WATCH: Alberta’s Kenney calls Quebec’s Blanchet ‘arrogant’
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has some impassioned words for Quebecers and some fighting words for the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, Yves-François Blanchet.
As first reported in the National Post, Kenney has told Quebecers to ignore the “arrogance” of Blanchet. “We Albertans are friends with Quebecers. … I say to the people of Quebec: Reject this arrogance, this idea that Quebec should be able to take the benefit of our resources without allowing us to develop it,” Kenney said. “Let us be partners in prosperity.”
Chevron’s plan to offload its 50 percent share of the nascent Kitimat LNG project was another blow to Canada’s energy industry on Wednesday.
The massive British Columbia natural gas facility and export hub was so crucial for the Canadian economy, the Trudeau government gave a tariff break to China last summer so the communist regime’s cheap, fabricated steel could fast-track construction.
But word that the California-based Chevron wanted to sell its Kitimat LNG interest–$125 million of book-value assets in a $10-billion write-down for the U.S. oil giant–sparked a political fight on Twitter.
Enter Conservatives’ natural resources critic Shannon Stubbs:
Less than an hour later Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan corrected Stubbs. But either way Chevron’s big write-down reveal on Wednesday morning was bad news for the domestic energy sector.
Over the past five years, a combination of discounted Canadian bitumen sales–landlocked inside North American markets by lack of new tidewater projects like the proposed TMX–along with federal policies that have chilled investment, have hampered the energy sector.
At the end of October, Canadian petroleum company EnCana uprooted its Calgary headquarters to move to Denver, Colorado, and a rebrand; the latest news is just the latest in notable capital flight from domestic energy markets that’s witnessed 175,000 jobs shed from the Alberta oil patch in less than five years.
Greta Thunberg has joined up with 15 more young climate activists. They have claimed that Canada and Norway are violating the rights of children throughout the world with their oil and gas production.
The activist’s claim that the higher output of fossil-fuel production violates the countries obligations in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Hausfeld LLP released a statement noting that the youths have sent letters to both Canada and Norway addressing the countries’ fossil-fuel production. The letter contrasted the plan with the two countries’ self-proclaimed titles of leaders in climate change.
In the letter to Trudeau dated Dec. 10, it says, “Canada must apply its international climate leadership to all domestic action,” the letter also says, “It must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants, blazing a trail for other fossil fuel-reliant economies to follow.”
The letter covers Canada’s Line 3 pipeline that stretches from Alberta to Wisconsin as well as the Trans Mountain pipeline. Canada’s oil production could be raised 10 percent by the addition of the Line 3 pipeline alone.
The letter also says that Canada “must end the development and export of new oil and gas reserves, and set a plan to quickly phase out existing production fields,” and adds, “It must stop prioritizing short-term economic gains over the future of its children and all children around the world.”
The letter requested that Trudeau deliver a response in the following two weeks. The request was sent to Jonathan Wilkinson who is the new environment minister for Trudeau.
Wilkinson’s spokesperson, Moira Kelly, wrote an email saying, “Young people and Canadians across the country are counting on us for accelerated action on climate change,” she added, “We hear them, and all of the Canadians who sent a clear message this election, that continuing to fight climate change needs to be a priority.”
“We know we need to make a transition to a cleaner economy and we know that this will not happen overnight,” said Kelly, “We are committed to taking thoughtful solutions with Canadians to ensure that the clean economy is affordable for everyone.”
In 2018, Canada pumped more oil than Iraq, OPEC’s second largest supplier, according to data from BP Plc. By 2040, crude output is projected to increase by close to 50 percent, according to Canada Energy Regulator.
Without mentioning 71,000 jobs the Canadian economy shed in November, Finance Minister Bill Morneau stood in the House of Commons’ West Block foyer on Monday to announce a measly tax cut that would provide earners of $50,000 “with tax savings of close to $300 in 2023.”
Twenty million Canadians would benefit said Morneau, of the Liberals proposed increases to allowable personal income before taxes from $12,300 to $15,000.
In the wake of disastrous fall job figures reported last week by Statistics Canada, the minister touted “the lowest levels of unemployment we’ve seen in a very long time, but as we know, there continues to be economic anxiety and economic challenges.”
Asked about Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s demand for A Fair Deal for Alberta within Canada, banner advertisements purchased for the front page of today’s Ottawa Sun and Citizen editions, Morneau said he hadn’t read them yet, “but I will have a meeting with the Alberta Minister of Finance this afternoon and we will listen.”
“It’s important to listen, to consider their challenges. Their challenges are true. So we will listen and work together to improve the situation across the country, including Alberta,” said Morneau.
Across the street from Parliament, Kenney was about to address the Canadian Club in specific terms about the anxiety and challenges his province faces, having shed 175,000 jobs since 2015–18,000 in November alone – on the cusp of meetings with Morneau.
