It isn’t often that any Conservative can (or should) agree with Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, but she’s pretty much spot on in her comments on pipelines (starting at 4’0″ and going on 6’30” in the video) in an interview with BNN. Getting Alberta’s oil to “tidewater” so that it can be exported, globally, at full market price must be a national priority, even if it means that Prime Minister Trudeau must break a few implied or even explicit promises to many environmentalists, some First Nations and even to Montreal’s bombastic Mayor Denis Coderre. I talked about this yesterday, as a challenge for the Liberals but, also, as a challenge for Conservatives to offer Canadians a coherent policy on pipelines that addresses First Nations rights and concerns, too, balancing aboriginal rights, economics and trade requirements, environmental concerns and, indeed, national unity.
I’m not sure how to square that circle … I hope some Conservative Party leaders, national and provincial, and “elder statesmen,” too have real, tangible, practical ideas …
… heaven knows the country needs some.
I think Premier Notley is also right about past (and current) governments “fiddling” with processes: looking for shortcuts or trying to manipulate the outcomes. We need a fair, open, trusted system to evaluate and approve (or not) projects like pipelines … systems that cannot and will not be turned aside by protests, even violent ones:
But we, Conservatives, must recognize and affirm that:
- Pipelines are an absolute, national necessity; but
- The natural environment must be safeguarded and treated with respect; and
- First Nations do have rights that must also be respected.
Some private organizations are trying to engage the public in a dialogue. Conservatives should encourage such initiatives, participate in them and learn from their outputs … but, at $400 per ticket it will not be available to many “ordinary” party members.
But, even as a stopped clock must be right twice a day, so Premier Notely is right now and again … and her stance on pipelines is one such time.