Temporary truce established in war on Stone Age oil people

Dear Diary:

Sometimes we are wrong and when we are, we are happy to say so.

Following British Columbia’s thumbs down on the Trans Mountain pipeline, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s abandonment of Northern Gateway, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s imposition of more conditions on Energy East and, ultimately, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre’s vigorous thumbs down on the latter and its Stone Age proponents, we despaired that Canada had declared war on Alberta..

But this week, things turned around. First, the Mayor of Quebec City said “I wonder how I would feel if a province or a region in another province prevented Hydro-Quebec from building its transmission lines. I would feel exactly like the people in the West do now. I understand them.”

And then, after the Globe and Mail’s deep thinkers tugged their forelocks and pondered Coderre’s “provincialism,” Rick Mercer used his weekly rant to tear a strip off His Worship.

Those developments made us happy even though, had it not been for Coderre’s inability to resist putting the boot in with his remark about Albertans being “people who think the Flintstones is a documentary” he actually did pretty much the same thing as Wynne, B.C.’s Christy Clark and numerous aboriginal leaders have done when it comes to expanding the nation’s industrial infrastructure: indulge in Canada’s baksheesh complex (in which beggars incessantly demand more and more).

Nevermind, the PM visited Coderre and, ever mindful of the fact he and others have for years worked diligently to convince Quebeckers that oil and its pipelines are putting the very future of the planet in peril, emerged with an ever more muddled view of how no one trusts the environmental review process and he’d have more to say about that at some point and obviously blah, blah, blah.

This was widely praised by Parliamentary media who of course slurped up the spin that the PM can’t take sides and needs just to be a good referee.

Which is not true. The Prime Minister can take sides if he wants and does so all the time. It’s kind of his job, we think. He didn’t have any trouble last summer taking sides against Northern Gateway when he said that when he becomes PM “I will not be approving this pipeline.” And he didn’t have any trouble taking sides in backing the Keystone pipeline. So, we will go out on a limb and say Northern Gateway got a thumbs down because that’s what wins over lefties on the west coast, Keystone got a thumbs up because that’s what wins with righties on the Prairies and Energy East is, um, hard.


For some reason – and this “thought” was expressed with some incoherent vigor the other day by the Prime Minister’s Parliamentary Secretary Adam Vaughan – the government seems to be of the view that if additional environmental scrubbing takes place on industrial investment projects such as Energy East (most of which already exists, we remind you) opponents will be satisfied.

That will never happen. Greenpeace, Tides Canada and others don’t really care about the pipeline. They care that it carries oil and they believe – oh, they believe – with a Come to Jesus passion that every drop of oil brings Environmental Armageddon once step closer. They don’t want to kill the pipeline. They want to kill the oil and gas and coal and forestry and mining industries. Until that glorious day arrives and those four horsemen of the Apocalypse are slain, no amount of bureaucratic tinkering will win them over.


Speaking of oil, our spies in the West indicate most media have accepted the spin spun from Notley chief of staff Brian Topp (Toppspin?) that when people who have paid the country’s bills for decades get angry about petty things like having their livelihoods put at risk via all the above and being called knuckle-draggers, they are “not being helpful.”

As if, had they stayed mute like Chairwoman Notley has, Coderre and the like would not have been reined in. This is more than ably debunked here by Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose.

The bigger issue for Topp, Notley, et al is that they don’t really like oil either but can’t quite kill it yet as they have coal and it’s very hard for them to put their heart into pipeline promotion when, given their druthers, they’d prefer the industry just died and the planet was saved and all true believers were swept up in The Rapture. So, you will never, ever hear them criticize those who oppose pipelines because those people are their friends and they need them to vote for them. As this troubling blog by a fellow actually doing a Ph.D studying (no kidding) on the relationship between political activism and climate change makes clear, whatever Notley does will never be enough for The Saved.

For these folks, the same crowd Adam Vaughan believes can and must be satisfied, the energy industry and the provinces where it is based might very well ask, “what is it you want us to do?”
This would be the response.