To Hell With Jason Kenney. Let Him Yell And Scream All He Wants. Let’s Help The People of Alberta Transition To Industries That Hold A Promise For Good Jobs And Prosperity For The Province In The 21st Century
A News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted May 8th, 2020 on Niagara At Large
Green Party MP Elizabeth May came right out and said it this May 6th.
“Oil is dead” and big oil is slowly but surely dying as an industry all over the world. It is time for Canada’s federal government to stop throwing good money after bad, and give the people of Alberta financial assistance to move on to other enterprises that will see them thrive in a rapidly changing 21st century.
For that, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, one of the closest politicians Canada has to a populist, right-wing zealot like Donald Trump, slammed the federal Green Party’s former leader and current parliamentary lead, calling her words “un-Canadian at a time like this. It is like blaming the victim.”
Think about how preposterous that is.
It’s as if to say that Canada and all that it is in the eyes of Canadians and the rest of the world is wrapped around northern Alberta’s tar mining industry, and that attacking it is akin to an attack on the very heart and soul of our confederation.
A few centuries ago, Canada used to be a lot about cod and timber and beaver pelts, but I don’t recall anyone firing off that kind of rhetoric when those enterprises receded from playing such a dominant role in the nation’s history.
And who is responsible for Alberta being a victim?
If anything, the people of Alberta, and particularly those who have worked in the tar sands industry, are victims of a premier who insists on blaming others – most particularly the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau – for their recent misfortunes, and for giving them the false hope that if only the federal government would keep throwing billions of dollars at the tar sands, they will have a long and prosperous future.
That is a bald ass lie.
What this industry is mostly a victim of is a 21st Century global economy that is rapidly moving away from oil as the fuel that runs the world’s machinery.
Even before COVID-19 shut down so much of the world’s economy and saw the price of oil plunge below zero cents a barrel this April, so that for the first time since the oil rushes of a century ago, the steel container was worth more than what was in it, the global price of oil has been stagnating at levels well below those the industry experts say makes Alberta’s tar sands operations able to survive profitably on their own.
And even before the pandemic, major financial institutions in Europe and other parts of the world came out publicly and said that they are no longer interested in investing in big oil operations. They are moving on to other forms of energy that have a future in the third decade of the 21st Century and beyond.
Yet still we have Kenney continually yelling at Ottawa to throw billions more of our hard-earned tax dollars at pipelines and other infrastructure for his filthy, climate-ravaging tar operations as if just spitting in the carburetor of the old heap of a car sitting at the back of the driveway might get the engine to turn over one more time.
That is why Elizabeth May’s Green Party, major environmental and other public interest groups in the country, and countless citizens like me are urging Prime Minister Trudeau and his Liberal government not to let Kenney and his allies, including the federal Conservatives, to pressure him into using the pandemic and the economic crisis it has wrought to throw even more money at the tar sands.
So far, Trudeau has been focusing most of his government’s attention on assisting the now mostly unemployed workers and their families, which is as it should be. But there is still concern that he might cave, just as he did when he agreed to invest billions of our tax dollars in a Trans Mountain pipeline no other self-respecting financial institution in the world want to touch with private money.
So let me finish my commentary hear with a plea of my own to our prime minister –
‘Psst. psst. Hey, Justin. Please lean over a little closer so you can hear every word.
‘It doesn’t matter how much of our money you throw at that blowhard of a premier and his tar sand cronies. It’s Alberta man, and going back at least four decades when your dad, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, was locking horns with then Alberta premier Peter Lougheed over a national oil policy, they are NEVER in your lifetime as a politician going to vote for you and your Liberal Party.
‘I mean NEVER. So please stop wasting any more of your time and our money because Kenney is going to blame you for everything that goes wrong in his province anyway.
‘All you would be doing is signing your party’s death warrant with the rest of the country if you invest any more money on an industry that is bad for the environment and has no future in the global economy.’
So good for Elizabeth May for coming right out and saying that in this third decade of the 21st century, throwing any more of our tax dollars at the tar sands makes as much sense as investing in a factory that makes eight-track tapes or buggy whips. Let Jason Kenney throw as many tantrums as he wants.
Here is a Statement that May just issued, with a call-out to all of us to contact the Prime Minister and his Liberal MPs if you have one in your riding, and make it clear that any financial assistance should go to the people of Alberta, and to help them make the transition to 21st century industries, and should NOT go to the tar sands –
I SAID IT YESTERDAY AND I WILL KEEP ON SAYING IT: IT MAKES NO SENSE TO TRY TO “SAVE” A DYING INDUSTRY.
As crashing demand and a global price war push Big Oil out of the oil sands, it is time to face facts. Oil is on the way out and renewables are the future.
We must retool our industry, retrain our workers and ensure that all the COVID‑19 recovery stimulus goes to companies that will contribute to our economy in the long term. This is not only my opinion. It is the advice of some of the world’s leading economists and energy analysts.
I have written a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau urging him to grasp this opportunity to reorganize the energy mix and find other jobs for Canadians – especially Albertans – working in the fossil fuel sector.
I understand why many people live in the false hope that the oil sector is going to come back. We need to support the people of Alberta.
Canada needs to give oil workers the opportunity to put their vast skills and knowledge to use in the transition to renewable, responsible energy.
Please help me send a message to Justin Trudeau. (to contact the Prime Minister, click on the following link – https://pm.gc.ca/en/connect/contact )
Elizabeth May, O.C., Member of Parliament, Parliamentary Leader, Green Party of Canada
Here is a commentary on this issue that we at NAL urge you to read – https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2020/03/20/Game-Over-For-Kenney/
To read another related story on this, click on – https://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/277-75/62597-focus-the-oil-industry-is-dying-right-now-dont-resuscitate-it
Here is a link for another interesting take on this matter – https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-ask-about-albertas-future-and-suffer-fear-and-loathing-from-jason/?utm_medium=Newsletter&utm_source=Globe%20Opinion&utm_type=text&utm_content=GlobeOpinion&utm_campaign=2020-4-27_17&cu_id=ZlZ%2Bwvy4u2X5ux6mrihCz6EcbO5Iy63o
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post, along with your name (not a pseudonym), in the space immediately below the Bernie Sanders quote.