In the job nobody wanted.

Watching the West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson trying to interview Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, on Sunday caused mixed emotions. Here is the guy who took on the job for the Bloc that nobody else wanted and he is running rings around the Global Television interviewer. And he is just as difficult to pin down in English as he is in French.

The other day, in a speech in Calgary, premier Jason Kenney of Alberta said that Blanchet needs to choose a lane. The inference was that Blanchet was trying to drive in two of the freeway lanes at the same time. He wanted to have things both ways.

Blanchet, in turn, ridiculed Kenney for claiming that the Bloc wanted the financial benefits of Alberta’s oil and gas production but was barring the passage of pipelines through Quebec. He pointed out that Line 9 of Enbridge is already approved to be reversed and deliver diluted bitumen to Quebec. His complaint was that the Energy East pipeline, which the péquiste opposed, was designed to run through Quebec to Saint John, New Brunswick. There, the diluted bitumen was to be shipped by the Irving interests to European destinations. Blanchet saw no value to Quebec in that.

Jason Kenney is equally vociferous when it comes to getting advice from Quebec. He accuses Quebec of taking equalization payments from Alberta’s oil and gas resources and not giving any support in return. Blanchet, in turn, explains that Quebec has never got any equalization payments from Alberta.

But sitting in the middle of an argument such as this was not a spot Mercedes Stephenson considered comfortable. She seemed to be decidedly uncomfortable throughout the interview.

After all, what could she say, when Blanchet stated that there would never have been an original Alberta oil boom without the early financial support from Quebec? That was not going to be proved one way or the other in a half-hour television news program.

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