Alberta premier meets rich and powerful guys in New York, feels right at home

Posted on February 09, 2015, 1:49 am
6 mins

PHOTOS: Gaudeamus igitur! Veritas non sequitur? A crowd like this listened intently in this very room when Alberta Premier Jim Prentice popped into the Harvard Club of New York for chuckles and chat last Friday. Below: Mr. Prentice, in a suit very much like the one he wore to the club; Ambassador Gary Doer in a suit very much like Mr. Prentice’s; the exterior of the famed establishment, which is said to pour a short glass of wine, much to its members’ irritation.

Premier Jim Prentice popped into the Harvard Club of New York on Friday and – who knows? – he may even have impressed the club’s well-heeled and well-connected members.

Mr. Prentice certainly seems to have managed to impress the hell out of one of the Canadian reporters who accompanied him to the august society’s discreet premises on West 44th Street in lower Manhattan.

800px-Jim_Prentice_fullSo much so, indeed, that while the scribe was hyperventilating about the décor and atmosphere of power and privilege inside the club, he didn’t actually manage to tell readers very much at all about what the premier had to say while he was there. Apparently, however, Mr. Prentice acted right at home.

Anyway, according to the Calgary Herald’s breathless 1,088-word account of the visit, Mr. Prentice gave a speech. What he said in the speech – other than a little joke prompting a few “appreciative chuckles” about how he could so easily been one of their Harvard Club confreres if he had only wished – we readers were offered very few hints. (I’m not making this up! Read the story for yourself.)

In fairness, the story does contain some very nice quotes about Mr. Prentice from folks the premier encountered along the way during his just-ended U.S. tour, including the Canadian Ambassador to Washington, who could hardly be expected to badmouth the guy even if the envoy did used to be a New Democrat.

GaryDoer2The CBC provided us with a few lines more of the substance of Mr. Prentice’s speech, although not all that many, and perhaps the Premier’s Office will be so kind as to provide us Albertans this week with a transcript as they did last week of Mr. Prentice’s remarks to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In that one, he quoted neoliberal economist Milton Friedman, claimed inspiration from Theodore Roosevelt (who graduated from Harvard in 1880), called for “deeper economic integration” between Canada and the United States, touted the carbon capture fairy tale, and praised free markets “when they are allowed to work” – which presumably means when they allow pipelines to be built that are not wanted by the people who live alongside their path and make little economic sense as a result of the prices their contents will fetch, never mind the environmental implications.

If that is indeed what Mr. Prentice said in New York, I’m sure it went down just fine with the well-heeled luncheon crowd at the Harvard Club.

Regardless, we were advised that after the Harvard Club bunfest, Mr. Prentice told Albertans through the medium of the gathered Canadian reporters that “the biggest problem we’ve had in the past is an inability to get our message out as Albertans.”

If your blogger may be so bold, I’m not sure this really is the problem. It’s not so much that we’ve been having a problem disseminating our message – which seems to be, We will pump dilbit, by God, through your territory, whether you like it or not! – but that a lot of people south of the Medicine Line, apparently including the President of the United States, are not particularly enthusiastic about it.

HarvardClubNevertheless, said Premier Prentice, “I intend to make sure that the voices of Albertans are heard, in Washington, in New York. They haven’t been heard in the past always, and I’m going to ensure that that happens.”

He seems to be ensuring it happens by only talking with people who agree with him. And how is that different, pray, from Alberta’s old management?

For his part, meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is on record telling U.S. President Barack Obama that he’s not going to take “no” for an answer either.

As for Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer, the former New Democrat mentioned above, he tells us it’s OK for Alberta politicians like Messrs. Prentice and Harper to speak only to rich Republicans and slam Mr. Obama whenever they feel like it because “they’re not a cupcake in the White House.”

No, they’re not, actually. They’re a bunch of tough operators from Chicago who remember who their friends are. They won’t be happy on a number of fronts if they think powerful Canadians are pushing for a Republican in the White House in 2016.

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this approach?

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11 Comments to: Alberta premier meets rich and powerful guys in New York, feels right at home

  1. Bloozguy

    February 9th, 2015

    “…seems to have managed to impress the hell out of one of the Canadian reporters..” Surely you meant to say “Canadian stenographers”

    • Sam Gunsch

      February 9th, 2015

      Thanks for the link.

