It appears Christmas came a little early for that unending and expensive Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion project, with word of another couple of billion dollars in loan guarantees arriving from Ottawa on Tibb’s Eve, the celebration on the day before Christmas Eve that’s marked in Newfoundland – and, by logical extension, in parts of Alberta. 

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

According to the Wikipedia, Tibb’s Eve is celebrated with merriment, and you’d think there would have been some merriment last night in those Alberta quarters that keep insisting more and better pipelines to Pacific Ocean “tidewater” must be built for Alberta’s oilsands to live long and prosper. 

Then again, maybe not, because it would appear that all the pipeline-adjacent Conservative politicians and oil executives in Alberta were too busy trying to get the federal Conservatives elected and complaining about what a lousy deal Alberta gets from Confederation even to say thank you to the Trudeau Government for continuing to bankroll the project with tax contributions from citizens in all parts of the Dominion. 

The federal government bought the project in 2018 and has been pouring money into it ever since. As a result, a majority of Albertans think Ottawa is trying to stop all pipelines to B.C. So they put bumper stickers on their pickup trucks explaining how much they despise Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 

Go figure! Anyway, the feds are taking too long, don’t ya know? 

The Reuters News Service yesterday cited information from Export Development Canada that Ottawa had ponied up additional loan guarantees of $2-billion for the already over-budget and behind-schedule project, now being run by the Crown-owned Trans Mountain Corp. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: Justin Trudeau/Flickr).

Ottawa backed up $6 billion in loans for the project this year and provided $10-billion in financing the year before to triple the flow of oilsands crude from Alberta to the Salish Sea, Reuters said. 

As for Tibb’s Eve, it’s said also to be “a folk expression for a day which will never arrive.”

That would be the day the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion pays for itself, I guess. 

Q: Will Danielle Smith admit vaccines work? A: No!

Meanwhile, no matter how full the province’s hospitals are, Danielle Smith still can’t bring herself to encourage Albertans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or influenza. 

That’s just one bridge too many for Alberta’s anti-vaccine, quackery-infatuated premier to cross. 

Yesterday, “Chris,” a caller to her free CORUS Entertainment Your Province/Your Premier radio program, asked her: “Will you say whether COVID vaccines are effective and will you encourage Albertans to get it? Yes or no.”

“Chris,” the premier responded in an exasperated tone, talking over her interlocutor’s protests, “we’re doing a five hundred and fourteen thousand, eight hundred and ninety dollars and seventy-eight cents advertising campaign so that everybody knows that immunization and vaccination is available at the pharmacy.”

“If you’re worried about RSV, there’s a vaccine available,” she barked. “If you’re worried about COVID there’s a vaccine available. If you’re worried about influenza there’s a vaccine available. If your doctor is recommending all three, take your doctor’s advice. That’s the best I can do for you, Chris.”

In other words, No, she won’t say that vaccines are effective, and she won’t recommend Albertans get vaccinated against the diseases that are once again pushing out hospitals into crisis.

Interpretation: Take Back Alberta is still running the UCP and Ms. Smith, who always was an anti-vaxxer at heart, is fine with that.

Merry Christmas everyone! 

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  1. I would like to point out that an RSV vaccination costs about $300 per shot. If one does the math, that’s 8.33 shots or one night in a luxury hotel in Dubai. Obviously Premier Marie Antoinette knows which is better value. It’s certainly not the lives of babies or the impecunious elderly! Gotta make that Alberta Pension Plan make sense.

    Such horror if she ever has to rub shoulders with the unwashed masses at a hockey game. Luxury private suites only, thank you. Send gifts now! Don’t scrimp. Madame needs a new pair of Jimmy Choos. Send the money you saved for the RSV vaccine.

    Happy holidays anyways!

  2. Serious question…when and why did “ocean” become “tidewater” in Alberta? To my ears, it sounds too much like “cement pond”, if you catch my drift.

