Forget Postmedia’s paranoid propaganda: Becoming an environmental pariah won’t restore the ‘Alberta Advantage’

Posted on April 05, 2018, 1:38 am
7 mins

PHOTOS: An Alberta oilsands operation (Photo: Kris Krug, Creative Commons). Below: Calgary Herald political columnist Don Braid, Calgary Sun political columnist Rick Bell, and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.

According to the United Conservative Party and its media echo chamber, there’s “a growing national push to suppress Alberta’s economy.” War metaphors abound.

I’m not making this up. The words quoted in the sentence above come right out of the headline on a recent column by Don Braid, the Calgary Herald’s political columnist.

The way Mr. Braid seems to see it – judging from his rambling column, anyway, which also spent a lot of time complaining about Canada’s equalization program – governments in Ottawa, Quebec City and Victoria are all trying to drive Alberta into the poorhouse by suppressing our oilsands industry.

Never mind that there’s a case to be made the entire Alberta bitumen project is looking shaky for reasons that have very little to do with environmental regulations anywhere in Canada. (Hint: It’s the market.)

Nor is Mr. Braid the only journalist sounding increasingly hysterical about this topic, although he’s probably the most prominent one. But consider Rick Bell, also from Postmedia in Calgary, and Markham Hislop, the Vancouver-area-based proprietor of the American Energy News website. Mr. Hislop recently advocated throwing his pipeline-protesting neighbours in jail until Kinder Morgan Inc.’s Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project has been completed! (I’ve got news for you, buddy … there aren’t enough jails in British Catalonia for that plan to work.)

This tone, though, really originates with Jason Kenney, leader of the Opposition United Conservative Party in the Legislature, and his well staffed and apparently generously financed online anger machine. Mr. Kenney’s strategic brain trust has obviously concluded that perpetually sustained paranoid rage about how the rest of Canada is supposedly mistreating poor Alberta is the way to win elections. Judging from some recent polling, they might just be right.

The thing is, though, even if the claim there’s a vast economic conspiracy against Alberta isn’t true yet, it probably will be soon enough – at least if we foolishly follow the strategies demanded by Mr. Kenney and his amplifiers in media.

As a public opinion survey released yesterday shows, a huge proportion of Albertans have been persuaded by people like Mr. Kenney, his Wildrose caucusmates and right-wing media, that global warming isn’t caused by anything we humans do.

Barely half of the Alberta respondents to the poll conducted by Abacus Research for a group called the Ecofiscal Commission even believed there is conclusive evidence climate change is a thing! According to the pollster, moreover, only 13 per cent of the respondents thought taking action on climate change should be the top public policy priority for governments.

This contrasts pretty sharply with attitudes in much of the rest of Canada, particularly the easternmost parts.

If true, these results are bad news for Alberta’s NDP Government, which is trying to sell Alberta’s bitumen but also reduce carbon outputs through other policies while diversifying the economy with the province’s long-term wellbeing in mind.

Unsurprisingly, it works for Mr. Kenney and the UCP, which is a big part of why they are so deep into climate change denialism. Needless to say, this means neither Mr. Kenney nor his party and its supporters are going to change their tune any time soon.

As for journalists like Mr. Braid, the kind of things they are saying give rise to the sort of conspiracy theories that have divided and bedevilled the United States and given the world President Donald Trump – also an outcome that suits the UCP and its corporate sponsors perfectly well.

Which is where the real danger comes in. If the road to victory for Mr. Kenney and the UCP runs through climate change denial, and the likely policies of some future Alberta government turn out to Make Alberta An Environmental Pariah Again (MAAEPA will fit nicely on a green ball cap), the conspiracy theories promoted by Postmedia will quite likely become reality.

How else do you expect still-unjailed voters in British Columbia and the rest of Canada, not to mention much of the rest of the world, to react to an apparent determination by the voters and officials of this province to endanger the survival of the planet and directly threaten the economic interests of other provinces?

Of course, the pressure is unlikely to be applied by fleets of black helicopters from the United Nations, or even principally by external environmental regulations that are actually designed to win a few more years of social license for bitumen development.

Rather, it will most likely come about through Mr. Kenney’s beloved market. The impact on Alberta’s economy will not be much prettier, especially in the absence of efforts to diversify the provincial economy such as those that are being encouraged by Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP.

Renewed status for us as an environmental pariah will not renew the mostly imaginary Alberta Advantage. It will only bring us a world of hurt.

