Albertans Aren’t Feeling the Love

Last week Ms Soapbox wrote an article for CBC in which she called out the hypocrisy of the energy industry and various conservatives who want the Alberta government to impose temporary industry-wide production cuts to prop up oil prices.

Isn’t government meddling in the free market a big no-no?   

Industry CEOs say the government has to impose production cuts because the market is broken and it’s unfair that integrated producers (companies with refineries) “…are making windfall profits on the back of Albertans, and Canadian taxpayers…” while unintegrated producers (those without refineries) are not.  Not surprisingly, CEOs of integrated producers vehemently disagree.

Apparently, Ralph Klein’s policy of ensuring government stayed out industry’s way and granting industry the tools for success (low taxes, low royalties and light regulation) worked like a charm…until last week when the market broke and everything went to hell in a hand basket.

The pleas for government production cuts escalated as the week went on.  Energy executives with ties to the Canadian Federation of Taxpayers and business leaders in unrelated industries stamped their tiny feet and wrote op-eds demanding the government act immediately.

We reached terminal velocity with Ted Morton’s comment about a speech by Rex Murphy which blasted the federal government and environmentalists for delaying pipelines.

Morton, a former cabinet minister in the Stelmach government and now with the Calgary School of Public Policy and the Manning Foundation complained, “We’re the Newfies of the West, right? We’ve never really been loved by Central Canada, neither Ontario nor Quebec, so there’s this lingering suspicion that Ottawa doesn’t work very well for us.”

We’ve never really been loved…?

A crazy little thing called love   

It’s unclear why Mr Morton thinks Canada owes Alberta this crazy little thing called love.

love-hearts-thumping-beating-on-white-background_vhrhxqtrg__f0000

The Canadian Constitution, unlike the American Declaration of Independence does not get into touchy-feely stuff.  Canadians do not have an unalienable right to “the pursuit of happiness”, instead they have to settle for peace, order, and good government.

But let’s assume for a moment we could wring a “love me, god dammit!” duty out of the Canadian Constitution;  it would be a challenge for Canada to love Alberta after Morton (together with Stephen Harper) urged Alberta to “firewall” itself from Ottawa by (1) getting rid of CPP and the RCMP in favour of a “made in Alberta” pension plan and police force;  and (2) reducing the funds transferred from Alberta to Ottawa.  Ironically, when Alberta MPs Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney went to Ottawa and had a chance to revise the equalization formula they took a pass.

Nor would it be easy for Canada to love Alberta after Morton slammed the Supreme Court of Canada (he calls it the Court Party) for being “too activist” in its interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

It also doesn’t help that Jason Kenney swore he’d fight the Trudeau government on everything from carbon taxes to equalization payments, and blames the Trudeau government for delayed or cancelled pipelines when his own government fumbled most of these projects, and he’s prone to antagonistic outbursts (remember the Trudeau is an “empty trust-fund millionaire” comment?) which will certainly impede Kenney’s ability to represent Alberta to the federal government should he become premier one day.

Lastly, Albertans haven’t done much to endear themselves to Ottawa.  In 2005 they slapped “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark” bumper stickers on their four-by-fours and just last week they protested the prime minister’s visit to Calgary by donning lynch-Trudeau hoodies and waving placards proclaiming, “Your mom banged Mick Jagger…and Fidel Castro”.  (OK, they weren’t all boors, but many thought this was an appropriate form of protest and plastered the images all over social media).

If Canada doesn’t love us, maybe the other provinces will

Alberta hopes the other provinces will rally to its cause but it’s hard to play the victim card when Alberta is outperforming the lot of them and would do better still if it just bit the bullet and introduced a sales tax.

Also, the other provinces have their own issues.  BC is trying to hold its NDP/Green government together.  Saskatchewan has its own deficit problems.  Ontario is becoming increasingly alarmed by Doug Ford’s attacks on political norms and citizens’ rights.  Quebec is seeking equilibrium after the CAQ toppled the Liberals, and the Maritimes are just trying to keep their heads above water.

