When is an NDPer not really an NDPer: when they are in power in Alberta. The rise of Rachel Notley and her party to majority government status was such a shock to most Canadians given that the Progressive Conservative party had run the province since most people alive could remember. However, the rise of the Wild Rose Party split the conservative vote in the province and allowed Notley’s NDP to come up the middle. I am beginning to wonder about Notley’s NDP credentials. Seriously. What NDP premier prioritizes pipelines, carrying dirty, polluting bitumen over the environmental concerns of another province? It’s not her province it’s going through. What is even more galling is that BC assumes all the risk of oil spills while the usual suspects continue to get rich and the province goes through another boom/bust cycle that detroys lives.
This what is wrong with brokerage politics. She is doing this no doubt so that she will get re-elected. What Canada (and Alberta) needs is a LEADER who will diversify the economy and get Alberta off the oil and gas teat that has done nothing but provide boom and bust cycles for the average Albertan while making a very few rich beyond their wildest dreams. BC used to be a primarily resource extracting province (mining and logging, mostly). However, given the often wild fluctuations in the world’s demand and therefore price for commodities, BC has had to diversify. There are still pockets of the province that are reliant on resource extraction but as time goes on diversification has helped to stabilize some of these regions.
The BC NDP does not report to Notley or Justin Trudeau – they are accountable to the Green Party, who are providing the necessary support for a majority position in the legislature and they are accountable to the electorate. The NDP have seen what has happened to the BC Liberals when they break promises. The introduction of the HST in 2010, three months after the election promise where they said they wouldn’t, was an education in BC politics. Led by former premier Bill Vander Zalm, the ‘axe the tax’ was ultimately successful. We have been the only jurisdiction in the world to ever successfully repeal a tax because of a grassroots movement. John Horgan knows this. He has already had to backpedal on the Site C Damn. (Although I think they did the responsible thing. If they hadn’t, we would have had several billion dollars of debt either at BC Hydro or the provincial government with no asset to show for it. The BC Liberals made it so that the project could not be stopped).
I am guessing that neither Notley or Trudeau know their BC politics well. Justin Trudeau, standing in Nanaimo yesterday at a downhill meeting, saying that the pipeline will be built is wrong. These kinds of proclamations are only going to inflame the situation more. There will be massive protests should shovels go into the ground on this project. Right now we have Burnaby Mayor Derrick Corrigan who has made a science out of opposing and obstructing Kinder Morgan. Burnaby residents have not forgotten about a 2007 spill that saw several companies charged and Kinder Morgan fined. Oh and this was crude oil, not bitumen – which is way worse. Imagine what it would be like to clean up bitumen from our pristine coastline? It would be a disaster.
I am a proud transplanted British Columbian (it’s a long story, I should have been born here, but that’s a story for another day) by way of Alberta. I live through the National Energy Program (which Albertans seem to forget being forced to sell their oil at lower prices to the rest of Canada). Alberta was certainly strong on provincial rights and opposing what was seen as an ‘out of touch’ federal government that was robbing Alberta to power the rest of the country. In those days, saying you were a Liberal supporter in Alberta was almost grounds for murder. I am not exaggerating.
So, Alberta, don’t buy our electricity or our wine. We will find other markets. We are economically resilient in BC. I am pretty sure that California likes our power. Your threats will only serve to escalate this situation and force us to dig in our heels. And Justin, you better be prepared to not vacation in BC for a very long time (he lived her for god’s sake! He should understand the province). I hope you can find good surfing and caves in Atlantic Canada. Oh and if you are going to force the pipeline issue, I would send in the Canadian Armed Forces. Anything less will be a fool’s errand.