      Maybe AB actually now has a TeaParty Republican Premier on climate change?

      see this statement by Prentice from the transcripts.

      I read it as: He’s planning AB’s future around a Business-As-Usual carbon emissions scenario that cooks away our chances for climate stability.


      Prentice excerpt: But at the end of the day, if you look forward 50 years, there’s no one who’s seriously suggesting that we will need any fewer hydrocarbons than we do today.


      wow. Danielle Smith HAS found her ideological climate-head-in-sand political mate.

      The world is already in a climate emergency and Prentice thinks civilization will survive the warming induced by Business-As-Usual burning of fossil fuels?!

      It’s simply an immoral position to not fight against a BAU GHG emissions path.
      Even economic advisors to the PC’s under Stelmach warned AB needs to get off the petro-dominance path.

      But, no, Petro-Prentice says go-all-in on screw the next generations.
      Cheer-leader-in-chief for Ir-Responsible Development.

      Maybe AB rural communities would be concerned about Prentice’s plan to AB on the BAU carbon production path, if Prentice were to mention that the climate models forecast BAU carbon emissions scenarios which produce ongoing Dust-bowl conditions in North America’s Central Plains.

      Mega-droughts are expected.
      Make the heat and dryness of the Dirty 30’s look cool.

      Rural communities remember that much of AB SE prairies almost
      emptied of farmers in the 30’s.

      A stable climate is not optional for agriculture, i.e. food production.

      Links below:

      Unchecked Warming To Dust-Bowlify Southwest, Central Plains, Amazon, Europe For Centuries

      excerpt: ‘We do know it will get much, much hotter than the 1930s Dust Bowl. And that the droughts will last much longer than one decade. A study last month found that by failing to curb carbon pollution, humans are dramatically increasing the chances of multi-decade megadroughts that in the past have overturned entire civilizations.’

      excerpt: ‘If anything like these projections come true — and as noted they are consistent with virtually all of the recent published literature — then large part of the currently populated and arable land around the world will be laid waste. And that will be “largely irreversible for 1,000 years after emissions stop,” as a NOAA-led study explained in 2009.

      With such a ruined climate, it would be unimaginably challenging to feed even the current population of 7 billion, let alone the 10 billion people now forecast for the second half of the century. Obviously it would be beyond the immoral for us to let anything close to this happen.”


      IPCC Scientists Emphasize Immorality Of Inaction By Focusing On ‘Irreversible Impacts’

  2. pogo

    February 9th, 2015

    So, like my poor Alison who only had her reputation to burn, golden boy has to go dick wavin’ in New effing York City. Choice. Kick this fucking useless egotistical prick in the balls by voting anybody but PC!!

    • pogo

      February 9th, 2015

      Now that we’ve entered the land of Harper selling arms to fascist mercenaries in Ukraine while bombing parked cars in Syria, I thought it more appropriate to post some of Bruce’s Reagan era protest. Back then it was latin commies. Now it’s teenage Somalies and Russian super thugs! Are you terrified yet? Booo!!!! Booogidy!!!! Fucking Boo! Ya vote conservative! Genius move!

  3. pogo

    February 9th, 2015

    Charles Pierce Esquire
    “There may no longer be laws strong enough to control the crimes committed by capital in motion, for all the collateral damage that the money doesn’t even notice as it rockets around the world to all the wrong places. There will always be someone willing to do business with anyone. The amorality of it is the easy part.”

    Jim Prentice; come on down!

  4. Expat Albertan

    February 9th, 2015

    “… praised free markets “when they are allowed to work,,,”

    And if they don’t work the way we want them to, we’ll just tell big bad government to either rewrite the rules or raid the piggy bank for us.

  5. TC

    February 10th, 2015

    There’s nothing wrong with this approach. I may not agree with their positions, but I think it’s their duty to promote what they perceive to be Canadian/Alberta interests abroad.

    Moreover, the JFK administration (secretly) sent operatives in Canada to defeat John Diefenbaker too. This isn’t particularly new.


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