The last thing on their minds is sending love to Alberta.

It’s not about love

Successive Alberta governments supported the industry’s “rip it and ship it” business model.  Some industry leaders had the foresight and the financial resources to plan for the possibility that one day supply would outstrip demand and pipeline takeaway capacity would be limited.  They’re profiting for their wisdom while others are suffering from their short-sightedness and are now throwing themselves on the government’s mercy.

Unfortunately for them, it’s not the government’s job to save industry from itself.

And it’s not Canada’s job (or the other provinces’ job) to shower Alberta with love.

If we’re going to frame this discussion in terms of love, the question isn’t whether Canada loves Alberta, but whether Alberta loves its citizens enough to protect their rights and provide the social services they need to live productive and meaningful lives.

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43 Responses to Albertans Aren’t Feeling the Love

  1. nurishah1 says:

    Excellent insight and reasoning. Thanks Susan.

    Nurishah

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. papajaxn says:

    Thanks for sharing the hard truth that Alberta needs to wake up from their 25 year “Rip Van Winkle” like sleep. Sales tax may well be in order. Perhaps a financial transaction tax on all markets at .01% would be fair for all concerned. It would be a lot less than the commissions taken charged by investment dealers. The low income people would be paying a lot less of their income than currently paid on sales tax. Thanks for starting and encouraging the conversation. BJ

    • Keith McClary says:

      “25 year ‘Rip Van Winkle’ like sleep”
      More like 40 years – conventional oil production peaked in the 1970s. The Tories gave it away cheap to boost economic growth, resulting in our large population and tiny Heritage Fund. The high production cost of tar sands leaves little room for royalties.

      • Keith and Brent: you’ve highlighted where Alberta went wrong and some things it could consider to fix this mess. And it is a mess. In my opinion two of the most significant indicators of how bad things have become are: (1) the titans of industry are demanding the ND government enact measures they would normally condemn as socialistic and (2) this demand is pitting industry players against each other. I don’t think the energy sector can get any more broken than that.

    • Brent McFadyen says:

      A long time ago I heard about a tax on all financial transactions. It would be very small like the .01%. You could eliminate all other forms of tax and in my mind very fair. There would be no loop holes rebates etc. everybody pays period. Big transactions more taxes paid plain and simple. This should be done all over the world.

    • Papajaxn: Economists like Trevor Tombe have said for years that Alberta doesn’t have a spending problem or a revenue problem, but a fiscal structural problem. He’s floated the idea of a gradual reduction in spending (nothing too drastic which he says would be devastating) as well as new taxes including a sales take of say 10%. He says we’re going to be seriously in debt regardless of who forms government in 2019 if we don’t face this issue square on. So what is it about Albertans that we’d rather pin our hopes on a volatile revenue stream (resource revenues) than on a sustainable and predictable sales tax.

  3. Douglas says:

    Rex Murphy is a Don Cherry clone who lives off the avails of right-wing, crackpot rants marketed to the oil industry oligarchs and their sycophants. He’s Canada’s coot-in-residence with ad hominem attacks without substance. It’s how he makes a living.