28 Comments to: Forget Postmedia’s paranoid propaganda: Becoming an environmental pariah won’t restore the ‘Alberta Advantage’

  1. John T

    April 5th, 2018

    A person will fail to understand something when it is in their best interest to not do so…with respects to climate change deniers.

    Reply
  2. Farmer Brian

    April 5th, 2018

    First off David I get the impression you believe there is no market for the heavy crude produced from the oilsands. This morning’s market prices. West Texas Intermediate $63.47 USD, Mexican Maya $55.86 USD, Western Canada Select $37.87 USD. Mexican Maya and Western Canada Select are virtually identical grades of crude oil. Certainly Mexico’s closer proximity to the desired market helps!

    Eco fiscal commision, Danielle Smith had a representative on her show. He feels the present levels of carbon taxes are to low and to meet our 2030 emission targets will require a carbon tax of a minimum of $100 and probably much higher. i just read some very interesting research result in an article in the western producer. A researcher in Saskatchewan has just completed an over 20 year study comparing soil structure and the levels of carbon in conventionally farmed soil and organically farmed soil. I was very interested to see that properly fertilized soil was much healthier from a microbial standpoint and was also higher in carbon. Organically farmed soil was depleted of both nitrogen and phosphorus. The reason I mention this is that extremely high carbon taxes will greatly increase the cost of fertilizer and compromise the ability to competitively grow crops in western Canada.

    As for Don Braid’s column, you forgot to mention that Don discusses that CEPA made a presentation at federal hearings into bill c-69 and that they feel that the new pipeline approval process proposed under this bill will make it impossible for another oil export pipeline to ever be built in Canada. And from my own perspective there is no doubt in my mind that the Trudeau Liberal’s want to reduce growth in the oil industry in Canada and over time reduce its size. There is no doubt that other oil producing nations of the world are cheering him on! Enjoy your day

    Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 5th, 2018

      Farmer: Thank you for your excellent questions. To the first, it’s not that I think there’s no market for oilsands crude. There clearly is at the moment. I do think it’s quite likely it’s in decline, however, and that the rate of decline is likely to accelerate as renewables become cheaper, and as we humans recognize that the cost of repairing the effects of petroleum extraction including the impact on the climate are part of the sustainability equation. I also believe, as said here many times in the past, that the so-called “tidewater premier” is significantly exaggerated by pipeline proponents. To the second, I had never heard of the Ecofiscal Commission until yesterday, and it sounds to me like a name with an agenda, if you know what I mean. That said, I would hope we can depend on Abacus, which is a reputable firm, to run an honest poll, regardless of whom the client is. That is my assumption. Your third question is a good one, and points to one of my underlying assumptions, for which I do not apologize. While it may be accurate to say that the process now adopted in Canada would make it harder to get a new export pipeline approved, what that should tell us is that the process in the TMP case was inadequate to the situation as then understood, as well as deficient in ts own terms. This is not to say the pipeline shouldn’t go ahead, but it is an illustration (as seen in the Northern Gateway case) that hurrying the process will result in more delays, not fewer, as long as Canada persists in being a constitutional democracy with an independent judiciary. Finally, you and I will just have to disagree about Mr. Trudeau’s motivations. Whether or not his strategy will work, I believe he is honestly trying to manage a declining industry to protect Canada’s economic wellbeing. Russia and Saudi Arabia may cheer now, but Canada is more likely to have a brighter future in the long run as a result. DJC

      Reply
      • Sub-Boreal

        April 5th, 2018

        “tidewater premier”

        Delightful!

        Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      April 5th, 2018

      Brian, you have mentioned fertilizer before, and I keep meaning to ask for an explanation for the connection between fertilizer production and greenhouse gases. My mind is open to the idea that fertilizer production should have the same carbon tax exemption that exists on farm fuel since we need both to feed the planet. First, though, I would like to be reassured that this is not the same kind of ‘sky is falling’ argument we heard when the carbon tax was first implemented. Terrorists seem to like fertilizer, so I can see how there are some hydrocarbons in there somewhere.

      Reply
      • Death and Gravity

        April 11th, 2018

        Fertiliser is essentially made by burning Natural Gas in Nitrogen. Methane is the feedstock, in other words, so you have to account foe the emissions in the extraction and transport of methane, much of which is methane itself, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

        Reply
    • Mike in Edmonton

      April 5th, 2018

      Hi Farmer Brian. I read your comments, and found myself a bit puzzled. I didn’t see anything in DJC’s blog about crude prices; he was talking about Toastmedia’s corporate policy of “Viewing with Alarm” anything that might adversely impact their advertising revenue from Big Business. Likewise their status as willing dupes of Big Oil.

