Catherine McKenna hopes to bully Jason Kenney into carbon tax submission
Minister of the Environment, Catherine McKenna has fired back at Premier-elect Jason Kenney after his fiery victory speech condemning the federal government’s failure to support the province’s oil industry.
“I don’t want to speculate on what’s going to happen, but we’ve been clear that it should not be free to pollute anywhere in the country and we have a backstop should provinces not have a price on pollution,” said McKenna in an interview with the Globe and Mail.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that the government is going through a process to determine whether the Teck Frontier Mine is in the national interest, according to Global News.
When a reporter asked the prime minister if he knew how devastating the cancelation of this project would be to Alberta’s economy, Trudeau responded, “I understand that it is a project that has a lot of people reflecting on the choice that we’re about to make.”
“We are taking this responsibility seriously,” Trudeau added, “to make a decision that is in the national interest.”
The Teck Frontier Mine is a multi-billion dollar project, located in Alberta’s oilsands, that could employ some 7,000 workers during constuction and 2,500 workers once the project is completed—giving some much needed relief to Alberta’s starved economy.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau is considering an “aid package” to Alberta if the Federal Government decides not to follow through with the Teck Frontier Mine.
“I would never think to characterize this as anything other then creating opportunities,” said Morneau. “Alberta is a province where we have great entrepreneurs who have built a strong economy and I think what we need to do is address the economy as challenged right now and create a path forward that will have hope for this generation and the next generation. I look at it very differently.”
The Teck Frontier Mine has created a great deal of contention from within the Liberal caucus, with some Liberal MPs calling for Trudeau to block the project. It has also sparked protests across the country. In Belleville, for example, First Nation protesters blocked train tracks for four straight days, stopping all trains between Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal.
As well as this, a dozen protesters blocked access to Vancouver’s Delta Port and would not leave until the RCMP left the Wet’suwet’en territory. Hundreds of dock workers could not be paid until the First Nation protesters left.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has accused Justin Trudeau’s former top aide and best friend Gerald Butts of conspiring with the Obama administration to have the Keystone XL pipeline project kyboshed, according to a report from Politico.
At a forum in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Kenney said he didn’t doubt Butts spoke with Obama’s people in the White House before the project was nixed 48 hours after Trudeau was sworn-in to office.
“I mean, the announcement of President Obama’s veto of Keystone XL came 48 hours after Prime Minister Trudeau was sworn into office,” said Kenney on Friday, according to Politico.
“And I have absolutely no doubt there had been back-channel conversations between his then-Principal Secretary Gerry Butts and the White House that there would be no negative reaction, and there wasn’t. It was a news release, and they walked on to the next issue.”
“All of that is absolutely correct,” said Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who was with Kenney as part of a panel discussion.
The Politico report also stated Kenney told the crowd Trudeau Liberals failed to use any political or diplomatic leverage against the Obama administration by invoking “the spirit of NAFTA, which was about, in part, open access to the U.S. market for our energy exports.”
Butts responded to the accusations from Kenney by tweeting out a report in which Trudeau said he was in support of Keystone XL back in 2013 when Liberal leader while in opposition.
“It was a position I publicly and privately promoted and defended without exception while I worked with him from 2012 to 2019,” Butts said to Politico in an email.
“It’s a position I still support. The premiers’ speculative allegation to the contrary is baseless.”
Before Butts became Trudeau’s top adviser, he was the president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund Canada, in which he repeatedly made public statements saying he was opposed to increased oil production. He also served as a top adviser for former Ontario Liberal premier Dalton McGuinty, where he was called the “policy guru” during the time the green energy plan was rolled out in the province.
When Kenney was asked if he would retract his accusation against Butts, he responded to Politico journalists by saying, “The Obama administration chose not to veto the Keystone XL Pipeline until just after the Trudeau government took office.”
“The Trudeau government did nothing to object to this attack on Canada’s clear economic interests by the U.S. government. No one familiar with the issue believes the timing of the veto was a coincidence,” he went on. “Having said that, we appreciate that the government of Canada now supports the Keystone XL Project under the current presidential permit, and we look forward to working together to get this done for the benefit of both Canadians and Americans.”
The City of Edmonton had children listen on numerous occasions to the Extinction Rebellion activist Chris Gusen on the topics ranging from an “Albertan Green New Deal” to environmental activism during Edmonton’s City Hall School initiative.
A source revealed to The Post Millennial that Gusen spoke to these children—who are all in Grade 6—about how to engage in climate activism, why Alberta needs a Green New Deal, and also taught the children about Swedish activist Greta Thunberg.
Children were so concerned about the state of the planet after Gusen’s talk that one grade 6 student wrote him a letter, saying, “Thank you for telling me about climate change, I feel earth’s pain.”
As well as this, a tweet from Edmonton’s City Hall School initiative shows Gusen teaching student’s about Greta Thunberg, telling the children that they should meet with her when she visits the province.
Gusen is a prolific organizer with Climate Justice Edmonton and Extinction Rebellion, and is vocal with his criticism of Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party in Alberta.
On Twitter, Gusen has stated that policy from the United Conservative Party is “indefensible.” Gusen has also declared that the UCP promotes “conspiracy theories … they don’t have any real arguments left to make.”
Gusen has also retweeted messages with statements like “climate activists … are scared for their lives.” His own tweets contain statements like, “Jason Kenney wearing that ‘I heart mass extinction’ hoody to the Grey Cup was extremely metal.” This came after the Alberta Premier chose to wear a hoodie with the statement “I love Canadian oil and gas” to the CFL final.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Gusen said, “I have done class visits to the City Hall School program in Edmonton. I’m one of the wide range guest speakers who talk to students about active citizenship. I talk about my work advocating for climate action.”
“Climate change is a topic that’s covered in the Alberta Education Curriculum. Teachers can request that their students’ City Hall School week includes a speaker on that topic. I’m one of the people who gets invited in to talk about it,” Gusen added.
In October of 2019, Gusen was a part of the cohort of environmental activists who blockaded a major bridge in Edmonton during rush hour, causing chaos for Albertan commuters. Police say they were investigating this blockade at the time.
In defence of his actions, Gusen told the National Post that “September’s climate marches showed us that Canadians demand action … Politicians and media have acknowledged the crisis, but they are not telling the truth about the enormity of the climate emergency.”
Speaking to The Post Millennial, Edmonton city councillor Jon Dziadyk was concerned and said, “Children should be provided with balanced material on a subject so they can form a balanced opinion. I am not seeing that here. If they are fed a diet of only one idea and starved from hearing others, then that can make critical thinking difficult and that is a disservice to our children.”
A new report by the Fraser Institute shows that any province can force other provinces and the federal government to renegotiate the constitution.
In what will be a welcome report to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, the Fraser Institute made a particular note of equalization payments—finding that the payment system could be restructured.
Speaking to the Fraser Institute, Professor Rainer Knopff stated, “If Alberta charts the correct course, it can bring otherwise reluctant governments to the table to discuss fiscal federalism.”
Equalization has long been a point of contention between Western Canada and Ottawa—so much so, that Premier Kenney is considering a provincial referendum on the subject of removing equalization payments from the constitution. If Kenney is successful, the referendum may trigger the “duty to negotiate” is there is also an element of succession.
Last year, the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves-Francois Blanchet, suggested that Quebec had disproportionally sent money to Quebec to pay for pipelines. In reality, Alberta got the short end of the stick, despite unemployment skyrocketing and industry leaving.