  4. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This is a great blog. So full of facts. I do have some comments of my own, relating to these things. Peter Lougheed was the only good Alberta PC premier. What’s more, is that he had oilfield experience. He knew that oil was a commodity, and that oil booms can very easily go bust. He built things up, saved money and planned for the future. Peter Lougheed also did not let oil companies rip Alberta off, and got the proper oil royalty rates. Also, he believed that the oilsands should be developed in a reasonable and properly paced fashion, and he was quite upset at the other Alberta PC governments (like Ralph Klein’s), for not doing that. The other Alberta PC governments did the exact opposite of what Peter Lougheed did. The CPC had a majority government, along with greater oil prices, and did not help get a pipeline built, that went to the coast of B.C. Where was Ted Morton’s outrage on that? On this subject of the oil industry, the Alberta PCs wasted $35 billion on a petrochemical (bitumen) upgrader. Foolishly thinking that oil prices would remain high, this project was a sinkhole of debt by the Alberta PCs. Ted Morton denied involvement in this, but he surely had to be part of it, as he was a cabinet minister in a majority government. Why doesn’t he talk about how the Alberta PCs, excluding Peter Lougheed’s government, blew billions and billions of dollars on so many bad business deals? He, like other true blue Conservatives can’t, or won’t. The money wasted by the Alberta PCs on that upgrader is certainly worse than the federal government spending $4.5 billion on a pipeline. Jason Kenney has also supported purchasing the pipeline. He also said he supports the carbon tax. With Energy East, it was economics that killed that. The NEB panelists were appointed by Stephen Harper. With Trans Mountain, it is other factors that are delaying it. Both pipelines were fore export purposes only. What is also comical and sad at the same time, is how certain people now support Alberta’s oil industry to benefit Canada, but were against that idea when Pierre Trudeau was in power. A Conservative government, led by Brian Mulroney, abolished the NEP. Much of our oil must go south, because of a Conservative government’s policies. Furthermore, oil prices are beyond any Canadian government to control. They went down in 2014. They are not getting any higher. The Saudi Arabian government is flooding the market with cheap oil. The U.S.A has shale oil. The Alberta oilsands simply cannot compete with both of these things. Not at all. Also, building a pipeline will not make oil prices rise. Nor will changing the government in Alberta or in Canada. Since the 1950s, there has been a pipeling that goes to the coast of B.C. Also, sadly, there are people who still do not know how equalization payments work. They want to claim that Alberta has sent other provinces money, causing Alberta’s fiscal woes, when it was decades of fiscal mismanagement by the Alberta PCs that is the cause. Jason Kenney also was in the CPC, when the present equalization payment formula was made. Many of those protestors in Calgary were quite embarrasing. Sad, how they display their arrogant attitudes. Also, despite oil prices crashing in 2014, Alberta’s economy is the best in Canada right now. It is going to get better. B.C is in second place. The die hard Conservatives will not admit that. They want to spread fear into the masses and make the NDP look bad. I hope people are not fooled by this, though many will be.

    • Dwayne, you raise many good points, especially important is your comment that Peter Lougheed had industry experience and understood the importance of putting in place a long term strategy to exploit a finite commodity.
      I can’t understand why Cenovus and CNRL didn’t see this coming. They say the crisis is caused by a lack of pipeline takeaway capacity, but even if the Federal Court of Appeal had approved TransMountain, the earliest TransMountain would have been on-stream was 2020. The companies say they need the government to reduce capacity for 6 to 9 months to boost prices and tide them over until they get railcars in place to carry away the oil. Why didn’t they line up these railcars a year ago so they would have been able to deliver oil throughout the two to three year time frame while they were waiting for TransMountain to go on-stream? Did they not have a Plan B?

      • Dave McCormick says:

        From my socialist perch buried in the BC mountains, it strikes me that corporate oil has created much of the current problem all on their own. I think it’s correct to say that tar sands production has been increased fairly dramatically with more to come. The only reason they could do this would be because they assumed the needed pipelines would be rubber-stamped and built, ignoring the very real possibility that things would get in the way (climate change, miscellaneous opposition to pipelines, tankers and possible spills, economic pitfalls of having all your eggs in one basket….). You ask “Did they not have a Plan B?” Apparently not. Now they claim it’s Canada’s duty to bail them out.

  5. David says:

    Refreshing breath of balance and sanity amidst the angst!

  6. Jim Hunchuk says:

    Excellent fact filled blog, Thank you

  7. J.E. Molnar says:

    The UCP—the blast-from-the-past party—would certainly mirror the policies of the Klein government, providing a much reduced safety net for all Albertans, as you have mentioned. No mystery there.

    So far, Jason Kenney’s embarrassingly vacuous UCP platform details amount to a regurgitated conservative clarion call for a boundless leap of faith with a fog horn blaring “trust me, I’ve got this.” This is hardly the stuff for voters to muster confidence in Kenney or his party—future group hugs notwithstanding.