      Personally, I think David is being overly generous in attributing their suck-up-isms to Jason Kenney. Main-stream media got into bed with the oil industry, thanks to relentless lobbying and spin from industry “associations,” going back to Ralph Klein’s days as premier. (More on that below.)

      Re crude prices, I think you’ve missed an important point. We don’t need an oil pipeline–we need less bitumen extraction! Think back to the Crazy Years–2004 to 2008. That’s worth an extended rant in itself.*

      WTI is a light, sweet crude, a good source for gasoline and diesel fuel. Western Canada Select is, I think, “synthetic” crude from “upgraded” bitumen. The stuff sells cheap because nobody wants it if there’s better stuff available. Bad news–Bahrain has just announced the discovery of a new oil field off-shore. It’s shale oil, but do you think Bahrain will hesitate to use fracking? What’s that going to do for bitumen demand?
      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43644629

      Your reference to Canada’s_Ecofiscal_Commission was a bit confusing. I presume Miz Smith invited somebody to make fun of their policies, outlined here: https://ecofiscal.ca At a glance, they seem to have their heads on nose-forward. And “$100 per tonne” is commonly accepted as a target that will MAKE people change their ways. BC started their carbon tax in 2008 or so; their economy GREW, by Stats Canada figures, while all other provinces shrank. “Polluter pays” works.

      The story from the Western Producer seemed out of place; and when I found it, it sure seemed to have more questions than answers. The commenters on the web page thought so, too.
      https://www.producer.com/2018/03/balanced-nutrients-help-soil-microbes/

      If you meant “carbon tax increases prices,” I guess that’s right. But I wonder how much carbon there is in a tonne of bulk fertilizer? Also, farmers still get tax-free purple gas; there’s no reason a similar deal couldn’t be made for anyone with a farm registration number (meaning no disrespect; 3 of my uncles were farmers).

      As for depleted soil from one method of “organic” farming, I”m not qualified to comment. I found this article on Resilience.org web site; there are others.
      waiting-on-amber-a-note-on-regenerative-agriculture-and-carbon-farming

      Oh yes; Don Braid’s column. CEPA = Canadian Energy Pipeline Association = press flacks for pipeline companies. Really, now, what did you expect them to say?

      Have a good evening.

      (NOTE TO BLOGGER: David, I should warn you now–I’m ready to submit that one for your entertainment, since I don’t have a blog of my own–yet!)

      Reply
      • Farmer Brian

        April 6th, 2018

        Mike, I did read about the discovery of oil in Bahrain, 80 billion potential barrels. You obviously believe we should leave Alberta’s bitumen in the ground. Since 80-90% of C02 is produced when oil is burned say in your car or for heat or to make plastic, does it matter if it comes from Alberta or Bahrain? It doesn’t to the environment but it does to the workers, businesses and governments in Canada. I get the impression from environmentalists that they believe if we don’t produce it that the demand for oil will decline. If you want the production of oil to decline reduce the demand!

        Actually “Miz Smith” had someone from the Ecofiscal commission on her show not someone making fun of their policies. As for your assertion that BC’s economy grew while others shrank. We had a recession in 2008 and in the aftermath I believe most economies experienced growth, as have BC’s C02 emissions from 2012 onward. If you look at a graph of BC’s C02 emissions, they were trendinding downward slightly in 2006-2007, took a good sized dip in 2008-2009 due to the recession and then from 2012 onward have trended up.

        As for fertilizer, natural gas is used in the production of nitrogen fertilizer and as such C02 is released during manufacture. In Alberta and Canada for that matter fertilizer production is subject to a carbon tax, putting local manufacturers at a cost disadvantage. Urea is imported into Canada from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Russia, China all countries without a carbon tax. Two things will happen, I will pay more for fertilizer in Canada and jobs will be exported to other countries. Enjoy your day

        Reply
        • Bob Raynard

          April 7th, 2018

          Thanks for the information about natural gas usage in fertilizer production. I do believe producing food, something I am rather fond of, should be exempt from the carbon tax. That said, it would be interesting to see how big a rebate food producers would get if they were able to submit their fertilizer receipts. Unfortunately there has been so many ‘sky is falling’ claims with regards to the carbon tax that the skeptic in me would like assurance that the fertilizer companies aren’t just using the carbon tax to jack up their prices. (I use the term ‘food producer’ rather than ‘farm’ because other fertilizer users, like sod farms, should not be exempt)

          I definitely agree with you about protesters going after the demand side of the fossil fuel equation. Pipeline projects make easy targets, but protesters would be better off targeting people’s energy use – especially the wasteful use. At the end of our community league meeting last week I saw a fellow get in his car and drive home – a distance easily less than 500 metres.