“There cannot be a strong Canada without a strong Alberta… our ability to play that role in the future is at risk. That puts Canada’s prosperity at risk,” Kenney warned during his speech, reiterating the province’s “net contribution(s) of $630 billion to the rest of Canada since 1961”, by way of federal income tax transfers.
By Kenney’s estimation, this wealth transfer from Alberta, which the federal government redistributes to other provinces in the federation equalled $55,000 for each man, woman and child in Alberta.
The Alberta premier went on to outline “the fair deal” his province seeks includes “a firm and fast deadline for TMX… and to make it a priority to bring First Nations into the project as an equity partner as soon as possible.”
As three separate indigenous groups are lined up to buy a stake in the existing 1,150 km pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C. and a proposed $7.5 billion expansion, Morneau and the government have been silent on such a deal, despite Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise last June for unlimited Indigenous ownership.
On this front, the Alberta premier lines up squarely behind federal Conservatives; either want more tidewater pipelines and new environmental legislation (bills C-69 and C-48) repealed, what Kenney and his Ottawa cohorts label as pipeline killers.
Scrapping this legislation–C-69 that revamped resource project assessments and 48, the northwest coast oil tanker ban–said Kenney, would allow the province a freedom “to develop our resources at a fair market price.”
Kenney has been beating the TMX drum for some time and shortly before Trudeau’s summertime green light for the project, the premier issued his demands in another ad-buy, this one splashed on the front pages of the Globe and Mail.
“Let us take seriously these challenges in a province that has done so much (for Canada). Let’s not make the mistake of diminishing or deriding (them),” Kenney told the Canadian Club on Monday morning.
Less than an hour earlier at Morneau’s tax cut scrum, the overall benefit was cut down to size in a brief back-and-forth with Mona Fortier, the Middle Class Prosperity minister and associate minister of Finance.
Reporter: “Have you looked at how much it’s going to save a person on their pay cheque? It’s at $300 a year. What’s that per pay cheque?”
Fortier: “Well, you know with this pay cheque will help to–with the $300 or $600 for families it will help ends meet and help families have access to more activities after school.”
Reporter: “It’s $11.50. Everybody knows…”
Fortier: “Well it’s still money that is combined with all of the measures that we’ve put in since 2015. It will help families cover some costs that they want to send their kids to camp or to put money aside for retirement.”
The parties that could potentially hold the balance of power in the Liberal’s minority government had very different takes on Thursday’s Throne speech when they responded in the House of Commons, Friday.
While the separatist Bloc Quebecois stood in defence of Quebec’s autonomy, the New Democrats assumed their traditional role as defenders of the poor and marginalized.
Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet took particular issue that the speech lumped Quebec in with provinces and territories as one of “the regions of Canada.”
“Let’s make something clear. Quebec is not a region of Canada. Quebec is the land that the Quebec nation shares with a number of First Nations,” Blanchet told the House of Commons, reminding MPs of his party’s raison d’etre.
“Although we may not be aiming specifically for this… Quebecers know that the Bloc is a party based on the concept of independence.”
Blanchet also said that in defending Quebec’s autonomy on matters of healthcare and environmental assessments, “The Bloc is not only representing the national assembly of Quebec but also the voices of the other provinces.”
The separatist party leader also said that Quebec voters turned to his party “because they can’t identify with any federal party.”
“They’re not all sovereigntists, but they’re nationalists,” he said.
Bloc support at the polls tripled their seat count (10-32) in the Commons while the number of NDP candidates were nearly cut in half, from 40 down to 24.
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, whose enclave was relegated to fourth party status after October’s election in a Bloc-surge, accused Liberals for “profiting off student debt” while waiving government loans to corporations.
Singh was also skeptical about the Throne speech’s promise to lower the cost of telecommunications services by 25 percent.
“In Canada we pay…some of the highest cellphone and internet fees in the world. It’s not a coincidence because the government has allowed the telecoms to do this,” said Singh.
“Access to the internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity…(and) the cost of cell phone and internet services are impeding people in their everyday lives.”
Affordable and available housing, as well as making good on a national pharmacare plan that consecutive Liberal governments have paid lip service to, also formed Singh’s response to the Throne speech.
“Across Canada people are making difficult choices every day, about cutting their pills in half or going without the life-saving medication that they need,” he said.
“What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to keep his word and to deliver pharmacare that covers all Canadians?”
The New Democrat leader also suggested that Trudeau talked the talk on indigenous reconciliation, which also prominently featured in the Throne speech, but that the government’s actions fell short of walking the walk.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Singh. “(They) ignore a human rights tribunal ruling, delay the funding to end the discrimination and continue to take indigenous to court.”
At the beginning of October, the federal government filed for judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights tribunal ruling ordering $40,000 in compensation to First Nations children taken from their communities under the on-reserve child welfare system.