April 9, 2018 I observe that we live in a dangerous world. It is in our national news every day. But do we realize we have dangerous elements at home, that threaten our basic well being? Carefully observe the pipeline protesters. They are placing our democracy and economic order in peril. The RCMP say they have arrested about 200 people demonstrating around the Trans Mountain facilities since mid-March, and while most face charges for civil contempt, officers have also made arrests for mischief, obstruction, and assault of a police officer.
We also have a BC Premier who is implementing a policy for the fringe radicals. His words about defending BC interests, are bogus. Most BCers see through his rhetoric. Sadly, he has boxed himself into a corner, and he believes he must play out his maneuvers for political reasons. There is no legitimate claim that his actions are related to environmental protection. The protesters are wrong on technical-safety grounds, and moreover on any legal basis.
The BC Kinder-Morgan pipeline is appropriate at this time in our history. The years of analysis, exhaustive review, and approvals have all been done. The time for dissent is over. At this point, individuals have a right in our society to express an opinion, that they don’t like the final decision. However, they don’t have a right to obstruct or delay by one day, any progress on the project.
The Trans Mountain project would twin an existing pipeline, tripling the flow of oil flowing to the B.C. coast from Alberta. To date, the company says it has spent about $1.1 billion. However, the announcement on April 8/18 that Kinder Morgan is halting all "non-essential activities and related spending" on the project, leaving the future of the $7.4 billion project up in the air, is a problem for all of Canada. Bad behaviour by a minority has its consequences.
If the company cannot reach an agreement with the various stakeholders by the May 31 deadline, Kinder Morgan chairman Steve Kean says it is "difficult to conceive of any scenario in which we would proceed with the project." “We can’t move the seasons in Canada. There are certain seasons during which you can do certain things”.
Alberta Premier Notley said the pipeline “must be built” and threatened government action against B.C. if the Horgan government continued to oppose the project. She called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to act in defense of the project and be more active. “Albertans have been clear: Get this pipeline built. And Albertans are right.” “Never count Alberta out. This pipeline will be built. Tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars to the economy. Better public schools. Better public hospitals. That’s what this pipeline means for us and for our country as a whole. We have won a series of important and decisive legal victories. The courts threw out B.C.’s last case without even hearing it. And I am confident we will continue to win. We are also calling on the federal government to act in the defense of Alberta and working people in Western Canada in the way they have in the past for other parts of this country. A federal approval of a project must be worth more than the paper it’s written on.”
B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson criticized the BC NDP government. “The premier has let his activist environment minister ignore the rule of law, as this government picks winners and losers by willfully ignoring the constitution”. “Investors, large and small, interested in our Province need to know the Provincial Government will treat everyone fairly and equally.” “This is a project that has received federal approval and falls under federal jurisdiction, yet the NDP used it to pick a trade war with Alberta and start a confrontation with the federal government.”
In conclusion, it is not in the interests of B.C. for investors to calculate that B.C. is not a good place to invest. There are broad ripple-effect consequences. For a society not to be able to have orderly decision making, cuts deeply into nationhood. Rule by the rabble is a mockery, in view of all the blood that was spilled to defend Canadian values and build a peaceful orderly society. The problem is much bigger than just some misguided folk digging in with their personal decision to trump and overrule the official decision represented by the majority of Canadians. The issue goes to the core of Canada, and its ability to live as a viable democracy under the rule of law, and to face-down those who don’t like Canada’s success. We live in a dangerous adversarial world. I hope Canada is able to respond to that challenge.