Leaders acting like children while Canadians pay through the nose.
HodgePodge By Charlie Hodge
B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta’s Rachel Notley need to grow up and learn to play better with others. The two provincial leaders are acting like children, emulating former B.C. Premier Christy Clark by threatening to either take their ball and go home, or not allow the other kids to share their goodies. Absurd.
For months now we’ve been fed a he-said-she-said spitting match between the two regarding allowing goods and resources to cross borders without penalties. At the temper tantrums’ crux are a couple issues: B.C. concerns with the completion of the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, the flow of controversial bitumen to B.C., and Notley’s threats to not allow B.C. products into Alberta while cutting off supplies of gas. (Diluted bitumen has chemical and combustion properties significantly inferior to higher-quality oil and of environmental concerns).
It seems no one explained such childish, idiotic, punitive attitudes are precisely while Canada continues to stub its toes in effort to grow up and become more successful as a nation. It’s boggling that as a nation we’ve created so many various, questionable stumbling blocks between multiple provinces. This latest silliness between Horgan and Notley may be the dumbest stunt of all. It’s ridiculous that Canadian born and trained teachers, doctors, nurses and various other professionals have difficulty getting jobs in other provinces or that products such as B.C. wines are blocked or limited in exports to other parts of our own country. To create turf wars of this current magnitude between neighbouring provinces is not only economically crippling but divisive and dangerous.
Even sadder Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is fanning the flames and seems to lack the gonads to quickly resolve the impasse. Last week he announced the pipeline would go ahead one way or the other – the same pipeline he did not support when seeking election.
Some of Alberta’s pipeline demands may be steeped in misinformation or lies, and some questionable media and ‘information sources’ haven’t helped. The right wing Angus Reid Institute stated this week that while “more British Columbians now support the Trans Mountain pipeline project” their latest poll suggests, “two in three Canadians say B.C. is wrong to try to stop pipeline from moving forward.”
That’s nice but who in B.C really cares? It’s not Ontario or Quebec’s sensitive lands or coastline paying the environmental price.
Notley does not care as her latest threat to hold B.C. hostage with gasoline importation seems to have taken the dispute to a whole new inferno level. On Monday, Alberta introduced legislation to use export permits dictating how much and what products truckers, pipeline companies and rail operators can transport. Said legislation is designed to punish B.C. if we continue to block the Trans Mountain pipeline. B.C’s residents are being told to get ready for the worst as Alberta plans to ‘turn off the taps’. Alberta’s introduced Bill 12 limiting shipments of oil, gas and refined products to B.C. is akin to dropping the gauntlet.
However some say that move flies in the face of the Federal constitution which states that Section 92(a) of the constitution specifically prohibits provinces from restricting the flow of products and services, or applying discriminatory tariffs, to individual provinces or other jurisdictions.
Meanwhile B.C. is threatening to sue if the new law causes gasoline prices in B.C. to skyrocket.
May 31 appears to be the drop dead date for the feud as that’s when Kinder Morgan might cancel the $7.4-billion project unless it is convinced it will be move forward.
Some suggest B.C. might simply look to Washington state for gasoline or even China. Others argue Canada’s Agreement on Internal Trade (AIT), signed by Canada’s First Ministers in 1994 states: “Right of entry and exit: prohibits measures that restrict the movement of persons, goods, services or investments across provincial or territorial boundaries.” In other words while Alberta’s actions may be illegal or unconstitutional, B.C.’s proposed environmental restrictions on bitumen could also fall be illegal. That’s precisely why Horgan has referred it to the courts, to determine whether it has the right to regulate to protect the environment. This fight could take a while.
However the plot thickens even more as some pundits say due to the low quality of bitumen it is uneconomical for Kinder Morgan to ship Alberta crude oil to foreign countries other than the U.S. It’s quite possible that oil carried by the Trans Mountain pipeline will simply wind up at in refineries on the U.S. west coast, substituting oil coming from Mexico.
Yankee oil producers are currently attempting to claim the lion’s share of the world oil market leaving our only oil serious market the U.S. Which begs the question why are we doing this at all?
Sadly it seems the whole issue has reached a no win point. Opposed or not to the project so much of the land and environment has already been damaged so badly stopping it now seems somewhat pointless. On the other hand there’s a tremendous amount of more land that begs protection.
It never should have come to this to begin with but here we are. Only in Canada you say?