sake of talking, but really have nothing to add to the debate other than nastiness. Grab a brain and grow up!

    • Einar, thanks for your comment. It summarizes where I stand on this issue. Even the environmental activist Tzeporah Berman admits that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Her issue is that Alberta and the rest of Canada are moving too slowly to address climate change. The problem in Alberta is even Notley’s pace of transition is too fast for a bunch of people with their heads in the sand (save our coal jobs! scrap farm safety! good Lord!) Kenney’s UCP panders to these people and will take us back to the Dark Ages if he’s elected.

  19. Erik Friesen says:

    Alberta governments have been giving nearly the full value of Albertas oil away for many decades now. Albertans howl at the comparison to Norway, but it’s a reasonable comparison and makes a valid point. If Alberta had charged and retained market level royalties, it would surely have had the funds today to cover the costs of mitigating environmental and other damage in BC from all facilities used to export Alberta oil.

    Instead, Alberta now wants to offload that risk and cost to BC.

    PS Surely Kinder Morgan plans to use the best quality steel available for the pipeline, yes?

    • Erik I agree that Alberta gave away too much value in the past. It also gutted the Heritage Fund to reduce the deficit which didn’t help. With respect to the costs of mitigation, Trudeau is providing a $1.5B ocean protection plan and Christie Clark got K-M to provide up to $1B ($25M to $50M/year) which would be used in grants to protect and enhance the environment. One of the 37 conditions in the B.C. environmental review required research be conducted on the behaviour and cleanup of heavy oil spills in fresh water and marine aquatic environments so TM and spill responders would be better prepared to deal with a spill. That’s on top of the NEB requirement that full scale worst case scenario emergency response tests be successfully completed before the pipeline is allowed to start up.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      You got that very right Erik
      ‘Boneheaded communists’, the Norwegians have now 1 trillion dollars in the bank.
      You see they believe in regulated capitalism. They told the oil companies that the oil belongs to Norway and so 85% of the profits would be for Norwegians and the rest would be for the Oil companies. The companies somehow never left.
      Here we told them that we are not communists and we believe in absolute free markets and that we would not want more than 14% and only after they have recovered the investment cots. The companies rejoiced in our true capitalist welcoming and our free market beliefs and they got the 85% instead.
      Of course after 30 years we have saved the amazing value of 17 billion dollars. Probably not even enough to clean up the lakes we will be left with. But hey we are not communists – we saved our reputation and we are willing to open even more. It is just a question of time. We will do anything to cut more taxes and live the true neo liberal dream.

      Gosh we are so darn smart it hurts.

      • Brian says:

        The extreme and radical left wing government in Norway also doesn’t have to pay billions in equalization ever year. Carlos if you’re saying stop equalization now, good on ya.

  20. Paul Harmon says:

    Upon scanning the replies, I must comment on a few points made.
    Legal system – this is based on decisions mainly argued and won by the powerful in the courts, thus ensuring those in power stay in power. Guaranteed by a multilevel court system that has appointed judges and a fortune required to traverse it. Some people have won only because it was not a threat to those in power.
    Listening – yes it is important to listen to an opposing view. The qualifier is how often does one have to ‘listen’ to dogma based on false news, manufactured or distorted facts and selfishness before one is allowed to call it BS? Yes, progress is made when people listen. This is based on the presumption that the powerful care, they don’t, but do pretend they listen and proceed based on “listening to all stakeholders.”
    Language – Ms Soapbox misuses language with the worn words “belligerent anti-pipeline hecklers.” This contains not one but two words of invalidation in defining people who have not been listened to. Invariably the good citizens have to resort to these democratic strategies when the independent objective studies have been ignored by the politicians who have promised us they would not. I am personally offended when this language is used and it weakens the writer’s valid arguments.
    It is very unfortunate that Ms Notley and Mr Horgan have not really changed the direction from their predecessors, i.e., tars sands which has greatly contributed to global warming and Site C which will hurt the BC economy, but have merely niggled around the edges. Then what does one expect when the right wing bureaucrats are kept in place or promoted?
    Democracy is based on action but most have been conditioned to only acting when ‘they’ let us – every 4 – 5 years. Many take democracy seriously, practice it often, even bringing their children and yes, they even make sacrifices for it.
    “Talk is cheap, that is why there is so much of it.” When all talk is fused with action people will really start winning.

    • Paul, it won’t come as a surprise that I disagree with most (but not all) that you’ve said. Here’s why:
      Legal system: you say “this is based on decisions mainly argued and won by the powerful in the courts, thus ensuring those in power stay in power.” Not so, google “First Nations, Environmental Groups, Supreme Court of Canada” for a list of cases the FN and environmental groups have won. These precedent setting cases limit the power of “the powerful” going forward.
      Listening: characterizing the other side’s argument as “dogma” and “BS” based on “fake news” undermines the ability to listen regardless of which side is making the accusation
      Language: see point re: Listening
      Horgan and Notley not doing enough: Both premiers are trying to stay in power. This means moving incrementally until the *majority* of the electorate demonstrates support for their policies and pushes them to do more. While I can’t speak to Horgan’s government, I know for a fact your sweeping generalization about “right wing bureaucrats” does not apply to the Notley government.
      Democracy: I agree

  21. Ted says:

    The media has successfully done everything in its power to decouple the effects of catastrophic climate change and the building of new pipelines. Polluting more to pollute less appears to be the narrative that is being adopted without question which strongly suggests that the federal government is not serious in meeting the Paris targets. When will this charade come to an end?

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Ted this charade will come to an end like all other previous charades – when we are in the middle of a non reversible situation and when possibly millions will be escaping and chaos is the result. I do not think humans are smart enough for prevention of anything that affects their greed.
      We are actually way more ridiculously stupid than we think. We are indeed pathetic.
      We could gain a lot by just being a bit more modest when judging our own intelligence.

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