The rule of law is such a wonderful thing, as long as you get the verdict you want.
But what if the ruling goes against you? Well, no problem: you can simply ignore that minor setback and instead plan to do things the ugly way.
Yes, that’s where we sit with the endless gong show surrounding the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast after the Federal Court of Appeal unanimously tossed out the latest lawsuit brought by four Indigenous communities aimed at scuppering the project.
The court even suggested it suspected this lawsuit had been deliberately drawn out to cause maximum disruption to the pipeline’s chances. Hey, you don’t say? Well, strike me down with a bolt from that bleedin’ obvious universe.
The court also awarded costs against these agitators, though I suspect the Tides lot in the U.S., or the hand-wringing Rockefeller bunch, endlessly wallowing in their earlier-generational oil wealth, will be tempted to pony up any required ducats to cover that tab, if they haven’t already done so.
Anyhow, now there’s just one final kick at the legal cat remaining, an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. Of course, that’s if the top court indeed chooses to hear such a request.
Come on, surely even our endlessly malleable legal establishment, where being “on the clock” is akin to breathing, can’t bend over that far backwards can they? Honestly, they might do those supreme but aging backs a nasty bit of mischief if they actually grant this plea.
Still, regardless of that will-they-or-won’t-they decision, the penny’s already dropped — kerplunk — amongst those various protest groups knee-deep in this long-running saga: one that, in essence, involves halting anything with an energy component ever again being built in Canada, regardless if it creates jobs and wealth.
After the recent court ruling, Tsleil-Waututh Nation member Will George announced: “If it has to get ugly, it will get ugly.” Yep, the legal thread’s run its course so, brothers, sisters and those anywhere in-between, we’re off to the barricades.
So, pity the poor folk of Burnaby. Last time this lot descended on their nice community and made it protest party central the local bylaw officers were needed to curtail the subsequent mess.
Saving the planet — or keeping the Canadian part of our glorious globe pristine in honour of various vague ancestors — doesn’t translate into picking up your own garbage, it seems.
Of course, anyone trying to follow this farce from afar can be forgiven if they get their protests mixed up.
Because the nastiness involving the hereditary chiefs and their fervent fellow travellers trying to block a different project — construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline — is
ramping up across the whole country
. Our friend Will George better increase that ugly factor, big time, if his lot is to regain the limelight and subsequent headlines instead of this hereditary bunch.
Meanwhile, the feds are due to make a decision on the
Teck oilsands mine
this month. If they reaffirm the green light, then bet your last dollar another offshoot of the endlessly aggrieved will soon by jockeying for position at this latest trough of self-righteousness.
Sorry for the flippancy, but the alternative is viewing this abject mess through a thin veil of anger, which is how more and more regular Albertans see things these days.
The pressure’s building inside this province, something Premier Jason Kenney’s well aware of, hence
his strident appeals
to Ottawa and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Yet, in return, we get stubborn, silly silence or flim-flam fakery: OK, watch the Teck decision be a cowardly call for yet more consultation — a sneaky way of killing the project through delay, rather than an outright thumbs down.
There’s a backlash a-coming. And sadly, to quote our pal Will George, yes, it will be ugly.
Chris Nelson is a regular columnist for the Calgary Herald.
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