All Talk, No Action
The Alberta Legislature finished for the year on Tuesday and the theme of the session might as well have been "all talk, no action".
Despite wave after wave of relentless attacks from a hostile federal government in Ottawa, precious little progress has been made to stand up for Alberta.
Given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government have their foot on the throat of our energy sector, a strong response from the provincial government should be expected, right?
Well, so far we haven’t seen one.
Maybe Alberta’s response is still being worked on, but why the delay?
It’s not like this was unexpected...
The fall federal election gave us an early taste of what was in store.
All five major parties effectively campaigned to end new energy development in Canada and transition to a net-zero future.
Perhaps the most telling moment was when even the Conservatives refused to show their support for Alberta’s oil and gas industry.
During the English language debate, Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchet forced Conservative leader Erin O’Toole to reiterate a promise he’d made at the French debate - that, if elected, the Conservatives would not allow a pipeline to be built through Quebec.
The statement from O’Toole was simple: "We’re not going to let that happen."
Now re-elected to what barely passes for a mandate - 32.3% of the vote with just a 62.3% turnout - the federal Liberal government is preparing to entirely dismantle Canada’s energy sector.
The Alberta government did finally hold their long-promised referendum on equalization - something that more than two years ago, we suggested should have been held immediately.
Alberta has lost a net $600 billion dollars since 1957, with over $240 billion of that leaving Alberta in just the past 13 years, and 61.7% of voters voted in favour of removing the principle of equalization from the constitution of Canada.
The provincial government then introduced a motion in the Legislature to recognize the result of the referendum, a necessary.
But they seemed to treat it as more of a marketing opportunity than the first step to kick off negotiations with Ottawa, timing the passage of the motion to coincide with Premier Kenney’s speech at the UCP AGM, rather than when it would have made the most waves in the media and in Ottawa.
Trudeau, therefore, was able to easily dismiss the referendum out of hand and his flippant response to Albertans’ clear frustration was just the first slight from Trudeau.
As the Alberta government held a press conference to announce the official referendum results, Trudeau rolled out his cabinet, installing radical environmentalist Steven Guilbeault as the new Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Let’s be clear, none of this is about reducing emissions or responding to climate change.
This is about power.
This is about wealth and this is about kneecapping a region of the country that refuses to get on board with the Liberal’s radical tax-and-spend agenda.
The Liberals’ contingent at the COP26 Glasgow Climate Change summit made it clear that Western Canada’s energy industry will be maimed - all for the noble cause of "saving the world."
Trudeau and his team upped the ante by announcing that Canada would cap oil and gas emissions and put Canada on a path to net-zero by 2050.
Former Parti Quebecois leader Jean-François Lisée made this point clear when he decided it was high time to publish an op-ed entitled "What Alberta Owes Us," wherein he declared that Alberta doesn’t pay Quebec enough!
If Ottawa were honest about their intentions to save the climate, they would also be pointing their guns at Canada’s other heavily emitting industries.
“Ottawa will cap emissions from the oil and gas sector,” said Guilbeault upon his appointment.
“We’re not doing that with any other sectors — not steel, not the auto industry, forestry, cement,” he added.
That’s right, he didn’t just single out oil and gas in the regulations, he also actually bragged about it.
Not concrete. Not the auto industry. Not forestry. Not cement. Just oil and gas.
Premier Kenney had a brief moment where he came to the defence of Alberta, after David Suzuki warned at an Extinction Rebellion rally that "there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don't pay attention to what's going on."
Kenney’s response was well-put, so let’s give credit where credit is due:
"Regrettably, we know that there are people to whom he is speaking who believe that the end of, in their view, saving the planet justifies virtually any means, including violence. We do know. I mean, the term ‘eco terrorism’ is not some kind of a conservative talking point - it’s a reflection of a philosophy and real actions that have really taken lives."
But again, it’s words, not action.
A couple of strongly-worded statements and/or motions in the Legislature won’t cut it in the face of a series of major political attacks from Ottawa.
When the Legislature returns, we need action.
Action on a provincial police force, action on equalization, action on pensions, action on pipelines.
Albertans want action and Project Confederation is ready to take action.
In the new year, we’ll be returning to organizing in-person meetings and events across the province, to build up teams of activists and volunteers who are ready to push for real action.
If you’re ready to get involved, please click here to sign up to volunteer.
If you can help fund these events, and our ongoing activism work, please click here to make a donation.
I look forward to seeing you all soon.