With Wynne and Trudeau onboard, only Quebec remains as a potential political obstacle to Energy East
Rachel Notley had a good day Friday. In the morning, Ont. Premier Kathleen Wynne backed the Energy East project. In the afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the pipeline love in.
Trudeau is attending the World Economic Forum. After a tempest in a teapot broke out back home, with Alberta’s opposition leader Brian Jean and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi squabbling with Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre over Energy East and sundry related issues, the Prime Minister addressed pipelines with reporters at a media conference.
“I am solidly in one camp on this one,” he said, as reported by the Globe and Mail. “I am very much in the camp of both premiers, [Ontario’s Kathleen] Wynne and [Alberta’ Rachel] Notley, who demonstrated that Canada can and should work together on economic issues for all of us.”
“Canadians believe that a strong economy goes hand in hand with a strong and protected environment, and that’s exactly what we’re committed to,” he said. “I’m feeling very good about our capacity to get our resources to market in a responsible and environmentally sustainable way.”
In her statement, Wynne praised the Canadian Energy Strategy, the national approach endorsed by the premiers last year, and noted that addressing climate change, protecting the environment, and developing energy resources can all be part of a balanced strategy.
She said Alberta’s new climate plan – in particular the cap on emissions from the oil sands – makes the national conversation about climate targets and pipelines easier.
“We appreciate that there is a need for a way to get Canadian oil, which is allowed under Alberta’s new emission cap to overseas markets,” she said in a statement.
“And the people of Ontario care a great deal about the national economy and the potential jobs this proposed pipeline project could create in our province and across the country.”
Wildrose Party leader Jean, meanwhile, didn’t fare as well as Alberta counterpart.
Here is Montreal Mayor Dennis Coderre speaking on a popular Radio Canada show about Jean: “First of all, you have to allow me a moment to laugh at a guy like Brian Jean, when he says he relies on science. These are the same guys who think the Flintstones is a documentary. But that’s another story.”
Not surprisingly, many Albertans were outraged by Coderre’s remarks.
But they’re missing the point.
This not Quebec’s first rodeo in Confederation. Quebec politicians are masters at negotiating deals with the Canadian government and other provinces to the great benefit of Quebec.
Ontario has signed on to support Energy East. The Liberal Government has signed on to support Energy East.
Quebec, including Coderre, knows full well its support is needed and someone is going to have to pay, existing equalization payments be damned.
This is the way Canada works. It’s the way Canada has always worked.
As I predicted in a number of columns last year, it now appears Alberta will pull off a “climate change mitigation for pipelines” deal, creating the political climate for Energy East to be built.
Yup, Friday was a very good day for Rachel Notley.