Singh, Notley, and My Ever-growing Pessimism Surrounding Alberta’s Energy Sector

Between Singh's statements and Notley's inability to make ground on the TMP, our energy sector remains the only casualty of the 'National Disaster Party'.

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Despite my grievances with Rachel Notley’s performance as premier—whose issues are plentiful and her policy justifications outright laughable—I am willing to put my ego and partisanship aside in service of Albertan interests, irrespective of the party or personnel. However, the pessimism over her future performance remains.

In a recent bout with Jagmeet Singh, Notley took a critical stance against the federal NDP leader, who advocated on behalf of importing oil from other nations, at the expense of Canada’s weakening energy sector.

Given Canada’s recent human rights squabble with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whom we acquire 11 per cent of our annual oil imports from, one would think that a leader as human rights-orientated and environmentally-conscious as Singh would understand the gravity of the situation. Unfortunately, he appears to have missed the forest for the trees.

As Kelly McParland of the National Post puts it, Singh is “not against oil…as long as it comes in enormous ships floating halfway across the planet, from countries lacking Canada’s strict approach to environmental and safety regulation,” which all the while runs counterintuitive to the ideals he has campaigned on, as someone who is of the ‘progressive, pro-environment’ crowd.

To some, Jagmeet Singh becoming party leader was a step in the right direction; however, since his victory 10-months prior, he continues to make headlines, but for all the wrong reasons and at a time that is most inopportune for the federal NDP.

The lead-up to the 2019 federal election appears to be a fruitless endeavour, especially for those who seek to reinvent the party and overlook Singh’s numerable gaffes.

Moreover, in a recent interview with the Edmonton Journal’s Graham Thomson last Friday, Notley, who showed some much-needed backbone in the face of Singh’s assault upon Alberta’s energy sector, viewed the latter’s comments as “[something] he should have thought through before he said it,” too with which I agree wholeheartedly.

With Singh recently declaring his candidacy for Burnaby South, the “heart of opposition to Trans Mountain,” this further complicates relations between the two western provinces, which may indeed prove worrisome if he is to secure the recently-vacated riding.

Moreover, is it foolish to think that Notley, who has yet to show any initiative with regards to Trans Mountain, will finally step up to the plate and defend our energy sector, beyond mere words? Perhaps. However, for one’s leader to show some backbone, even if the future is to be plagued by further inaction, can, at the very least, be viewed as a win for her and her base—a reality that hurts more than it helps.

However, again, I remain pessimistic when it comes to her future as premier.

Though she has not had much to show for with regards to the Trans Mountain Pipeline, other than her ‘pressuring’ of John Horgan and the BC NDP-Green Party coalition back in May—which became null and void with the federal government’s questionable purchase of the project from Kinder Morgan—her administration’s efforts remain void of concrete results, which is to the detriment of Alberta’s stagnant energy sector.

While Singh’s ludicrous statements added yet another layer to the otherwise complicated situation between Alberta and BC in what may very well be the biggest gaffe of his short tenure in politics, Notley’s inability to lay the pipeline has many at their wit’s end, irrespective of the former.

Thus, it appears that Notley’s legacy may forever be hampered by her party’s inability to make ground on pipeline expansions, which comes at the cost of not putting Albertans back to work.


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Alexander Singh Dhaliwal

A journalist with interests in identity politics and 19th-20th Century Western History, whose belief in putting family before government stands bar none. Alex is entering his fourth of five years as a political science-history major at the University of Calgary, where he advocates on behalf of free speech, as the mechanism by which we keep our society functioning.

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