    P.S. I thoroughly enjoyed your insightful CBC piece Ms Soapbox, and this current blog piece is—as always—spot on!

    • Thank you J.E. Given the paucity of the UCP platform one has to question what it is, exactly, that’s drawing hordes of Albertans into the UCP camp. I put it down to what you accurately describe as the “conservative clarion call” which apparently needs only to be loud, not sane. Otherwise how could the leader of the “free-market coalition” entertain, even for a minute, mandatory government cuts that will damage the ability of Husky, Suncor and Imperial to carry out their business plans, generate profits (which would be reinvested in their businesses) and drive up shareholder value? This is picking winners and losers big time.

  8. Janet Keeping says:

    This is a very good piece, Susan. Many thanks for it. I think there might be political room for the Alberta government to do the right thing from the sustainability point of view (overall sustainability, not just fiscal) if it were to move to end expansion of the oil sands and, through tighter environmental regulation of existing projects, actually reduce levels of production. Production from the oil sands will be needed for many years to come. But that doesn’t mean anyone needs the amount that is produced daily now. Decreasing that amount is the right way to go. However, all that is another — Green — story for another day.

    • Janet, it’s always good to hear from you. You’ve raised a point we’ve haven’t really talked about, namely, how much production from the oilsands does the world really need. The fact that global oil prices are not rising confirms Peter Tertzakian’s characterization that our situation as a domestic crisis not a global one.
      The other point I’d like to make is the rationale for decreasing production as part of a strategy to manage climate change is more acceptable to me than decreasing production on an ad hoc basis to bail out unintegrated oil companies that failed to plan ahead.

  9. Midge Lambert says:

    Just excellent, Susan! I think for one thing, the sooner Ted Morton, Rex Murphy(!), Jason Kenney Stephen Harper and the rest of the old dinosaurs get out of the way of 21st century Alberta – and Canada – the better off we will all be. And yes, whining about being broke when we keep chanting “NO SALES TAX! NO SALES TAX!” is becoming really embarrassing.

    • Agreed Midge, I really don’t see how we can stubbornly refuse to implement a sales tax, while at the same time demand the other provinces and the feds bail us out of our situation. Kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  10. ronmac says:

    The Fab Four once penned a little ditty on this very subject.

  11. Grateful for your insight (and loved the CBC article too)

    • Thanks Carol, I’ve been talking with my industry friends. Most are appalled it has come to this, although some say you can’t fault Cenovus for doing whatever it takes to to save itself. I’m of the opposite view. If the government bent over backwards to help you become a successful business and it still goes haywire, then you’re on your own bub.

      • I heartily agree with you. While the oil industry has undoubtedly added substantially to the GNP, it has also reaped the rewards of tax breaks, etc to be successful in the first place.

    • Thanks Monroe. I’m not sure it’s possible to be a conservative/socialist province, I guess we’ll find out.

      • GoinFawr says:

        T.Douglas’ CCF was definitely ‘socialist’, and with 17 consecutive surplus budgets (while simultaneously introducing single-payer healthcare) is definitely ‘conservative’ by my estimation.

      • GoinFawr and Carlos the belief that conservative governments are good financial managers and so-called socialist governments (Liberals and NDP) are not is a lie so deeply embedded in the conservative psyche that it’s immune to facts proving otherwise. Timothy Snyder in his book The Road to Unfreedom describes this condition in a comment about Putin. He says Putin understands that lies unite rather than divide Russia’s political class. The greater and more obvious the lie, the more Putin’s subjects demonstrate their loyalty by accepting it. It’s a bizarre phenomenon, but it helps me understand why the more we present facts to the conservatives to prove they’re wrong about their ability to balance the budget the more they believe they’re right.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        GoinFawr – the idea that socialist means not having surplus budgets is wrong and I for one do not keep that myth alive.
        T. Douglas was definitely a socialist but he was too smart to let conservatives bring him down with propaganda, one of course being that progressives always run deficits.
        When you look at recent Canadian governments, say back to 1980, no conservative government had surpluses at Federal level. The only surpluses were during Jean Chretien’s era – a liberal.
        Ralph Klein had surpluses only because we had the highest oil prices ever as well as gas at the same time. He was just a lucky bird. Surpluses are definitely not a Conservative trait – or better they are only in their facts which for the most part are lies.

