Forgive the cynics among us — a growing crowd, for sure, once the Trudeau Liberals are dragged into it — for thinking our current prime minister is playing Crazy 8s with a euchre deck when it comes to the struggling economy of the all-but-forgotten province of Alberta.
As it stands now, $4.5 billion in taxpayers’ money has already been given to Kinder Morgan’s Texas-based corporate masters to take the Trans Mountain pipeline off their hands after they ran for the hills on the project that would get Alberta’s oilsands to tidewater and more lucrative markets overseas on the pretext that it was financially too big a risk.
So much for the old line of black gold and Texas tea.
Forget that Canada overpaid for the pipeline, much like those who pay the sticker price without argument when buying a car. That money, regardless of its extravagance, has been circling the bowl for months.
As far as Canadian taxpayers are concerned, however, that $4.5 billion in money added to the national debt and deficit is already as good as gone, flushed down the toilet with Justin Trudeau’s nod, never to be seen again.
There is no refund, but there has been a ton of stalling, despite the election last week of United Conservative leader Jason Kenney as Alberta’s next premier and his understandable threat to shut off the energy taps to British Columbia unless some fiscal sanity prevails.
In a statement last week, but not in a high-profile press conference where it might actually get noticed, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said he has sent a letter to the Indigenous communities along the Trans Mountain route in which he indicated the Trudeau government had extended its deadline — as in a pipeline go or no-go — from May 22 until June 18.
This, of course, is just another kick of the can a little further down the dusty road, and no reason for a sudden bout of optimism.
The anti-pipeline campaigners have been well-funded with multi-millions from left-wing American activist foundations — Rockefeller, Soros, Tides — and have sold themselves as legitimate enviro-warriors to Trudeau and his omnipresent pollution fighter, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, who rants on almost daily that the planet will extinguish itself within 12 short years.
The good guys, as in those who want Alberta to prosper and Canada to benefit while fossil fuels still have limited options, cannot win for losing.
The small minority of pipeline haters is so loud, however, that it drowns out common sense and trumps our entire country’s economic well-being.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault, for example, made it quite clear in his first conversation with Alberta’s premier-designate that he’d rather see Atlantic Canada getting 60,000-plus barrels of oil a day coming by sea tanker from a despicable regime like Saudi Arabia than see a modern pipeline originating in Alberta safely cutting through his province.
But natural gas being piped to Quebec City? Well, that’s a fuel of a different colour, said Legault, ou mots francais to that effect.
Between Trudeau, Legault and B.C. Premier John Horgan, plus all the millions in interference money coming from the U.S. to fight any and all pipelines, Jason Kenney is outnumbered and out-funded.
Like it or not, the only way the Trans Mountain will ever get built is to hand its ownership over to First Nations.
No government has ever recently dared to mess with them.
They mess with governments.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019