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If the Premier won't stand up for Alberta, who will?

Posted on July 16, 2015 by Greg Clark

This week we have the curious situation of the Premier of Saskatchewan standing up for Alberta. When Brad Wall called out our Premier for effectively giving Quebec a veto over oil shipments, it calls into question who will stand up for our province if not our own Premier. 

Let's say the government of Alberta didn’t like Quebec's land use framework for new hydroelectric dams, and because of this we won't allow trains coming across our province to carry Quebec aerospace technology, dairy exports, or pharmaceutical products.

That would be a ridiculous position and the Premier of Quebec would rightly be up in arms.

Quebec's seven conditions for allowing (or vetoing) a pipeline that is in Canada's national interest is the same.  Interprovincial pipeline projects follow a clear federal regulatory processes. If that process is followed I expect Energy East pipeline will go ahead. With or without Quebec's approval. 

I worry our Premier is ceding Alberta’s position on the national stage by bowing to other interests rather than defending Alberta.

Let me be clear, Alberta can and must do better on the environment. I have long argued that addressing carbon emissions from large-scale industrial processes is not only an obligation, but an opportunity for targeted economic diversification our province. The good news is much work is already being done to reduce carbon emissions by industry and Alberta universities, but success at doing so must not be a prerequisite for pipeline approvals.

My bigger worry is that our Premier's abdication of her duty to defend Alberta's interests may be the start of a theme. With the federal election just three months away the Alberta NDP seems to be doing everything in their power to support their national comrades. While some will argue the early actions taken by the NDP constitute bold action, to me they've done the easy and obvious things. Just like Jim Prentice did when he sold off government airplanes or cancelled new license plates.

Expect very little governing in Alberta until after the federal election. We won't hear about the true state of our provincial finances nor will we get any answers on royalties and we won't see a provincial budget until after October 19th.

Is that in the best interests of Albertans or does it help Thomas Mulcair and the federal NDP? 

And make no mistake, Thomas Mulcair is no friend of Alberta. His statements about the Energy East project are willfully ignorant (for example, at no time was seismic testing done in beluga whale breeding grounds) and only serve to hurt Alberta's interests. Perhaps he would change his tune if Quebec was only to receive Alberta transfer payments that came from carbon-neutral sources. There wouldn't be any, but they're welcome to them.

Alberta’s Premier must put Alberta first. If Thomas Mulcair becomes Canada's next Prime Minister will our Premier stand up to him? The evidence to date tells us the answer is no.

An Alberta Party government has the benefit of not being connected to any federal party, so there would never be a question about who's interests we're looking out for. And while we are proud Canadians, our #1 job is to represent Alberta's interests. 

Can the same thing be said of our new Premier?


Showing 8 reactions


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  • commented 2015-08-09 00:32:08 -0600
    Quebec claims to care about the environment but if they veto the pipeline it means that they continue to rely heavily on foreign oil. Canada has the best environmental standards in the world (and the industry continues to make improvements). Isn’t it better to use Alberta oil than get it from countries with lessor environmental controls and regulations? Never remind that some of those countries commit human rights violations. Quebec holds its hand out for transfer payments. The only ‘have’ provinces are oil and gas producers. They are effectively parasites biting their host.
  • commented 2015-08-09 00:26:05 -0600
    Quebec shouldn’t get to veto nor should they get transfer payments that come from oil!
  • commented 2015-07-18 11:56:56 -0600
    I concur with those other commenters who are in agreement with the fact that Notley is taking a rational approach. No one in Canada should expect anyone to agree with diluent pipelines or tanker traffic. This is a severe public and ecological health hazard. There is no reason why subsistence co-ops could not upgrade bitumen on site and avoid all these impossible to clean up dilbit messes. The United Steelworkers/Mondragon social economy initiative signed in 2009 to expand the cause of local economic resilience in North America – is precisely the way to go on ending the down-side of the oil industry. To keep updated on this, please e-mail "pyramid2030okanagan@gmail.com.
  • commented 2015-07-17 21:00:43 -0600
    I didn’t vote for the Alberta Party, I am glad that Greg Clark, my MLA, is standing up for Alberta.
  • commented 2015-07-17 04:13:54 -0600
    Greg, here is where you and I part ways. Notley’s careful balanced approach is warranted. The provincial budget delays are because of an unaccountable dishonest government of the past and the current government rushing into budget decisions in the last spring sitting would not have served us well. I also believe confrontational approaches do not serve us well, people get grounded in their position and often issues become deadlocked. Most successful negotiations have give and take. I’ve appreciated your commentary in the past but I must agree with some of the other replies here, this is not the same high ground as per your previous blogs.
  • commented 2015-07-16 21:15:17 -0600
    Greg I have supported you till now. Do not agree with you here. Quebec would have an effective veto of a pipeline through its province no matter what we say. Motley has taken a cooperative stance and a stance that many NDP supporters feel is too generous to the oil and gas industry. She is in between a rock and a hard place. I would expect more from you Greg.This stinks of partisan opportunism.
  • commented 2015-07-16 20:18:51 -0600
    The Premier’s methods may be different but the history is confrontational and has little progress. Premier Wall has had some time to develop his approach. He may be sophisticated enough to have a public stance and still have a less confrontational approach away from the cameras. Mrs. Notley is not conceding but trying to have an open honest adult conversation. I know it is not it style these days but it may still pay dividends over time.
  • commented 2015-07-16 13:29:57 -0600
    I completely agree with Greg on this. To give another province an effective veto over specific economic development in Alberta changes the nature of Canadian confederation. We need leadership that’s responsible for our own development and environmental stewardship, and not abdicate that responsibility to leaders in other provinces.

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