          With regards to bitumen, Graham Thompson from the Edmonton Journal made a chilling comment on the radio once. Apparently it has been calculated that. from coming out of the ground to its release from the tail pipe, fuel derived from the oil sands has a 17% higher carbon dioxide impact than conventional fuel. Unfortunately I have not been able to find the same claim with a quick google search to look at the very important details, like how far the conventional fuel has been shipped. If it is true, however, it does mean, unfortunately, that fuel consumers can get a significant GHG reduction painlessly if they choose a non-bitumen fuel source.

          Finally, with regards to BC’s CO2 emissions, it appears the province’s total emissions have increased, but the per capita emissions have decreased. Presumably the decrease has not been enough to offset the growth in population.

          http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/soe/indicators/sustainability/ghg-emissions.html

          Reply
  3. Albertan

    April 5th, 2018

    It is mind boggling, indeed, as to how, still, the effects of climate change are being denied. Even under Alberta Conservative rule in 2006, “the province placed a moratorium on new water licences for the Bow River and several other rivers.” What part of this would Kenney, et al, not understand? Would the proverbial “2×4 between the eyes” moment be realized when Alberta’s water supply becomes tighter yet?
    Water supply will be the ‘canary in the mine,’ ultimately. What would be said by these social conservatives to their own Alberta scientists who are doing research on, and speaking of, climate change? Here is an example:
    “Scientists unravel effects of climate change on Bow River. World Water Days: less runoff from mountains and more evaporation will decrease water supply.”
    http://www.ucalgary.ca/utoday/issue/2014-03-21/scientists-unravel-effects-climate-change-bow-river

    Reply
    • Bob Raynard

      April 5th, 2018

      Yes, you do have to love the mindset of climate change deniers. They are happy to trust mainstream science when they take the medicine their doctor prescribes, fly in a plane, or trust a GPS navigation system. For the future of the planet, however, they would sooner trust their conservative politician or their newspaper columnist.

      To be consistent, maybe the next time they get sick they should have Jason Kenney concoct some medicine for them, or take their next holiday on a plane engineered by Lorne Gunter.

      Reply
  4. Dan

    April 5th, 2018

    ” And then they all went home in thier SUV, feeling good about themselves after protesting all weekend. “

    Reply
    • Rocky

      April 5th, 2018

      In Vancouver? On their bicycles, more like.

      Reply
    • Sam Gunsch

      April 5th, 2018

      Hey Dan,
      There’s a different way to think about citizens taking action. Feel welcome to share the excerpt below with your buddies. S

      Excerpt: ‘When brave people go to jail, cynics email me to ask how much gas the paddywagon requires. When brave people head out in kayaks to block the biggest drilling rigs on earth, I always know I’ll be reading dozens of tweets from clever and deadened souls asking “don’t you know the plastic for those kayaks require oil?” Yes, we know—and we’ve decided it’s well worth it. We’re not trying to be saints; we’re trying to be effective.’

      https://www.ecowatch.com/bill-mckibben-climate-change-2041759425.html

      ‘ We’re not going to be forced into a monkish retreat from society—we need to engage this fight with all the tools of the moment. We’re trying to change the world we live in and if we succeed then those who come after will have plenty of time to figure out other ways to inhabit it. Along the way those who have shifted their lives can provide inspiration, which is crucial. But they don’t by themselves provide a solution. Naomi Klein once described visiting an “amazing” community farm in Brooklyn’s Red Hook that had been flooded by Hurricane Sandy. “They were doing everything right, when it comes to climate,” she said. “Growing organic, localizing their food system, sequestering carbon, not using fossil-fuel inputs—all the good stuff.” Then came the storm. “They lost their entire fall harvest and they’re pretty sure their soil is now contaminated, because the water that flooded them was so polluted. It’s important to build local alternatives, we have to do it, but unless we are really going after the source of the problem”—namely, the fossil-fuel industry and its lock on Washington—”we are going to get inundated.”‘

      Reply
  5. David

    April 5th, 2018

    I read the column by Mr. Braid and was quite disappointed too. Even though he is somewhat long in the tooth and I don’t sense he is always making an effort, he can still be thoughtful and insightful at times. However, I don’t blame him entirely for that unfocused rant. He is a survivor of all the downsizing at the Herald/Journal/Sun aglomination, so I think he knows what his bosses want and sometimes I think he writes accordingly.

