As Christmas gifts go, it isn’t what you dreamed of finding under the tree as a child.
But in Alberta the best present all of us with a modicum of common sense are hoping for is the construction of a new pipeline. Glory be, if we announced that to those assorted billions living elsewhere on our planet we’d undoubtedly be branded the most boring bunch of hicks imaginable, even by our dull Canadian standards.
“Come on: really? A pipeline, for heaven’s sake? Like one of those big, long steel tube thingies that go in the ground? And that’s it? That’s your dream?”
Yep, you have to agree it isn’t exactly “give me liberty or give me death” in the heart pumping, cry-from-the-heart rhetoric stakes now, is it?
But thanks to the inaction and duplicity of various levels of government, the deliberate poisoning of minds by well-funded special interest groups, and the sheer, overwhelming ignorance and hypocrisy of too many fellow Canadians, we are indeed wishing upon some strange star to see construction underway on just such an engineering project. West, south, east or north, hey, we’ll take it.
Actually, the well-orchestrated campaign against our pipelines by organizations such as the Tides Foundation environmental bunch, partly funded by the Rockefeller family (don’t you wish they’d take their collective family guilt elsewhere?), are more deserving of grudging respect.
Their purpose is simple and clear and they’ve gone about it with hard-nosed precision allied to some very deep pockets. The goal has nothing to do with boring pipelines, of course, but everything to do with shuttering the entire heavy oil industry of Alberta.
To that end, finding and funding some well-meaning dupes to stand in front of the occasional earth mover and sing “We shall overcome,” like their great aunt once did on Max Yasgur’s muddy farm half a century ago, is a simple but effective tactic, especially if you can also hitch your star to some aggrieved Indigenous group and take a free ride on the cultural guilt trip.
No, the ones that really frustrate and annoy Calgarians are those blithely taking the huge benefits the energy business brings to Canada and yet contentedly wallow in some weird moral superiority by condemning that very same industry.
Now for our own teenagers that’s fine. We love them and we were once there ourselves. They want to rebel but are aghast if mom doesn’t have supper on the table.
But the premier of Quebec is way beyond his teenage years.
It was Francois Legault who said there was no acceptance in his province for what he called a dirty oil pipeline from Alberta. Somehow he thinks Quebecers are immune from the desires that drive so many other Canadians.
Well, he’s wrong as a recent survey shows the province’s citizens slurping up record amounts of gas while buying more monster SUVs and bigger homes. Yep, while being green is nice, spending the green is even better and Quebecers are among the heaviest users of energy on the planet.
Actually, the people of Quebec are a lot smarter than their politicians (another thing the citizens of La Belle Province have in common with those in Wild Rose land).
Last week, a poll showed a vast majority would prefer oil coming from Western Canada than arriving by tankers from those dubious centres of emancipation and environmental stewardship, such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Algeria, as it does today.
See, there’s hope. It’s just buried under an avalanche of misinformation, political gamesmanship and hypocrisy.
In the end, Alberta will overcome, not some fair-weather protester who will one day buy a truck and, while filling it with 100 litres, will grumble about high taxes.
Still, right now we could do with a helping hand. So remember, you’re never too grown up not to search the skies tonight. And, if indeed you spot something, then you know what to wish for. Merry Christmas.
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