Posts Tagged ‘Rachel Notley’

Lesson for today: Silk purses, sows’ ears.

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Listen up children; Our lesson for today is that you still cannot make silk purses out of sows’ ears. Excellent examples of this aphorism are the conservative leaders in both Ontario and Alberta. Having observed both gentlemen over their time in Canadian politics, I can assure you that the description of them as sows’ ears is about as polite a description as possible.

Mind you, there is a distinct difference between them. Jason Kenney of Alberta is a highly experienced politician and you can expect every sleazy political manipulation in the book. Doug Ford in Ontario is a neophyte and he will keep on blundering his way through the Ontario election.

A case in point: the handling of abortion questions. Jason Kenney has developed strategies over the years to avoid dialogues that will expose his extreme ‘right to life’ position. He even had his entire opposition caucus walk out of the legislature recently rather than allow them to debate the distance protestors must stay from legal abortion clinics. He did not want his views exposed to the public.

But for Doug Ford, extremism on this issue is just another blunder. Here he was encouraging Tanya Granic Allen, whom he knew was an anti-abortion extremist, as the conservative candidate in Mississauga Centre. It was when the liberals exposed her extremist homophobic views that he finally had to dump her as a conservative candidate. Yet he welcomes her continuing involvement in the conservative campaign. He can be forced to correct his mistakes but never seems to learn from them.

What is interesting about their campaigns in their respective provinces is that they are both running hard against strong female premiers. Jason Kenney is counting on his united right wing to swamp the one-term New Democrats in Alberta. It is not as though Rachel Notley has not been working hard to sell Alberta’s tar sands production and fighting for the Trans Mountain pipeline. She is just not a conservative.

Doug Ford has even less to commend him. He actually seems afraid of premier Kathleen Wynne. In a debate in Toronto last night, Ford was wooden and awkward. He was out of his element. (More on the debate tomorrow.)

The only solution we can come to about both leaders is that they would be disasters for both provinces. There will obviously be a lot of assessment of that possibility over the coming weeks.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

A Confrontation of Confederation.

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

Even on a government VIP  Airbus, a flight from Lima, Peru to Ottawa is over 11 hours. I did that type of flight more than once and they were always an awful experience. I was able to reset my watch and I knew what time it was. My problem was that for a week, I kept asking what day it was.

When on a holiday, the jet lag is a minor problem but when you have serious meetings when you arrive, it is a very different matter. That is just one reason there were no great expectations for prime minister Justin Trudeau in his hastily called meeting in Ottawa the other day.

The meeting was the one with premiers Rachel Notley of Alberta and John Horgan of British Columbia. Our prime minister was going to use his super political powers to resolve a dispute they have been having. It was about a pipeline. It was no surprise that nothing was resolved.

Maybe we were not expecting much would come of the meeting but it is still a concern that nothing could be accomplished. If Canadians are lucky, the matter might get tied up at the supreme court. The justices are probably of a mind to throw it out but could do us all a favour by considering it for a year or two. The desperation at this stage is that it does not become a series of serious confrontations. If the army has to be called in to restore ‘order,’ the entire country could react badly.

Even the American Kinder Morgan pipeline people have recognized that they cannot restart their expansion efforts without protests. They have built extensive barricades around their Burrard Inlet port facilities to ensure the safety of their employees and their investment.

The very worst thing the company has done is to announce a deadline of May 31, for the federal or Alberta government to show the confidence to the financial community that this pipeline expansion will happen. That is a red flag to both sides of this confrontation of confederation.

There is a strange irony that Pierre Trudeau did so much to help pull Canada’s confederation together. It is his son who has the nerve to call himself an environmentalist who thinks he can ignore the concerns of those who care. The bad economic choices of Alberta politicians are hardly the stuff of a confident and consensual confederation.

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Alberta commits to pollute.

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

It is hard to think of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley as an oil baron but she must be at least an honorary member of the Petroleum Club. Her government has committed to shipping 50,000 barrels a day of what must be diluted bitumen through TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline over the next 20 years. Bitumen, the output of Canada’s oil sands, is the most polluting petroleum product our planet proffers.

Bitumen pollutes at every step in the process. It causes pollution just to be extracted from the land. The effluent of its extraction process pollutes the environment. The conversion of bitumen to ersatz crude oil causes extensive pollution and leaves behind a carbon-rich slag. Further refining it to different grades of fuels causes pollution. And finally, burning it as a fuel causes even more pollution.

