Why Brad Wall should be Canada's next Prime Minister
Albertans are long accustomed to being ignored by the federal government. Ontario and Quebec hold the key to getting elected in this country, and no one is more painfully aware of that fact than those living in the Prairie provinces.
Self-proclaimed Calgarian Stephen Harper has completely turned his back on Alberta. Aside from admitting to being a Flames fan, the Prime Minister makes a point of distancing himself from his home province, and who could blame him. Harper is the first long-standing non-Quebecer to serve as Prime Minister since Lester B. Pearson was elected in 1963. Alberta’s Joe Clark was voted out after less than a year in office. BC’s Kim Campbell only lasted a few months. Quebec and Ontario must be horrified at the thought of not being able to easily control the federal purse-strings, although they admittedly still do a pretty good job.
Harper won’t touch the Alberta oil sands or pipeline debate with a 10 foot pole. Now it seems even Alberta’s newly elected Premier Rachel Notley is ready to throw the oil industry under the bus to appease Central Canada.
In a recent meeting with Premier Notley, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard had the nerve to suggest that his province would only approve TransCanada's Energy East Pipeline if there was something in it for Quebecers.
The province is openly and unabashedly blackmailing Alberta to join its carbon cap-and-trade scam. Quebec claims it wants to see Alberta take more action against climate change before his province would agree to chose Alberta oil over foreign imports. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is the only politician that dares state the obvious in this debate.
This isn’t about carbon, of course. It’s about provincial revenues, and lots of it. Quebec has exempted all of its industries from its carbon cap-and-trade program. Couillard desperately needs a carbon permit sink - an industry large enough to buy his excess carbon credits and transfer more revenues in his direction. And Ontario wants a piece of the action too.
Premier Notley is under the mistaken delusion that heavy carbon taxes imposed on the oil sands will give her province the “social license” it needs to get pipelines approved.
She couldn’t be more wrong.
Notley is getting ready for the big Climate Change Summit in Paris later this year. Not wanting to go to the party empty handed, the premier will likely stick-it to the oil companies and implement a hefty carbon pricing program later this summer. Carbon taxes are a far more reliable revenue stream for the province than royalties or corporate taxes. For one, companies don’t pay royalties or corporate taxes if they don’t make any money, as is currently the case. Carbon taxes are far more guaranteed and gives the premier a chance to “leave a legacy” - the first Alberta politician to dare do what no one has done before.
Greenpeace and the Tides foundation could care less about the planet. Like every other greedy, faceless, billion-dollar corporation, it’s all about the money. No amount of taxation will ever stop the anti-oil sands propaganda machine. These foreign-funded entities would be considered un-patriotic in any other country. But we Canadians are too polite. We welcome all foreigners and openly listen to their ideas, no matter how twisted their agenda.
And why not? Canada is an easy target.
Our oil companies are all public corporations, the most transparent in the world. Data on production, water usage, air emissions and every barrel of oil spilled are published online for the world to see. Nothing is held back. Protesters that break into the Syncrude site are gently coaxed down the water tower, given milk and cookies and politely escorted out the door. Long gone are the days when you could shoot someone for trespassing onto your land or pepper-spray an angry mob of anarchists. Not here in Canada. We’re far too nice for that.
We don’t question Ontario’s desire to build more cars and trucks that guzzle gasoline, or ask whether the auto industry is in the best interest of all Canadians.
We don’t ask how many degrees of heating would result from building suburban wastelands on the outskirts of Toronto or Vancouver, forcing people to commute several hours to work, school or even the nearest grocery store. How many tons of carbon would be saved if we were all forced to live in downtown shoebox condos?
What is the carbon footprint of that banana imported from Ecuador you ate for breakfast this morning? Would the planet be better off if we banned tropical fruit altogether? How many degrees of heating does that save us?
But that’s what governments ask of pipeline companies every single day. It’s an insane question in a world that has seemingly lost grip with reality.
Saskatchewan wheat, potash and uranium freely crosses through Alberta on its way to the Port of Vancouver. Alberta doesn’t ask for its “fair share” for the right-of-way. Potatoes from PEI are trucked to every grocery store across the country. Canada Goose jackets manufactured in Winnipeg are proudly shipped around the world. Quebec freely exports Bombardier Turboprops, maple syrup and Celine Dion to all corners of the globe. And the world is a better place for it. Alberta should have that same right without being blackmailed by the other provinces. The right to export ethically-sourced oil that the everyone consumes each day, without which our society wouldn’t be able to function.
Pipelines will help displace foreign oil and correct Canada’s growing trade imbalance. That’s more revenue for every level of government. It will also make sure the federal government has enough money to keep handing out the goodies to Quebec and Ontario during election time.
Premier Wall offers a beacon of hope for all of us that have lost hope with our politicians. It’s about time a Canadian politician shows a shred of common sense.
Keep up the good work, Brad. All of Alberta is behind you.