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Pipeline doublespeak

If you listen to the buzzwords from our federal and provincial politicians these days, you could almost believe they have the same goal in mind. But reading between the lines, they couldn't be further apart in what they hope to achieve.
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If you listen to the buzzwords being tossed around by our various politicians these days, you could almost believe they have the same goal in mind. But reading between the lines, our federal and provincial governments couldn't be further apart in what they hope to achieve.

Just a day into her new position as federal Infrastructure Minister, Liberal MP Catherine McKenna told CTV's Question Period Sunday that she wants to get things done. It's the same line our own Premier Jason Kenney has used here in Alberta ever since he began campaigning for the UCP prior to the recent provincial election: "Get 'er done," he proclaimed in many a speech to supporters.

And so it seems everyone wants to get infrastructure built. Everyone wants to improve the lives of Albertans (and Canadians in general). Everyone wants to see us prosper.

Why, then, is it still so hard to get a straight answer out of the feds on their support for pipelines?

Canadians returned the Liberals to power last month, but with a minority government – an expression of the displeasure our country is feeling with Trudeau's leadership. Nowhere was that displeasure clearer than in the Prairies, which became a bastion of Conservative support, a solid sheet of blue. The few Liberal MPs we had in Alberta lost their seats. It was a signal that's still blaring loud and clear: Alberta's residents want change and they want to be listened to.

Minority governance is a tenuous position for any party to be in, requiring the support of another party to succeed. As Trudeau's throne speech approaches, our country's leader is no doubt doing some soul-searching on how to bring together a divided country, or at the very least, how to hang onto his position as Prime Minister.

The question this throne speech will answer is what lesson the Liberals took away from the federal election. If they believe they can stay the course and continue in the direction they were taking prior to the vote, they may find themselves capsized by the fickle storm of public opinion. Short of a pledge to push through pipelines and repeal bills like C-69 and C-48, it's unlikely the Liberals will pull much Conservative support, and McKenna made it clear reopening the debate on C-69 is not on the table. She pledged Trans Mountain would be built but dodged questions on whether the federal government would be open to using its constitutional powers to ensure that happens, if the project remains tangled up in the courts.

If the Liberals hope to succeed, this throne speech will need to have more forethought and consideration for Alberta than the government has shown thus far. Unfortunately, McKenna's comments have us prepared to hear more of the same. From the look of it, the Liberal version of "Get 'er done" means once again nothing will get done for Alberta.




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