Two items caught my eye last week:
- First, on the BNN Bloomberg site, reporter Jameson Berkow said that “Having already lost the race to sell liquefied natural gas across the Pacific to energy-hungry Asian economies, Canada is now falling further behind in the race to sell LNG across the Atlantic as well … [because] … Earlier this week, the United States announced a tentative deal with the European Union to avert a full-blown trade war. Part of that detail-light agreement involved a European commitment to purchase more American LNG, suggesting the two multibillion-dollar LNG export facilities in development on Canada’s east coast are facing another challenge from potential buyers … [and] … “It would be hard to argue that the U.S. facilities are not better prepared [than those in Canada] to supply LNG to Europe,” Ed Kallio, principal at Eau Claire Energy Advisory, told BNN Bloomberg via email. “The U.S. projects are up and running and more are coming [while] Canada’s eastern projects remain essentially theoretical;”” and
- Second, in the National Post, former Conservative Minister of Defence and Foreign Affairs, Peter MacKay wrote that “Lost in the summer haze is one of the largest nation-building job opportunities seen in a generation. The Energy East pipeline project would have been a massive game changer, not just for the Atlantic provinces, but for the entire country. It would have assured our energy independence and kick-started an increasingly sluggish economy … [because] … Unfortunately, Justin Trudeau killed the project with his dithering and punishing regulatory changes. The ongoing challenges we face over trade, immigration and productivity generally, though, require a new approach. And that includes revisiting the multi-billion dollar TransCanada Energy East project, to bring Alberta’s oil to the Atlantic coast for export.“
There we have it: the whole world wants Canada’s oil and natural gas but Prime Minister Trudeau killed both the Northern Gateway and Energy East projects. In both cases it was, as Professor Savoie says (Energy East link) it was partisan politics that killed each deal. In the first case Justin Trudeau had campaigned, hard, to get the youth and green votes and he had promised to kill Norther Gateway … and he did, even though he had no idea at all about how to push the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline extension project through the political, economic and legal challenges it faces. But, hey, a promise is a promise, right? Killing Energy East was a bit more crass: Montreal’s slimy mayor (and former Liberal federal cabinet minister) Denis Coderre wanted what was, essentially, a bribe … he wanted to extort money from TransCanada Pipeline, the builder of the Energy East project and when the company wouldn’t (couldn’t in any sane economic model) pay Mayor Coderre’s price Prime Minister Trudeau stepped in and, as Peter MacKay says, “iced this truly positive economic opportunity by bringing in last-minute rule changes and a regulatory standard that doesn’t apply to any other sector of the Canadian economy, or the foreign oil that Canadians are being forced to use.“
Prime Minister Trudeau’s
handling fumbling of the energy file has, consistently, put the Liberal Party’s partisan interests far, far ahead of Canada’s national interest. It appears as if the prime minister and the Liberals simply don’t know or care about Canada, at least not about the Canada that lies beyond the Montreal-Toronto axis, all they can do is calculate their own, short term electoral advantage. It is more than just a shame, it is a national disgrace.
Canada could be, should be as Prime Minister Stephen Harper put it, a global energy superpower, but certain American interests, some of them shadowy, do not want that and, as veteran business journalist Claudia Cattaneo put it in the Financial Post, “while Canadians keep talking about whether to keep fossil fuels in the ground, the Americans put their oil on ships in the Gulf Coast and bring it around to harbours here in Canada.” In fact, she explains, “To add insult to energy, American companies are buying Canadian oil for less because Canada has no other buyers.” That is, in the main, a direct result of Justin Trudeau’s political actions.
So, once again, thanks to Prime Minister Trudeau’s political ineptitude ~ he really is “just not ready” for this job ~ and Liberal greed we will watch as the American eat our economic lunch because their regulatory system will not be bent out of shape to pursue short perm, partisan political goals.
Canada needs, and Canada deserves new, adult leadership in 2019.