As much as I really want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to succeed, for Canada’s sake, in getting the Kinder Morgan/Trans Mountain pipeline pushed through to completion, I believe that he has picked the wrong way to try …
- First, I believe that he needed to find some way to give Premier Horgan a graceful way out ~ I don’t know, given that he (Horgan) depends, for his grasp on power, on the votes of the BC Green Party, what that “graceful way out” might be, but I have to believe there is something that BC and/or Premier Horgan needs; and
- Second, I believe that while government owned utilities can work and sometimes do work well, they are, generally, not the best possible choice … I know that here in North America and, especially, in Europe we are, mostly, wedded to the notion of public utilities but those of us who have lived in Asia, especially in e.g. Hong Kong, will tell you that well regulated private utilities provide better public services at lower costs and still mange to make profits.
I do not think pipelines in Canada need public financing … I believe that there is plenty of private investment money available; I think that Kinder Morgan held the government’s feet to the fire and it, the Trudeau government, caved in and did so in the way that is most comfortable for progressives, everywhere, by spending someone else’s (borrowed) money.
Putting public money up is not going to solve the bigger problems. As Chief Ernie Crey of the Cheam First Nation has explained, British Columbia has ““a vigorous environmental movement … [and] … they have learned that they can use aboriginal communities to advance their agenda,”” It’s being called “red-washing” in the linked article, pretending that all or even First Nations oppose pipelines when, in fact, “The Cheam are one of 43 First Nations that have mutual benefit agreements with Trans Mountain — reportedly worth more than $300 million — that offer skills training for employment, business and procurement opportunities and improvements to local infrastructure … [and] … “First Nations groups have shown their support for Trans Mountain pipeline and that underscores that people see this pipeline as a benefit if it is well-managed,” [Paul] de Jong [president of the Progressive Contractors Association of Canada] said. “The polarized narrative that all First Nations groups are opposed to pipelines and LNG is simply false.” …[and, further] … In fact, a group of First Nations — led by Chief Dan George of the Ts’il Kaz Koh First Nation in Burns Lake — has formed the First Nations LNG Alliance to encourage and participate in responsible development of a liquid natural gas industry in B.C. … [but] … First Nations are not unanimous in their support for the Trans Mountain pipeline … [and] … Seven First Nations — led by the Squamish and the Tsleil-Waututh on Burrard Inlet — have legal challenges to the pipeline approval making their way though the Federal Appeal Court and the Supreme Court of B.C.” The environmental movement is, as Chief Crey says, “vigorous” and quite willing to bend the truth to suit its agenda. Money may, almost certainly will solve some of the First Nations’ issues ~ and that’s a good use of public money ~ but neither money nor the truth will satisfy many (most?) of the committed environmentalists. As I said a couple of days ago, they want what they want and they are nearly immune to reason or compromise.
In my opinion, Prime Minister Trudeau needs to be out front, in public, standing beside people like Chief Ernie Crey and Chief Dan George and telling the environmentalists, and the BC Green Party, face-to-face, that Canada needs this pipeline and he, representing the Government of Canada will ensure that it is built, soon, while ensuring, also, that the best possible measures are put in place to mitigate risks. There are risks, of course, And honest men and women must acknowledge that but nothing is risk free and the greenies are wrong ~ and must be told that they are wrong ~ to believe otherwise. Justin Trudeau must affirm that risk and reward need to be and can be balanced, all polices, including economic and environmental ones must be made to work in the national interest … neither BC nor Québec can be allowed to put its specific interests ahead of those of all Canadians.
Prime Minister Trudeau belongs in Paris and London this week, foreign policy matters, too … he can leave preliminary negotiations in the hands of his ministers, for now, but eventually, sooner rather than later, he needs to get “out front” and show a little leadership.
Andrew Scheer also needs to show some leadership: he needs to do more than just blame Prime Minister Trudeau for this fiasco; he needs to offer some suggestions about how to bring this problem to a conclusion … more about that tomorrow.