This just in from “the train-has-left-the-station” department.
Let’s see, how should Alberta respond to BC’s announcement that it will limit bitumen shipments from Alberta until it completes consultation on more spill response studies?
Well, the Notley government could impose a boycott of BC wines and create a Market Access Task Force that includes former political leaders, oil and gas executives, economists and legal scholars to develop options and ratchet up the pressure on BC and the federal government.
Justin Trudeau could blanket the media with blunt statements accusing BC of trying to scuttle the national climate change plan (Trudeau says Alberta’s climate leadership plan and the Trans Mountain approval are part of a larger package that includes a $1.5-billion oceans protection plan, investments in Canadian coast guard stations, legislation strengthening protection of Canada’s waterways and species at risk, and overhauling the federal pipeline regulator).
Or we could do what Jason Kenney suggests and talk amongst ourselves.
Kenney’s “non-partisan” request
Mr Kenney presented his request for an emergency session of the Legislature on Facebook and in UCP mail outs. (He said it was a “non-partisan” request but has yet to remove the negative comments criticizing the Notley government on his Facebook page).
Kenney wants an emergency session so all MLAs can “in good faith” engage in “constructive debate” in order to “negotiate” a cross-party motion condemning BC’s decision. I suppose we could sit around for weeks while various MLAs debate which words best reflect the right level of righteous indignation, or we could get behind the Premier who’s out there right now condemning BC’s actions and developing options to address them.
He says an emergency session is necessary for Alberta to present a “united front” so the Legislature and all Albertans speak with “one voice”. Is Alberta presenting a disunited front? Is there any confusion at the federal level or in the BC government about Alberta’s position?
Kenney says he supports Notley’s decision to create the Task Force but denigrates the caliber of its membership by referring to them as “non-Albertans”, “lobbyists, bankers and academics”, “industry groups and people even in Ontario”. He says if Notley is prepared to consult with the Task Force she should also consult with 87 MLAs. Given that Notley has the support of her 53 NDP MLAs, it’s reasonable to assume what Kenney is really wants is Notley to consult with the 26 UCP MLAs, starting with Mr Kenney.
With all due respect, it’s hard to imagine what a motion co-drafted by Jason Kenney and his MLAs could possibly add to the deliberations of a Task Force that includes Frank McKenna (bank director, former New Brunswick premier and former ambassador to the USA), Anne McLellan (lawyer, former deputy prime minister and minister of natural resources), Jim Carter (ATB Financial, former Syncrude president), Peter Tertzakian (ARC Financial), Trevor Tombe (UofC economist), Peter Hogg (constitutional law scholar who literally wrote the book on the constitutional law), Ginny Flood (VP, Suncor) and Janet Annesley (SVP, Husky).
Kenney concludes by saying working together, finding a united voice for all Albertans, is “what Albertans expect of us.” Based on comments from ordinary Albertans, including those with the Canadian Oilwell Drilling Contractors who say Notley is showing “incredible leadership on this file” and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers who are “very pleased” with Notley’s actions, it’s safe to say she’s delivering exactly what Albertans expect.
Jason Kenney can get on board with Notley’s plan or he and his caucus can talk amongst themselves while the train pulls away from the station.