  12. Sam Gunsch says:

    regarding this by Susanspbx: ‘Successive Alberta governments supported the industry’s “rip it and ship it” business model. ‘ Worth remembering that ‘Rip and ship’ also applies to logging, pulping AB’s boreal forest out to be made into paper and other cellulose products overseas by some of AB’s major logging industry FMA holders, to which $100’s of millions and loans/grants were given by Getty’s admin… most of which were eventually written off under Klein. Very wealthy & profitable multinational corporations as well as a financially weak AB/SK operator included, whose family owners were very well politically connected. Stockwell Day as finance minister wrote off that one. Very much smaller financial impact on AB but same pattern of conservative political leaders being taken to the cleaners by industry, and we citizens pay for the losses. Some financial analyses back in the late 90s and early 2000s argued that AB charges so little forest royalty, i.e. stumpage fees that given the firefighting costs and Alberta Forest Service’s budget, AB budget/economy was actually in the red. Schindler was sharing one around back then. I could probably Google to find it just to offer verification, but I expect anyone reading here knows enough industry domination of AB gov’ts/politics/policies of directly and indirectly subsidizing resource extraction industries…no need. Nauseating any time conservative politicians and their friends in the thinktanks/media praise enlightened corporate-conservative gov’t working relationships… “friends of business”… absolutely ‘best of friends’ they’ve been… gifting Albertans property for fewer and fewer jobs as industry automates. Forestry industry has automated over the decades such that it’s so job thin now it’s farcical to claim it’s this big economic multiplier in rural Canada. Absolutely the jobs are valuable to those people and communities holding them, but the overall return to the province, nothing like industry makes out. And it would be interesting to have some updated Canadian and provincial econ analysis of the industry now that firefighting costs are escalating with climate change.

    • Excellent points Sam. You’re right, this isn’t a one-time thing. Conservative politicians in Alberta have a history of privatizing the profit and socializing the loss across many industies. Although this situation is somewhat unique in that it’s the first time (I believe) the call for socialization split the industry in two. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has said nothing about Cenovus’s call for mandatory cuts because CAPP’s membership includes integrated and non-integrated producers and it won’t put itself in the position of favouring one side over the other, but the industry has no qualms about asking the government to do so. Pretty appalling.

  13. Carlos Beca says:

    All of this to give the Oil Companies and the big boys all that they wanted.
    Unfortunately it does not seem that we learned much and the rip off is going to continue with either the UCP or the NDP. The UCP will just make us the laughing losers of the oil business. It is so obvious we cannot hide. As an Albertan, I feel ashamed of what we have done and continue to do with the resources of this province. We have no shame whatsoever. We sell everything we have for peanuts to create a handful of jobs. The Americans do not even need to bother about how to get what is ours. We hand it to them for 1/3 of International prices because we cannot go against the All Mighty market. No matter what happens we are always the ones who get the bad side of the deal. To realize that I have witnessed all of this for the last 30 years makes me feel how stupid we have become. The oil companies plays the Alberta Government like a fiddle.