    If this is the case, the Herald is doing a real disservice to their readers. We live in a bit of a bubble in Alberta and it is important to really understand what is going on in the rest of the world. We have to deal with it, rather than just rant. There are important short term, medium term and long term issues our energy industry faces, and only one of those categories will benefit from having an additional pipeline to BC.

    Perhaps this is one of the stages of grieving for our lost boom or our less promising energy future. Certainly denial is one of the stages, perhaps anger is also one. I suppose this would certainly explain why Kenney is both so angry and dismissive of the forces in the world that challenge our energy industries dominance. He was not successful in becoming a big fish in a big pond, so he has come back to try become a big fish in a small pond. However, it is unfortunate that with all his years of experience as a career politician in Ottawa he does not have more insight into how the rest of the world thinks about the energy industry and how to improve the situation, instead we just get rants, anger, bluster and grumpiness. If he were to get into power, he would certainly present an image of a climate change denying pariah to the rest of our country, which if anything would hasten our energy industry’s demise.

    Of course the ranting and raving might work politically, which is probably why he is doing it. However, like Trump who still hasn’t built a wall or been able to ban muslims, those who rant and rave tend not to accomplish much, except to continue to rail against their imagined enemies and propagate conspiracy theories that become increasingly more outlandish and out of touch with reality. At this time Alberta needs a reality based government, lets leave the ranters and ravers to the US, they have enough self created problems. We do not need to go down the same path.

    Reply
  6. political ranger

    April 5th, 2018

    Yeah, so you’re saying that we can all see it but that Rachel is trying to diversify us away from a post petro-hell.

    No, she is not. Nor is her government any better for Alberta than the UCP. It’s just a different sort of bad. They both are irresponsible and unrealistic, both based on lies and crazy assumptions.

    It’s one thing to argue with the typically ignorant and slow-witted citizen here but when the self-proclaimed progressives claim, “oh yeah! … we knew that all along, but our team is still better” it becomes more than a little ridiculous.

    Reply
    • Death and Gravity

      April 5th, 2018

      What specific policies do you think the NDP should be following that are in any way consistent with re-election. Because the UCP will undo Every Single Thing the NDP has or will done if they win the next election.

      Reply
      • Political Ranger

        April 6th, 2018

        Well DAG, the first policy is honesty. Second would be factual integrity.
        Notley is crying about how her policies provide a bridge to solutions (or at least public acceptance) to imminent environment and climate catastrophe while at the same time conducting real-world, real-time actions that solidify, enhance and promote the very same industry, for decades to come, that is the prime cause of the catastrophe in the first place.
        Your logic to conclude outcomes under a UCP gov’t are fatuous. If the UCP are such great enablers of the petro-industry then there will be lots of jobs, hence gov’t revenue. If they are as full of s*#t as they appear, they’ll never get elected.
        The only real distinction between the Albaturda NDP and UCP are the color of their sails; they are both heading in the same direction.

        Reply
    • Geoffrey Pounder

      April 5th, 2018

      Agreed. Notley has been throwing billions of dollars in subsidies at the fossil fuel industry.
      Her anti-science “climate change plan” locks in oilsands expansion and rising emissions for decades — unless the global market intervenes. AB is in for the biggest crash yet.
      As an “environmental pariah”, a Jason Kenney govt will be isolated and impotent. With her undeserved credibility on the climate file, Notley will probably get her pipeline but lose the election — whereupon she may join Alison Redford in Kabul.
      It looks like Notley has Trudeau’s number. Count on him once again to buckle to the oilsands industry this week.
      The NDP pose a far greater threat to Canada’s climate targets than Kenney could ever hope to have.
      Send the turncoat Notley and her New Denialist Party packing, and hope for better in 2023.

