Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joked about for his socks and a string of lame comments along the lines of “peoplekind”, plus international boobery surrounding his international trips to India.
But last week, Trudeau put on his big boy pants and drew a line in the sand: Canada will buy out Kinder Morgan’s interest in the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
By extension, one assumes this means TMP will be built. No grandstanding, protests, legal actions, buts or maybes, or whatever else might hit the fan.
Conservationists and environmental groups, most well-funded by American and even international anti-oil interests, and some anti-Canadian oil interests, will be out in droves. They might even include federal Green Party leader, Elizabeth May. May, a few weeks ago, was fined $1,500 for her part in protests against TMP. Earlier, May had broken a court injunction forbidding protests close to pipeline construction. She argued breaking the law and defying a legitimate court order are not just rights, but duties, of all Canadian citizens.
If this is the case, for sure we will need bigger, much bigger, jails.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley probably wanted to make the buyout herself. The main problem there is the provincial United Conservative Party would scream communism and socialism and all kinds of nonsense that too many Alberta voters might actually believe.
Memories of the federal government’s National Energy Program and even the creation of Petro-Canada as a Crown Corporation still resonate in Alberta. There is always a politician somewhere these days barking up the wrong tree hoping to get the rest of us baying too.
Consider that former Alberta premier Ralph Klein had no problem buying the then huge Pacific Western Airlines in 1974. He wanted to make sure Edmonton and Alberta stayed the gateway to northern Canada. No problem.
Buying out Kinder Morgan is about the only move for a federal government that really, backed itself into a dumb, dumb, corner. Preaching about carbon taxes, climate change, gender equality and downstream emissions that must be considered for new energy projects, and the perpetual and wrong assumption big business will pay to play any game has fallen flatter than a lake with no wind.
Not to mention the mess government made encouraging “social license” instead of rule of law and well-thought regulations.
Finally, if one is going to pay hard cash to guarantee no risk to Kinder, then profits should go to folks making the guarantee. In this case, the folks are Canadian taxpayers. Simple business.
What happens if protests grow and courts threaten? As the younger Trudeau’s dad, Pierre Trudeau, said about his plans to fight terrorism in Canada, “Just watch me!”
With apologies to the late actor Roy Scheider in the movie Jaws, “We’re gonna need bigger jails.”
At least for a while, perhaps years!
Until the message finally is out that Canada not only means business and supports the rule of law, but is dead serious about it.