I see an article by Robert Fife and Marieke Walsh in the Globe and Mail which says that “Teck Resources Ltd. is pulling its application for the massive Frontier oil sands mine in Alberta, citing the need for Canada to finalize its climate-change policies and determine how resource development fits within them … [and] … After years of companies shelving investment in the oil and gas sector, high hopes were pinned on the massive heavy-oil mine for its potential direct economic impact as well as the broader signal it would send to the market … [but] … the mine also landed at the centre of a heated debate both in Canada and internationally about the balance this country is striking between resource development and addressing climate change … [although] … The project had already passed a lengthy regulatory review … the federal cabinet was expected to decide whether to approve, reject or delay a decision on the mine on Tuesday.“
A letter from Teck CEO Don Lindsay to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Sunday says that “clear climate-change policies don’t “exist here today and, unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved .. [and] … Investors and customers are increasingly looking for jurisdictions to have a framework in place that reconciles resource development and climate change, in order to produce the cleanest possible products.”“
Mr Lindsay’s letter …
… is a stunning condemnation of a government that ignores the good of the nation and panders, instead, to the shouts of the mob. There is “no constructive path forward,” Don Lindsay says. That’s Trudeau’s Liberal Canada: a place where a company that has been doing business here for 100 years cannot find a “constructive path forward” for a project that had the support of indigenous communities and that “was deemed to be in the public interest by a joint federal-provincial review panel.” But it was opposed by Greta Thunberg and some Eastern Canadian Liberal MPs so now it is dead.
So, the Trudeau Liberals have achieved, by inaction, what they were dreading to have to do today, and Teck, very kindly ~ no doubt looking for a return down the road ~ took them off the hook: they didn’t have to refuse permission; Teck withdrew. I’m sure that Justin Trudeau, Chrystia Freeland, Mark Gerretsen, Catherine McKenna, Steven Guilbeault and Jonathan Wilkinson will all take it as a “win.”
The Liberal message is clear: Canada is closed for business. Greta Thunberg and a handful of unknown, unelected, self-imposed hereditary indigenous lords rule here. They matter more than the legions of professionals who examined the Teck proposal and found it to be good for Canada; they matter more than the elected First Nations leaders who want the development because it will be good for their peoples. The Government of Canada now marches to the shouts of the mobs. It cowers in fear of well crafted but wholly dishonest
public relations propaganda campaigns which are paid for by shadowy organizations that don’t want Canadians to enjoy the blessings of their lands and the fruits of their labours.
We have, since about 1969/70, withdrawn from the world. It, the big, wide world of business and industry, of work and responsibility, of possibilities, seems too hard for us. It wasn’t, always so … we built the Trans-Canada railways and airlines and pipelines and microwave networks, too. We fought, hard, for what was right. We fought and died for freedom, for democracy for the rights of all peoples, everywhere. We were one of the pioneers of clean, safe nuclear energy and of satellites in space. We built a radar chain across our vast, harsh, remote Arctic frontier. Then we decided it was all too hard. We felt that we were entitled to something for nothing … to the fruits of our neighbours’ labours, and to the protection afforded by our big, louder, bolder and harder working neighbour.
When our neighbour came and told us that we had to do a full and fair share of the work required to keep the world safe, we declined, we withdrew from the tasks that we had helped to initiate. We wanted to isolate ourselves, to hide behind the skirts of the very people who asked us to do more. The withdrawal of Teck is not the failure of Canada, it is just the latest step on a long toad of failures that began 50+ years ago.
Norman Spector, a seasoned diplomat and public servant who has worked at the highest levels of both provincial and federal governments, get’s it about right, I think:
I am sad to say this, but … I am glad, even grateful, that my two young grandsons were born in and are being raised in Australia. Australia is not the best country in the world, nor is America, nor are Norway, Singapore or the Netherlands … but, sad to say, they are all doing better, in most important socio-economic and geopolitical respects than is Canada. That’s not all Justin Trudeau’s fault, it’s probably not even mostly his fault … he’s just following the path upon which his father set us.
But, it’s the wrong path, and Canada needs to wake up and recognize that fact. Nowhere is this need more important than in one of Canada’s greatest national institutions: the Liberal Party of Canada. The Liberal Party has shaped itself, for half a century, on the deeply flawed ideas of one deeply flawed man. Several Liberals have tried to fight back … all have failed. Some must step forward again. Canada needs two strong, principled, capitalist, democratic, and liberal political parties. The Conservative Party of Canada cannot do the job alone. The political centre must hold, but first, it must be strengthened. That’s a job for both parties. They need to help us to rediscover or liberal values, which include self-reliance, hard work and enterprise.