Kelly McParland, the very learned columnist from the National Post, was kind enough this morning to remind me of a modern-day wonder – and that is, “social media can only handle one outburst of moral fervour at a time”.
McParland’s point, with which I am in full agreement, is that the country is enamoured with the Jodi Wilson-Raybould saga, which is Ottawa focused and concerns an infamous Quebec engineering firm whose business practices are so well known most Canadians know them by name. As an average-Joe, I will be the first to admit that I am hard pressed to name even one other engineering firm that is Canadian based/owned, but I can name SNC-Lavalin and even spell it correctly.
Never mind the many legal, ethical or social implications of what the Liberals are doing in the Wilson-Raybould affair. We have an election coming in October of this year, and electoral seats are at stake in Quebec. It all makes for great drama, and Upper and Lower Canada are mentally occupied with possible outcomes. What could possibly be more important outside Ontario and Quebec?
Well, to McParland’s point, the most important thing to happen in Canada in the last week has hardly been noticed by the media or any other persons having even a passing interest in public affairs.
As it happens, the National Energy Board’s “Reconsideration” of its ruling on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was released late last week, and it has gone mostly un-noticed in the centre of the country.
This, I might remind you, is the same pipeline that Trudeau’s Liberals paid a hefty $4.5 Billion of taxpayers’ money to acquire. In essence, this is Canada’s pipeline, and the only people who seem to give a hoot about it live in Western Canada where Liberal seats are a rarity. Go figure! You can bet your last dollar that the Liberals didn’t buy the Trans Mountain because it was being generous on behalf of Western Canadians. And never mind that Western Canada’s resource-based economy (meaning, mostly oil and gas) remains the economic engine of the country.
So, let’s add insult to injury and throw in Bill C-69, the great Liberal defender of all things “climate change’ related. Disguised as a carbon tax but in reality another Liberal scheme for wealth distribution (the subject of another blog to come), Bill C-69 will add yet another layer of regulatory restraint on natural resource development in Western Canada and other provinces where manufacturing and service sector jobs are not an option. I’m sure if we look hard enough, we can find even more roadblocks to development that we can throw in the mix, because God forbid, Central Canada becomes concerned about jobs and economic development in a province other than Ontario or Quebec.
As regards the SNC-Lavalin saga, Trudeau and the Liberals (which now includes the Clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick) were willing to do whatever it takes to protect the 10,000 or so jobs that are tied to that company.
In 2017, SNC-Lavalin had revenues in the order of $9 Billion, 15% of which concerned government. If SNC-Lavalin were denied government contracts, that would still leave a healthy revenue stream for the company even if they were denied federal government contracts.
In the case of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, for which Canadian taxpayers paid $4.5 Billion, and which will generate an estimated 8,000 jobs during the expansion construction period, Western Canadians are given Bill C-69 (more regulation) and more consultation and negotiation with indigenous and environmental groups – all designed to slow approvals and actual construction.
Who is speaking for Western Canada in all of this? Ralph Goodall, our Minister of Public Safety and Saskatchewan’s representative in the Federal Cabinet, is silent. Amarjeet Sohi, our Minister of Natural Resources of all things, is Alberta’s representative in the Federal Cabinet. Where is the outrage?
I long for the days of Brian Peckford, Peter Lougheed, Bill Bennet and Bill Davis. You could have agreed with them, or not, or supported them, or not, but the one thing neither of those gentlemen would have given you was their silence in defense of their provinces. If Peter Lougheed were still Premier of Alberta, we would at least be entertained with his political outrage. Instead, we are forced to listen to Rachel Notley’s kitten like ‘meow’ as she tries to explain here disappointment with the Trans Mountain Pipeline ‘reconsideration’.
This is one hell of a way to run a country. The Federal Government has the constitutional power to ensure the construction and completion of the pipeline that they own, and which could and would ensure the economic prosperity of the country. However, the Feds refuse to use that power because doing so, or not, will not change the electoral landscape.
At the same time, Trudeau and the Liberals are willing to do whatever it takes to protect SNC-Lavalin while protecting Liberal seats in Quebec. And that story is more important to the country??????
And Upper and Lower Canada are as silent as our Western Canadian representatives in the Federal Cabinet.
How have we survived as a country for the past 152 years?