    1. That’s an interesting question to ponder this night before Christmas when all through the house, nothing is stirring but my keyboard and mouse. … If you look up the term you will see that it is a defined geographic area of southeast Virginia, southern Maryland, and northeast North Carolina; a style of architecture; an accent in the U.S. south; a former name of Getty Petroleum; a community in Oregon; a town in Florida; and a marketing term used by industries and governments. The short Wikipedia entry on the topic, however, does not attempt to explain why this term might be to the advantage of those governments and industries. Perhaps because it is less specific than, say, “the Gulf of Mexico” or “the Salish Sea,” or even “the Pacific Ocean,” therefore being less likely to arouse either environmentalists or economic nationalists to opposition. Perhaps because it is vague, and might confuse or distract readers and voters. Perhaps because it was new, and sounded cooler than saying, as I have always thought was preferable, “the ocean.” Who knows? There must be a PhD thesis in this for someone! In the meantime, readers are welcome to suggest theories, which may someday become a blog post. DJC

      1. “Tidewater” is generic. It simply implies a body of water that experiences tides. Much like my bathwater when I enter and exit.
        Loading oil tankers at specific “ports”, so they then can then traverse specific “seas” “sounds” and “straits” to the wild “oceans”? You might draw some negative attention from people who call them home. Hence the bob and weave of weasel-speak. I mean who wants to be reminded that Alberta will soon be pumping some of it’s 800,000 daily barrels of TMX oil into tankers in Burnaby and then wishing the Captains fairweather, as they navigate the Strait of Juan de Fuca! Especially at Christmas! Happy New Year To all. PS I look forward to your next post on our current Princess of tidewater!

  3. Merry Christmas David and All the Best in the New Year to you and all the commentariat here. It’s going to be another eventful year, probably many distressing events but good fodder for blogsters…Mickey Rat

    1. Thank you, Mickey. And to you and yours. I’m afraid you’re right about the awfulness of the year ahead, but we can always hope that things take a turn for the better. DJC

  4. So Danielle is the Earth flat? Yes. Was the earth created in 7 days? Yes. And on it goes. Oh, and the tailing ponds close to Fort MacMurray – are the also harmless? Yes, I can drink from them, fer sure. My good buddy David Parker has, slight smirk observed from the Premier, and it ain’t harmed him.

    So my friends, any wonder why Danielle is as deranged as she is? Danielle also doesn’t seem to remember how short the supply and time of G.P.’s are. Perhaps because she uses a private clinic? Is she vaccinated?

    1. FA: Your last question is an interesting one. The jury is still out. A commenter who claimed to have known her as a young person insisted she is afraid of needles. I’m not a fan of ’em myself, but it helps if you just look away. As for her memory, to give her some credit, she remembered that her government has spent five hundred and fourteen thousand, eight hundred and ninety dollars and seventy-eight cents on that advertising campaign that’s had its teeth pulled so as to be useless. I checked. The number was right. Well, she was on radio, so perhaps she had a briefing note in front of her. DJC

      1. AND 78 CENTS. Trash can Dani has her eye on all the details, sleep tight Alberta, everything is under control

  5. During the Ralph Klein era I can remember lawyers telling us to take the MLAs or premier to court if you know they are lying or deliberately ignoring your questions after all you have the right to know the truth you’re their boss and they don’t dare lie in court.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.

    1. Alan: The problem with this, I would think, is one normally needs a legal justification to drag them into court. A tort, the need for a writ of mandamus, or something. Just lying? I doubt a court would hear it. DJC

  6. If I were Danielle Smith, I would watch out. At the rate she keeps on sticking her foot in her mouth, it’s going to meet her downfall as a politician, let alone a radio talk show host. She hasn’t learned anything from her political past. When lives are put in jeopardy, she can’t have a complacent attitude. It’s also the very pricey shenanigans the UCP are doing, which aren’t helping, when oil prices aren’t rising. Hope you have a Merry Christmas.

