COLUMN: Levant – BC Premier demands “Fair Share” of Alberta oil sands money for Pacific access

- July 26th, 2012

B.C. pipeline blockade is un-Canadian

By: Ezra Levant

Should the province of British Columbia be able to set up an economic blockade of Alberta?

Should B.C. be able to stop Alberta from having access to the Pacific Ocean?

When that happens between different countries, it’s called an act of war.

Alberta and B.C. are the closest of friends in a united Canada, not different countries. But you wouldn’t know it from yesterday’s announcement by B.C. Premier Christy Clark to extort money out of Alberta in return for “letting” Alberta have access to the Pacific.

Clark said that if Alberta oil companies don’t pay her a “fair share” of oilsands money, she’s going to block the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the west coast.

Could you imagine if a local politician, back in the 1880s, didn’t want the Canadian Pacific Railway to go through, or in the 1950s didn’t want the Trans-Canada Highway to go through – unless the trains or trucks stopped and paid a big toll?

It’s illegal under our constitution, of course – the federal government, with its larger vision and responsibilities, gets to make those decisions.

If the federal government doesn’t ensure fair transit across the country, the results are disastrous – like what happened to Newfoundland and Labrador, with the Churchill Falls power plant.

That large power plant is completely within Labrador. But to get their power out, they had to go through Quebec.

And so the Quebec government had them blocked in. And they took advantage.

They wouldn’t let the plant export their power – they forced them to sell to Quebec under extremely cheap terms. And to this day, Quebec just resells that power to the U.S. at a huge profit.

According to former premier Danny Williams, Hydro Quebec makes about $1.7 billion a year off the plant. And Newfoundland makes $63 million a year.

And that’s locked in for a 65-year contract.

That’s what Clark wants to do with Alberta oil.

That’s un-Canadian. It’s unconstitutional. It’s unfair. It’s un-neighbourly.

What would Canada would be like if every province started to play that game? Let’s start with the Port of Vancouver – the biggest port in Canada. It’s the entry point for pretty much everything sailing in from Asia to the rest of the country – every Japanese car, every Chinese iPhone and flat screen TV.

But to get from the Port of Vancouver to the rest of Canada, you’ve got to go through Alberta by rail or highway.

What if Alberta decided to demand a toll on anything coming or going to the Port of Vancouver? Say, a $10,000 tax per train or a $1,000 toll per 18-wheeler that crosses pristine Alberta soil?

How many people have been killed on Alberta highways because of semi-trailers racing to or from Vancouver? How many train derailments – including trains carrying toxic chemicals – must Alberta endure, just to make B.C. even richer? That’s crazy talk — but it’s exactly what Clark is saying.

According to government statistics, the Port of Vancouver generates 53,100 jobs. But 47,700 are for B.C. – just 1,800 for Alberta. To use Clark’s words, why should B.C. get all the rewards, and Alberta take all the risks?

Is this what Alberta’s Alison Redford meant by a National Energy Strategy?

And is this what Stephen Harper has in mind for inter-provincial trade and national unity?

 

Categories: Contributor Columns

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5 comments

  1. Stephen Smith says:

    Well I’m seriously thinking of renaming you Ezra La Rant. Its political posturing that will work itself. Everyone has to be tough kid on the block, then the fury fades, people forget and history is reinvented and a pipeline is built. What me worry nah and neither should you Ezra.

  2. Thomas_L...... says:

    Does no BC product travel through Alberta? Will no BC company profit from and pay into BC’s revenues? Is Christy Clark serious or just in big trouble in BC?

  3. Constantin says:

    Since when are we surprised when Liberals think in terms of entitlemnts and resort to bullying in order to get them directly or collect electoral capital in exchange for them?
    I agree that it is profoundly contrary to the interests of this country to allow provinces to play against one another by leveraging advantages such as access to the shoreline. It is one think to demand environmental safeguards and insurance, and completely another to lay an entitlement claim to profits.

  4. Larry Bennett says:

    The pipeline! the pipeline! It’s coming to our shores,
    The pipeline, the pipeline, that everyone abhors!

    It carries sticky bitumen, that Mother-Nature spilt,
    We’re cleaning up polluted land; no reason here, for guilt!

    We’ll leave the prairies clean and sound, with everything pristine,
    We’ll leave it better than was found; owe nothing to Christine.

    And when our children ask us, what to them we bequeath,
    We’ll say, “A healthy landscape, and everything beneath!”.

    The pipeline, the pipeline, There’s other ways of course,
    We could return to yesteryear, and buy ourselves a horse!

  5. Lorne Clarke says:

    Christy Clark will be tossed after our next election. The majority of her colleagues will also be tossed. If not all. The majority of BC does not want this pipeline under any circustances. Money has nothing to do with it. It is an environmental disaster waiting to happen.

Comments are closed.