Alberta Politics
Enbridge Line 3 construction in Wisconsin (Photo: Enbridge Inc.)

Will Alberta conservatives blame Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau for Line 3 delays in Minnesota? Of course they will!

Posted on March 03, 2019, 1:34 am
6 mins

Will Alberta’s conservatives find a way to blame Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the delays in construction Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 Expansion announced yesterday?

Why not? Given the credulity demonstrated by Alberta’s mainstream media when it comes to such stories, such an effort should get plenty of ink, or at least its virtual equivalent.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz (Photo: United States Congress, Public Domain).

After all, conservatives have happily labelled a failure the Alberta NDP’s strategy of placating Canadian pipeline opposition with a combination of environmental measures designed to lower the province’s carbon footprint and a public influence campaign. And they widely circulate claims Liberals in Ottawa have actually used the Canadian regulatory process to stall the Trans Mountain Pipeline and kill Calgary-based Enbridge’s Northern Gateway project.

Never mind that the evidence doesn’t support either of these conspiracy theories, they are both widely believed in Alberta. (Note to readers who accuse me of carrying Mr. Trudeau’s water on this one: I still haven’t received my cheque!)

Line 3’s ambitious building schedule, after all, seems to have run afoul of the time it takes to get construction permits issued in the state of Minnesota. So presumably conservatives on this side of the 49th Parallel would have argued this is another failure of “social licence” – as opposed, one supposes, to a success of “the rule of law” – even if newly elected Minnesota Governor Tim Walz had not been a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, as that state’s Democrats are quaintly known. (I didn’t make that up!)

United States Senator Eugene McCarthy, Democrat of Minnesota from 1959 to 1971 (Photo: U.S. Senate Historical Office, Public Domain).

What’s more, according to the Canadian Press account of yesterday’s Enbridge development, Mr. Walz, a former U.S. Senator, has asked his state’s Commerce Department to petition its Public Utility Commission to reconsider its approval of Line 3. His predecessor, two-term DFL governor Mark Dayton, tried the same thing, although without much success.

At the very least, Alberta conservatives can blame “foreign funded” environmentalists for this – even if they happen to be elected officials in, you know, a foreign country.

Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons).

What’s more, Eugene McCarthy, the poet and prominent opponent of the Vietnam War, served Minnesota in the U.S. Senate from 1959 to 1971. Surely there’s a way for Trump-loving Alberta conservatives to blame Ms. Notley for that as well, and to add it to the reasons for their overwrought demands for Prime Minister Trudeau’s resignation. Liberals, ya know!

Nevertheless, one can be skeptical of the claims by Bloomberg News that a one-year delay in the Line 3 expansion is “a crushing setback for Canadian oil producers” while still recognizing the company’s announcement is a real political problem for the Canadian federal government and especially the Alberta NDP.

As an aside, fossil fuel extractors are not producers in the way farmers are producers of beef or barley, or even agricultural products like cheese that have undergone a chemical change, the make-believe language of the business pages notwithstanding.

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers (Photo: Tony Evers Flickr, Creative Commons).

Meanwhile, the proud cheese producers of the state of Wisconsin on the other side of the clear waters of the St. Croix River had already approved their state’s section of Line 3 during the governorship of the notoriously anti-liberal Republican Scott Walker.

But now there’s a Democratic governor in that state too – which I’d bet if you asked Alberta conservatives is just one more thing to blame on their Canadian opponents.

No sooner was Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers sworn in on Jan. 7 than he was talking up a “liberal wish list” that includes funding Planned Parenthood and legalizing medical marijuana! So before you know it, Wisconsinites will probably be finishing their sentences with “eh?” – just as they already do in Minnesota, we are reliably informed.

It’s not yet clear whom Alberta Conservatives will blame for lower prices for crude from Canadian bitumen once post-coup Venezuela starts shipping tanker loads of cheap South American crude across the Gulf of Mexico to the refineries of the Gulf Coast, but you can bet on it that it won’t be themselves.

5 Comments to: Will Alberta conservatives blame Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau for Line 3 delays in Minnesota? Of course they will!

  1. Farmer Dave

    March 3rd, 2019

    The one thing most Albertans don’t understand that in order to balance the Alberta budget would need to close 50% of hospitals, schools and all other government Institutions, and those are the ones most Albertan’s complain about and want. I’m still waiting for Jason Kenney (JK) to explain how he will fix this and I don’t think he has a clue how to explain this to Albertans, and all he is doing is massaging the political truth for his own political gain. JK need to come forward and explain what measures he will use to balance the Alberta budget and I don’t think he has the intestinal fortitude or political will to do that, only using political lies to win for himself only.

  2. Geoffrey Pounder

    March 3rd, 2019

    “Conservatives have happily labelled a failure the Alberta NDP’s strategy of placating Canadian pipeline opposition with a combination of environmental measures designed to lower the province’s carbon footprint and a public influence campaign.”

    Not just conservatives. Greens, environmentalists, scientists, energy economists, the OECD, anybody with a calculator.