    1. Anonymous, Putting peoples lives at risk certainly got Ralph Klein sued and I wouldn’t be surprised if Smith is next. One guy told me that his uncle was one of the guys Klein killed with his healthcare cuts and his family sued him. They weren’t allowed to tell their family members what they got but he knew it was a lot because they went from being dirt poor farmers to Beverly Hillbilly types. After dad donated around $30,000. to the Alberta Conservative Party Klein almost killed him with his health care cuts and when family members needed a bed in a nursing home there was a waiting list of over 1,800 people in the public system so they were forced to accept a private for profit one at $10,600. per month. Now Danielle Smith wants to sell off all the public ones I recently read.In other words privatize the whole system. She will bankrupt many of her supporters and you can bet she won’t care.

  7. Merry Christmas to you, David, and all of your readers. Thank you, everyone, for making this blog so interesting, and especially for David, not only for his insightful thoughts, but also for weeding out the garbage so the comments are so interesting.


    1. Bob: In truth, I probably let more comments remain than I should, but if people seem to be sincere, and they’re staying on topic, I hate to say not. It usually gets pretty bad before I use the spike. DJC

  8. We were reminiscing over a slightly chilled bottle of our favourite plonk about simpler times…. when tanker bans and pipelines to New Brunswick were the ‘cause du jour’. Those were the days. Well, best wishes to all and to all a happy 2024!

  9. They guaranteed how many billion????? So that means if Alberta or whomever defaults on the loans/project the federal government has to come up with that money, as in our tax dollars? what the fxxk? About 7 people a day die in b.C. due to fent. overdoses. Halifax was on the news this evening regarding their homeless problem. B.C. has one also and now seniors are going to be bearing the brunt of it because their rents have gotten too high or the building is being torn down to make way for condos, which are not affordable forr seniors on a pension. In Vancouver, if you want to live a regular life in a one bedroom apartment you need to make $100K a year. Alberta wants a pipeline. They can pay for it themselves. There are unhoused people who need a decent roof over their heads and the food banks have so much demand for their services its hard for them to keep up.
    Merry Christmas everyone. Hope it was a good one. It rained and rained and rained on Vancouver Island, which is so much better than snow.

  10. A belated Merry Christmas to you and all your family and close friends, and Happy Boxing Day — or “we survived another Christmas” Day — as well. Happy 2024 too!

    As for the pipeline story, back in the early 20-teens, right-wing columnists and pundits were accusing centrist and left-leaning politicians of harbouring “Harper Derangement Syndrome” — calling legitimate concerns about Stephen Harper’s defanging of democracy “paranoia”.

    Well, the level of “Trudeau Derangement Syndrome” at play in Canada today is far more virulent than what was going on a scant eight to 10 years ago.

    While I am no apologist for PM Justin Trudeau and his government — I think they are dithering, ineffectual excuses for a “progressive” government who only do things that truly help Canadians if they are pushed hard by their junior partners in government, Jagmeet Singh’s NDP — he and they have done nothing to deserve the level of contempt, hatred and vitriol levelled towards them day in and day out.

  11. I’m sorry readers and David. However, 2024 in Alberta will suck more than 2023 ever did. I don’t see any path by which intelligent and compassionate Albertans can rid themselves of Batshit, the UCP, or TBA until the next election in 2027.

    Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but…

    1. All it will take is for 6 UCP MLAs to decide that enough is enough and vote with an NDP non-confidence vote. I keep hoping.

      1. Bob: I have a list of about 10 UCP MLAs, including a few cabinet ministers, who might be brave and principled enough to do that if things got bad enough, or maybe not. That list used to be a bit longer. I’m told that the UCP Caucus actually quite likes Premier Smith, though, because she appears to listen to them, unlike the previous occupant of her job, who demanded loyalty and wouldn’t even give them a meeting in return. So, probably your hope is misplaced. DJC

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