    • Carlos, I had an interesting conversation with a colleague who’s worked in the energy industry (both integrated oil companies and pipelines) all his life. He’s appalled at Cenovus’s position. He said a lot of oil producers made the conscious decision to invest in exploration and production (E&P) but NOT refiners and upgraders because the return on investment in E&P far exceeded the return on investment on refiners and upgraders (which he said was still very good but not as good as E&P returns). My friend pointed out to them that they were being short sighted by not thinking about what would happen if they couldn’t get their oil to market. They ignored him. And now their short sighted decisions have come home to roost and some of them, like Cenovus, are begging the government (us) to bail them out.
      With respect to Cenovus, I read an interesting article in The Star that said Cenovus has signed 3 year rail car leases which means it can move its oil to market, apparently they’re just not happy with the price. The other thing I noticed in the article was on Oct 31 Cenovus was suggesting the companies voluntarily reduce production, but 3 short weeks later it is pleading with the government to impose mandatory production cuts. There’s a world of difference between a “voluntary” reduction and a “mandatory” reduction, you’ve got to wonder what happened in those 3 weeks to cause Cenovus to harden its position.

    • Carlos Beca says:

      Susan, Cenovus and the other oil companies know that they found the golden eggs in Alberta. They can make money when the oil prices are up, without having to pay royalties, and when the oil prices are down, by crying baby and always getting the government to do whatever is beneficial to them. Our governments are more than willing to oblige. Every time this happens corporate taxes go down, royalties go down and never to go back up again. It is the cycle of happiness. In the meantime, Albertans are getting less and less. My goodness we now make more money on gambling than on oil.
      The government is not in the business of taking care of its people and so the cycle broadens to include the disgust we have developed for politicians.
      For people like myself this situation is unbearable. Unfortunately the NDP government has adopted the hamster like attitude of the previous PCs. Courage to change is no longer in our DNA. Most people no longer care for the future of the province, they just want everything NOW. With a lot of people from outside our province with no roots here and interested only in income to be sent somewhere else including of course the oil companies, the future looks like a disappearing light in a long tunnel.
      We have to realize that it is impossible to build a prosperous healthy province with just beliefs in markets and GDP numbers and greed. That is building exactly what is in front of us right now. A deficit ridden and declining standards of living for the majority as well as declining public services. Everything is not well like politicians keep blaring. We have to become care takers of this province and democratize it to allow better decision making in the interest of those who want to be proud citizens instead of some powerful rich person sitting in Dallas or Tokyo or Berlin who manipulates our politicians with their globalization propaganda that is simply a license to exploit us with minimum interference. To me that is called financial colonialism and it is used frequently in the third world where people have no say in their future.

      • Carlos, these are excellent points. Today’s Herald included snippets of interviews with energy experts, although whether they were all “experts” is questionable. The Herald interviewed Ken Hughes and Ted Morton (both former energy ministers), Rory Johnston and Phil Skolnick, both work for bank, Peter Tertzakian (who actually does have good experience) and Gil McGowan (the head of the Alberta Federation of Laubour.) All of them except McGowan said the cuts should be made but very carefully. McGowan made the most sense. He said the AFL hasn’t taken a formal position on the question of curtailment because no one really knows what will happen if it goes ahead. Tertzakian said it could work if you did it right. He raised a bunch of questions: would it apply it to all types and grades of oil (bitumen all the way to condensate?), would it be limited to big companies and exclude little companies, how deep would the cut be. He mentioned the negative impact it would have on big companies who have nothing to do with it and the perception of market intervention by the government, which he said was overblown, although I don’t know why he’d say that.
        All of the people interviewed, with the possible exception of McGowan, are strong supporters of free market capitalism and now they’re urging the government to interfere with the market because it’s not “fair” that some companies are making piles of money while others are not. I wish they’d apply the same “fairness” rationale to fix social problems. If it’s “fair” to reduce the profit of some oil companies because other oil companies are losing money, then surely it’s “fair” to reduce the income of rich Albertans by increasing taxes to make sure there’s enough revenue to pay for quality education and healthcare for other Albertans. It bothers me that the “fairness” argument is trotted out to ease corporate pain, but is MIA when it comes to easing human pain.