      Reply
      • April 6th, 2018

        What a fantastic comment…Rachel Notley maybe more public services friendly…but as for climate, as for economic realities…Rachel Notley is as toxic as diluted bitumen…

        I’d bet mt last dollar that Rachel and team oily orange will be trounced badly in election 2019…

        Rachel Notley gone, and no long term progressive advancements to look back on..

        Jason Kenney is, in my opinion…a disgusting human slimeball…

        It saddens me that Notley failed on all the big picture, big world issues…

        Adios Rachel Notley….see you in hell….Hello Jason kenney..or should I call you Lucifer….

        The Straight Goods

        Reply
      • Death and Gravity

        April 11th, 2018

        Has been throwing billions in subsidies? Evidence, please.

        Reply
    • David Climenhaga

      April 6th, 2018

      Ms. Dubreuil is quite right, evidence that I ought never to write two blog posts in one day. I have amended the passage, and taken note of the broader if less enthusiastic support for future commentary. DJC

      Reply
  7. Geoffrey Pounder

    April 5th, 2018

    Braid’s rabble-rousing column was shocking in its dishonesty about equalization payments:
    “If provinces with less overall wealth are going to be topped up, they should bloody well support the provinces that supply the topping.”

    The Province of AB contributes $0.00 to equalization payments. Provinces don’t make equalization payments.
    Equalization payments are paid out of general tax revenues — not by provinces. All Canadian taxpayers and businesses fund equalization payments.

    Ontario and Quebec taxpayers contribute 58 cents on the equalization dollar. Ontario taxpayers alone contribute 39 cents. (Ontario taxpayers contribute far more than their province receives.) AB taxpayers contribute 16 cents.

    Braid doesn’t usually pander to UCP low-information voters. Predictably, readers responded in full fury.
    The Postmedia empire, the oilsands industry, and Notley’s NDP can’t collapse soon enough.

    Reply
    • jerrymacgp

      April 7th, 2018

      Sir: I rarely agree with you … but on this, I need to make an exception. Equalization is a federal programme, mandated under the Constitution, and not one thin dime of Alberta’s government revenues goes into it. Ranting against equalization is a classic right-wing neo-con strategy to distract from the real issue: we receive no monies from it because of our unused fiscal capacity, i.e. lowest taxes in the country.

      Reply
    • Farmer Brian

      April 8th, 2018

      Geoffrey, let’s assume the numbers you quote are correct. You forgot to look at population. Ontario(using statistics Canada numbers) has 38.66% of Canada’s population contributes 39 cents. Quebec has 22.87% of Canada’s population but only contributes 19 cents. Then we have Alberta, only 11.54% of the population but contributes 16 cents. So on a per capita basis, Ontario is basically even. That means for every dollar Ontario contributes Quebec contributes 83 cents and Alberta contributes $1.39! This all comes down to the fact that Albertan’s on average have higher wages and therefore on a per person basis pay more federal income tax. It is certainly a fact that Alberta contributes more on a per person basis to the federal coffers than any other province and gets no equalization payments back. Geoffrey if I am a “UCP low-information voter” and I found a very obvious error in your rant what does that make you?

      Reply
      • Bob Raynard

        April 9th, 2018

        Brian, anyone calling you a ‘low-information voter’ does so at their own peril. Nevertheless, Geoffrey’s point is valid; if people whose only information source is the Sun and Rebel Media were asked to sign a petition demanding Joe Ceci stop writing cheques to Ottawa, a fair number of them would probably sign it.

        Reply
  8. Sub-Boreal

    April 6th, 2018

    Twenty or 40 years from now, when political historians look back on the 4-year aberration of the Alberta NDP regime of the late ‘teens, what will strike them most? Will it be the swiftness and brutality of the restoration that followed? Will there be admiration for managing to implement overdue modernization in many areas of policy, making the province less of an outlier? Will their commentaries highlight the paths not taken – because of excessive caution, misreading of their mandate, or genuine constraints of the local political culture which limited the window of possibility? Or will they be struck by a sense of some level of tragedy? In particular, I mean the tragedy of bad timing: being too late for moderate social democratic measures to be effective because the years of easy oil revenues were over, but being too soon because their interregnum came before there was wide enough public awareness of the need for radical decarbonization of the economy.

    There will be an interesting dissertation topic for someone to compare / contrast the legacies of 1-term NDP provincial governments: how will the Alberta case stack up against BC (1972-75), Ontario (1990-95) and Nova Scotia (2009-13)?

    Reply

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