While the world tears itself apart over getting rid of fossil fuels, or doesn’t, Canada is having its own special battle. Namely a war between the regions, and a messy Constitutional fight over trivia, as the full Senate (contrary to our overly optimistic read on May 22) refuses to accept the advice of a Senate committee and kill a ban on oil tanker traffic only in the West where the party now in power doesn’t need Parliamentary seats. Instead it looks set to ram both C-48 and the energy-infrastructure-killing C-69 through Parliament with only changes congenial to its increasingly narrow mindset.
If you’re a sufficiently alarmed climate alarmist you might be willing to take anything that obstructs the use of fossil fuels and pay any price. In the grand scheme of things Canadian unity might not matter much compared to the survival of man on Earth for which we will sacrifice warmth and food for most of humanity. But as with the economic costs of a 50%, 80% or 100% reduction in fossil fuel use, it would be fatuous to downplay the negatives not least because it might lead to a breach of trust with citizens when it is discovered.
John Ivison in the National Post believes the cost of this decision could be very large. He says “the Prairie sun is about to be obscured by more smoke — this time emanating from Parliament Hill. The Trudeau government is planning an incendiary end to the parliamentary session by passing the environmental impact bill, C-69, and the tanker ban off the B.C. coast, C-48, — to the chagrin of the governments of Alberta and Saskatchewan — before attempting to quell Western anger by announcing its support for the Trans-Mountain pipeline on June 18.” And he predicts “apoplexy” in Alberta, despite the current conciliatory tone from new Premier Jason Kenney, when people see which amendments are and are not accepted before the Commons pushes C-69 past a reluctant Senate. (Likewise Lorne Gunter warns that “if Bills C-48 and C-69 pass unamended, they constitute a direct and deliberate attack on Alberta and its economy” that threatens to revive Western separatism if the Liberals also win the next federal election.)
It doesn’t help that the Quebec “National” Assembly unanimously and without debate passed a motion from their most left-wing party saying they can reject pipelines through their territory no matter what Canada’s “national” government has to say on the matter. As Martin Patriquin noted in the Montreal Gazette, it’s probably not true; a recent B.C. Court of Appeals ruling said B.C. can’t unilaterally regulate or restrict an oil pipeline through its territory. He added that it’s certainly hypocritical since despite Premier François Legault blasting “dirty energy” from Alberta, more than half of the oil used in Quebec is from Western Canada and almost all of it from the oil sands.
Oddly, even the federal Green party says that as long as we are going to burn oil, which in their view should be as briefly as possible, we should burn domestic not foreign oil. Perhaps the mainstream parties should try making a bit more sense too if they don’t want to be passed by a solar-powered jalopy on the election highway. Especially the Liberals, whose sunny ways seem to be clouding over in ways dangerous to national unity because they are dangerous to prosperity and an affront to logic.