      • Carlos Beca says:

        You got that exactly right Susan.
        I just marvel that Albertans, who for the most part are basically educated, cannot discern the garbage in all of this so called Capitalism. What capitalism? This is nothing but a completely controlled economy for the benefit of big corp. The reality is that it is what they decide it benefits them. Nothing else. No one cares at all about Alberta or Albertans and why should they if we ourselves are on their side.
        My goodness Jason Kenney wants to control oil production now! I say that again – Jason Kenney who hates anything moderately leftist, wants Rachel Notley to control oil production – it is very simple to know why or do I need to give the details?
        Well the only reason I still pay attention to this charade is only because I hope that anyone who reads my tirades about right wing politics will stop and for once think about the reality of what is going on. We are now operating with rules created by Putin and Trump. The two biggest Mafia bosses in the world.
        If we do not manage to create a wave of reason it will soon be a long time until we can get rid of these crooks, they are now in full control in Moscow and Washington.
        One just has to read a little everyday on what is going on around Donald Trump – His lawyers, his family, his business dealings – it is all just garbage. Pure MANURE.
        Amazingly the world is so rot that no one in the democratic world is capable of saying a word – NOTHING – our children are witnessing the expression of silence and cowardice I never imagined possible.

      • carlosbeca says:

        YES EXPERTS – they all know a lot about making easy money on the backs of people at the mercy of governments fully controlled by outside interests.
        Yes I love when people like these experts come out with their sense of fairness. It makes me cry how sensible they are.

  14. David says:

    I suppose neither the prickly Mr. Murphy or Mr. Morton, who doesn’t seem to come off as particularly touchy feeling either are not Tina Turner fans. As she said so well years ago, “what’s love got to do with it”?

    Canada is a collection of provinces with an astounding variety of regional interests. Some times we put up with each other and manage to get things done, more often there is some degree of petty bickering, which occasionally flares up to more serious conflict. Perhaps Kenney and Morton should take actually take a biblical view here – let the province without sin cast the first stone. Now I suspect every province has its yahoos, Ontario might even have one as a premier now, who do not necessarily speak for everyone in the province, but I could understand others being a bit put off by Alberta bumper stickers about freezing in the dark. Now, that it is our turn to go to the well of good will for help with our problems, surprise, surprise it is quite dry.

    I am not sure Alberta has many allies now among other provinces, perhaps BC was for a time, before environmental issues and pipelines became such a big concern. I suspect if you ask people in Saskatchewan for their candid views about Alberta, it would be a bit of a love/hate relationship and that might be as good as it gets. We have tried at times to ally ourselves with Quebec, as both provinces often want Ottawa to basically leave them alone, but Quebec is mostly concerned more about cultural autonomy and Alberta more about economic matters. Quebec is also not a fan of pipelines and even conservatives in Quebec seem to take environmental issues more seriously than their Alberta counterparts. Ontario and Atlantic Canada generally seems to prefer a stronger Federal government, although Ford may be an exception here. I suppose we might get a bit of sympathy from Newfoundland, which seemed to have an ongoing conflict, particularly with the previous Harper Federal government, but that’s about it. To his credit, former Premier Lougheed made a point of making loans to Newfoundland when Alberta was doing well – as the saying goes, if you want to have a friend, you need to be a friend. He seemed to understand this better than the more recent isolationist and somewhat cranky collection of firewall conservatives that are now trying to dominate Alberta’s political discourse.

    In the end, pipeline issues are being dealt with by the courts, so I don’t think it is relevant it is how much other provinces love us or not, but maybe it will be a politically successful argument in some parts of Alberta. Peddling resentment and anger seems to have worked for some right wing politicians elsewhere.

  15. Great summary of the provinces’ positions David. I particularly agree with your final point which is that pipeline issues are being dealt with by the courts. There’s nothing further Rachel Notley (or Kenney for that matter) can do about this. The Feds appear to be working hard to ensure the First Nations’ issues are addressed, this may mean making them equity partners, which is a good move in my opinion. Eventually this pipeline will be built.
    But the constant barrage of misinformation and vitriol being spread around by the conservatives is seriously undermining our ability to resist the same disintegration of civil society that we’re witnessing in the US.

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