In what can only be seen as the Conservatives distancing themselves from growing national dissent against the pipeline industry, in an interview with CBC News, Industry Minister James Moore indicated the federal government had done all it could to help the development of the Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway pipelines.
The onus was now on Kinder Morgan and Enbridge to successfully navigate their way through the concerns of First Nations and Canadians, the conditions layed out by the environmental agency reviews and those of British Columbia and the municipalities.
For several years now, the Conservatives threw most of their capital behind the oilsands industry and its necessary infrastructure to transport that oil to market, the pipelines. I covered their unwillingness to realize they had lost the public’s trust because of the single-minded pursuit of their energy development policies and the absolute need for social license in today’s era of resource development.
Bullying their way through environmental and water protection law rewrites, refusing to develop policy that helps Canada meets its commitments against climate change, and the not-so-subtle threat to the United States was an overconfident, bull-in-a-China shop act that netted few results.
Mr. Moore may well believe that they couldn’t have done anything differently, but we all know a different path born of collaboration, incorporating green technology investment and carbon pricing to deliver strong economic performance for Canada remains possible.
A comprehensive plan with multi-industry input, investment and productivity spreads any risk inherent in a volatile global economy. As the CBC interview demonstrates, the Harper government belatedly recognized the folly of it’s all-eggs-in-one-basket approach. Particularly as the price of oil plummets to $50 per barrel range, reducing the probability of any new Oilsands development in Canada until prices rebound. Their statistical skills may be questionable, but everyone can subtract 80 or 90 from 50 and know it’s a number in the red.
So, oilsands and aggressive stances against those who disagree is very 2011, while technology, the consumer, income splitting, Ontario manufacturing, small business, PM Harper with his new rock group are 2015’s baubles.
In case you’ve forgotten, we are now in 2015 election-mode. Canadian political parties’ revisionism is just warming up.