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The Pipeline War Continues

Frank Atkins

I have always thought that leftists have odd ideas. This is largely because they do not actually think about issues, believing any ideas they have are morally superior and are not subject to scrutiny. This goes all the way back to the 1960s when David Lewis was the first leader of the federal NDP. In every election in those days, the NDP finished last with few seats. Undaunted, Mr. Lewis always called this a moral victory. As a result of this self-proclaimed moral superiority, leftists are often hypocritical. Maddeningly, they cannot see this. I wrote about this recently when British Columbia Premier John Horgan mused about subsidizing high gasoline prices. Pity the poor British Columbia resident who would have to drive less because gas prices go up. I thought that was the whole idea of instituting a carbon tax.

This type of behaviour has surfaced again on the never-ending battle over the Trans Mountain pipeline. In 2018, Mr. Horgan proposed restricting the flow of bitumen within its borders, arguing it posed an environmental threat. Mr. Horgan has in the past promised to use “every tool in the toolbox” to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline. In response to this, Premier Jason Kenney enacted the “turn off the taps” legislation, which would allow the province to cut oil and gas shipments to British Columbia if the Horgan government blocked the Trans Mountain pipeline.

As they promised, the Horgan government went to court and was granted a temporary injunction against the Alberta legislation. In granting the temporary injunction, the judge stated that the Alberta legislation could cause irreparable harm to the residents of British Columbia. In my mind, this is where the hypocrisy emerges once again. I cannot understand where the irreparable damage will arise. Perhaps the people of British Columbia, who will not be able to buy gasoline, will be prevented from driving their cars to the protests against the use of fossil fuels. I suppose this would somehow violate their right to express their opinions. British Columbia may even be forced to buy gasoline from the United States, but this might cost more and cause irreparable damage to their personal budgets.

I cannot see a good ending to this battle. Clearly, it is important to the Alberta economy to get this pipeline built, and this would create much-needed jobs. However, this does not seem to matter to anyone west of Alberta. In spite of how important this pipeline is to Alberta, if the citizens of British Columbia are somehow inconvenienced, this is deemed to be irreparable damage. So, the temporary injunction will allow the citizens of British Columbia, who seem to love to drive, to continue to chant the environmental mantra of the anti-oil and anti-pipelines lobbyists. This hypocrisy should make every Albertan angry. This will also fan the flames of the smouldering Alberta separatist movement.

Frank Atkins is a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.