But Alberta’s government does not care. Donald Trump’s America wants to be great again and burns more coal. Sharon Notley’s Alberta wants to be rich again and pollute for profit.

This makes the NDP premier of Alberta just as much of a hypocrite as her hero in the U.S. White House. Her government is accepting diluted bitumen from the oil sands exploiters in lieu of royalty payments. Instead of just being the regulator on behalf of all Albertans, the Alberta government is in the game. It is in the oil business.

It is because of this accumulation of output from the tar sands as royalties, that the Alberta government can make a commitment to TransCanada Pipelines. It is guaranteeing use of the line while speculating on the price of bitumen at the Texas Gulf Coast oil ports. From the ports, the bitumen can be shipped to countries around the world who are not concerned about the pollution it causes and the harm to the environment.

This makes the Keystone XL pipeline even more likely as the company has now secured 500,000 barrels a day in commitments. That is 60 per cent of the total of the planned capacity for Keystone XL of 830,000 barrels per day. Those guarantees TransCanada are showing off can be taken to the bank as proof of the financial viability of the pipeline—if it ever gets completed.

The question for the voters of Alberta is can you trust a government to regulate and control an industry if the government is directly involved in the industry?

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Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

Rachel wants you on her side.

Saturday, November 25th, 2017

Do you feel threatened by Alberta Premier Rachel Notley? It seems the lady can scare anyone who gets in her way. Right now, she is in a rage against people who think pipelines for bitumen are bad for the environment. You either ride the bitumen bus with Rachel or she might throw you under it.

You almost feel sorry for Conservative fixer and party leader Jason Kenney who thinks his new united conservatives are going to take over Dodge. Kenney and Notley remind us of that old Bob Hope/Dorothy Lamour movie Buttons and Bows. Remember that old song: “Don’t bury me in this Prairie. Take me where the cement grows.”

Notley is hardly insensitive to the environmental concerns but wants them put on the back burner until her province’s tar sands exploiters can get some money for their stuff that can be turned into ersatz oil.

But if those people trying to turn a buck out of the tar sands are expecting crude oil to go back to selling at $100 a barrel, they might have a long wait.

And even if the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline eventually gets finished down to the Texas Gulf ports, there will be no profit for Alberta in whatever bitumen that gets shipped to countries that do not care about the extreme pollution levels.

Notley has been selling anyone who will listen on the federally approved Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain twinned pipelines for bitumen. Her pitch is that partisan blinders are getting in the way. She believes that environmental protection cannot come before jobs for people.

And yet she tries to get Conservatives in Ottawa and back home in Alberta to understand that climate change is real. At the same time, she is encouraging Justin Trudeau to get his troops to stand up for Alberta. So far, the only people applauding that suggestion are the Conservatives.

Notley’s new federal leader is proving to be as big a problem as the British Columbia NDP. She tells federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh that his interference in the pipeline question is irrelevant and that he needs to stick to future concerns of the party.

One day, Notley is going to notice that she is the only one making all these foolish claims. It is about time for her to find better pursuits for Alberta capitalists than trying to cash in on coal and bitumen that are better off left in the ground.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me

As the world wearies of Trump.

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

This is a bad sign. A world becoming wearied of President Trump already? It signifies an acceptance of something abnormal and dangerous. When the king seats his fool on the throne, is the fool now king?

And if you accept the largess of the fool while the fool sits on the throne, are you not the greater fool?

When a Trump triumphant fouls the fabric of common sense, silences science, pardons polluters and panders to the providers of pipelines, is he not the fool?

But are those of us concerned about our environment being gamed? There are many steps to go before this Keystone XL pipeline is put into its bed of earth. In the two years of delay given to us by President Obama, other routes have been utilized. And is there really a need for a glut of tar sands bitumen reaching the Texas Gulf ports when the pipeline is finished?

And who are the real fools when Prime Minister Trudeau and Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley cheer approval of President Trump’s executive order to bring the pipeline back on the construction schedule? Are there really jobs to be saved north of the U.S. border? Or is it just more destruction of the Alberta landscape as settling ponds overgrow the environment.

An Associated Press photographer was allowed into the Oval Office to photograph the President with his signed executive order. It was interesting to see the increased bagginess under the eyes, the unkempt white hair, the growing flaccidness of his 70-year old face and the hardness of Mr. Trump’s expression. This is a man pushing himself as though the devil is about to foreclose on their pact.

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Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry

Complaints, comments, criticisms and compliments can be sent to  peter@lowry.me