    • Under AB’s climate plan, AB’s grossly under-reported emissions will likely go UP, not down.
    • Rising oilsands emissions offset reductions elsewhere and blow Canada’s targets out of the water for decades.
    • AB’s climate plan sets no targets or timelines.
    • Building fossil-fuel infrastructure locks us into a fossil-fuel future for decades.

    The UN, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the federal Environment Commissioner all issued warnings in 2017 that Canada is NOT on track to meet its targets. The main obstacle? Rising oilsands emissions.
    OECD: “Without a drastic decrease in the emissions intensity of the oilsands industry, the projected increase in oil production may seriously risk the achievement of Canada’s climate mitigation targets.”

    Prof. Mark Jaccard, SFU: “National studies by independent researchers (including my university-based group) consistently show that Mr. Trudeau’s 2015 Paris promise of a 30% reduction by 2030 is unachievable with oilsands expansion.”

    AB’s 100+ Mt oilsands emissions cap represents more than two thirds of Canada’s 2050 target (150 Mt). Add emissions from AB’s conventional oil and natural gas sectors, as well as AB’s population growth and urban sprawl. How could that possibly work?

    Pipelines for a small carbon tax never made sense. Hopelessly contradictory policy.
    Buying (or assuming) social license for pipelines in one province with a small carbon tax in another? Absurd.

    The aim of AB’s Climate Plan was to “roughly stabilize emissions, by 2030, just above current levels”, not reduce them.
    “Many will look at these emissions reductions and claim that our policies will not place AB on a trajectory consistent with global 2o C goals, and in some sense this is true – the policies proposed for Alberta in this document would not, if applied in all jurisdictions in the world, lead to global goals being accomplished.”
    “Climate Leadership Report to Minister”, 2015

    Notley and Trudeau are betting that the world will fail to take real action on climate change. That is the only scenario in which oilsands expansion makes sense.

    The AB Govt’s pipeline advertising has been variously debunked:
    Robyn Allan dispels the myths and fear-mongering:
    “False oil price narrative used to scare Canadians into accepting Trans Mountain pipeline expansion” (National Observer, 26-Nov-18)

    J. David Hughes: “Fact-checking Alberta’s pipeline ads” (Edmonton Journal, Feb 20, 2019)

    “public influence campaign”
    Is that the new euphemism for spin and propaganda? Manufactured consent?
    We can’t even call propaganda by its proper name anymore. How Orwellian is that?

    • Geoffrey Pounder

      March 4th, 2019

      “How Alberta is getting away with running deceptive ads on Trans Mountain”
      “Canada’s Code of Advertising Standards is meant to ensure accuracy, but doesn’t apply to ‘political issues’
      “The Canadian Code of Advertising Standards — including the important rules that ensure advertisements are accurate and not deceptive or misleading — don’t apply to advertising paid for by the government that is deemed to be about a ‘political issue.’
      (The Narwhal, Oct 4, 2018)

      This article should make NDP supporters angry.
      I frequently confront UCP zealots and climate change deniers: “Do facts matter?” Increasingly, the question is coming up on the left.

      Notley is a scam-artist. The sooner we dump faux-progressive politicians, the sooner we can return to sanity, science-based policy, and traditional NDP values.

  3. Farmer Brian

    March 3rd, 2019

    I think politics at times certainly focus on the wrong issues. I certainly agree David that the UCP will try to make hay on this issue. I think the bigger picture is more important. In the final quarter of 2018 according to Statscan Canada’s economic growth basically flatlined. There is an interesting article on the CBC news site by Trevor Tombe titled: “December earnings in Alberta show slight decline from previous year:Statscan.” From this article “Statscan numbers show total amount of compensation-earnings as well as benefits like Employment insurance contributions and health coverage-that Alberta workers collected in December fell 2.2 percent from a year earlier, from $13.42 billion in December 2017 to $13.38 billion in December 2018.” There is in my opinion a connection between the ability to get export pipelines built and the lacklustre economic performance of late. For Premier Notley entering an election period with a slowing economy and very little good news on the pipeline front certainly doesn’t bode well. I do agree there was nothing that an Alberta Premier could do to change what has occurred with Enbridge’s line 3 but in the political realm that won’t matter. Enjoy your day.

  4. Dave

    March 4th, 2019

    Canadian growth may have flatlined recently, supposedly due to pipeline delays – that seems to be the favorite Conservative talking point of the week. It sounds sort of serious or ominous, but it doesn’t take much to show how hollow this is.
    Remember back in 2015 when the Conservatives were in power, growth didn’t just flat line, it was in the red – the economy was declining! Interestingly, the decline ended right after the Harper Conservatives were replaced and until recently growth has been surprisingly strong under the Liberals.

    I find the long standing American parody line – Blame Canada a bit amusing. However the Conservatives seem to have adopted blame Trudeau as a serious argument and have over relied on it to the point of them risking becoming the joke. Yes, I have no doubt they will somehow try to tie Trudeau and perhaps Premier Notley also to the latest pipeline delay in Minnesota. However, if anything this delay should serve to show us that the difficulty in getting controversial pipeline projects approved is not just a problem unique to Canada.

    Of course the Conservatives will totally miss that important point and just continue to natter on in an overwraught way about Trudeau being the cause of all our problems.


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