Future under threat

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When it comes to Premier Rachel Notley’s much-ballyhooed social license it certainly doesn’t appear as though Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre wanted a deep dish of it to augment his poutine.

Nope, good old Denis was all guffaws and giggles when it was announced last week that TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project is now as dead as a duck caught in one of those infamous Fort McMurray tailings ponds.

“I’ve been saying since day one that TransCanada was arrogant and condescending. It’s an enormous victory,” was how Coderre described his reaction to news the Calgary-based company was packing in the project and with it hopes of transporting more than a million barrels a day to New Brunswick refineries. No doubt crude from the Saudis will continue to fill the need.

Well, you must admit that coming from the mouth of a fellow who is a renowned expert in arrogance it is indeed quite some statement.

Our provincial government, of course, thought such cross-Canada opposition to hosting pipelines carrying Alberta oil through their respective territories would be a thing of the past, once we showed our exemplary environmental credentials by imposing a carbon tax along with a lid on future emissions from the oilsands. Glug, glug, glug goes that limpid social license down the gaping drain. Oh, let us hope it is biodegradable.

Oh well, if we can’t go east then let’s look west. Yes, we still have Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project to pin our hopes upon in this increasingly frustrating battle to reach tidewater with what is, after all, Canada’s leading moneymaker in terms of foreign trade. Ah, no doubt the provincial NDP government in next door lotus land will be asking Denis for some particularly naughty tips as they and their Green Party cousins do their collective utmost to sink that project as well.

If this weren’t so serious for our province you’d be forgiven a quiet chuckle at Notley’s conversion to being the biggest political pusher of oil and gas in Canada. Yes, being elected premier of Alberta will eventually do that to anyone, or at least anyone hoping to get re-elected.

A few weeks ago this is what Notley said during an interview regarding the 50th anniversary of the original oilsands development and its subsequent effect on the entire Canadian economy (It is doubtful Coderre printed this article out and push-pinned it to his wall.)

“When you have those numbers staring you in the face in terms of what is the path forward for economic growth and prosperity – there is not a single person who is going to fail to see the value of the oilsands.”

“I’d love to be able to play the guitar on the street and sell necklaces to tourists as a way to make money for everyone in my family but you know that’s not the way it works.”

Wow. As she has come to understand – it comes from actually being in charge as opposed to the luxury of complaining from the opposition benches – is that Alberta’s future is under serious threat.

Because, despite all the optimistic blather regarding corners turned and those vibrant green shoots spotted, the employment situation remains grim in our province.

So much so that we actually lost jobs last month while our two major cities are stuck at an 8.5 per cent unemployment rate. Year on year we’ve only added a meagre 13,000 jobs in total following a bitter, 18-month recession. In comparison, since this time back in 2016, Ontario’s added 170,000, B.C. 85,000 and Quebec 53,000.

Oh well, as long as we’re still sending transfer payments eastward. Denis won’t protest that pipeline.

 

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St. Albert Gazette

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