Message to Alberta’s chattering classes: Quit misinterpreting ‘the rule of law,’ already!
By David Climenhaga
We’re hearing the phrase “the rule of law” an awful lot in Alberta these days, from politicians of the left
In a recent advertisement
published in British Columbia newspapers, the Alberta government
accused its B.C. counterpart of “trying to break the rules of
Confederation” by considering limits on the amount of diluted bitumen
that can flow through pipelines in B.C. “The disregard for the rule of
law puts our national economy in danger,” the ad said.
about the mayor of Burnaby’s reluctance to pay for extra policing at
the terminus of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in his community, Alberta’s
NDP premier, Rachel Notley, referred to this activity as “the policing of the rule of law.”
B.C. government took aim at the jobs of hundreds of thousands of
hardworking women and men in every industry that depends on governments
acting within the rule of law,” she said on another recent occasion.
Kenney, leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party Opposition, has
said much the same. “The rule of law must be enforced,” he Tweeted. “It’s time to stand up for the rule of law in Canada,” he said in a Facebook video.
“We have environmental radicals who are increasingly undermining the
rule of law as the basic organizing principle of Canadian society…”
the context now that even some of mainstream media’s more reasonable
commentators are slipping uncritically into the rule-of-law meme.
Premier Notley, wrote Edmonton Journal political columnist Graham
Thomson yesterday, “is counting on the rule of law while her opponents
are determined to break, stretch or ignore the law,” wrote Edmonton Journal political columnist Graham Thomson recently.
could go on at considerably more length, but I think readers get the
idea. In all cases above, the emphasis was added by your blogger to the
phrase “the rule of law.” Most of the time in this debate, it is used
to mean “obedience to the law,” which is normally a citizen’s duty, but
not the same thing at all as “the rule of law.”
What’s Kinder Morgan’s real end game?
By Seth Klein
a different take on Kinder Morgan’s ultimatum and the so-called
“constitutional crisis” it has sparked. I’m speculating, of course, as
we all seek to understand what Kinder Morgan is really up to. But allow
me to posit a minority theory:
We’re getting played!
is entirely possible that Kinder Morgan has already decided to cut its
losses and walk away from the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
(TMX)—and not for the reasons they are telling their shareholders or
the public. It may well be that the May 31 deadline is merely for show,
and the Texas-based corporation has already determined the project is
not feasible both for economic reasons and due to profound Indigenous
and popular opposition.
The economics of the project have been on shaky ground for some time, as the CCPA has extensively documented.
Particularly since the Trump administration’s revival of the Keystone
XL project, and with the approval of Enbridge’s Line 3 expansion, the
industry’s need for TMX pipeline capacity has been undercut (which
helped to kill the Energy East proposal). The temporary gap in oil
prices internationally compared to in North America is now largely
gone, undercutting the case for Pacific “tidewater” access. And the
higher costs of extracting, refining and transporting oil sands bitumen
further erodes the economics. I testified before the federal
government’s Ministerial Panel on Kinder Morgan in 2016 and sought to debunk the economic arguments made in favour of the pipeline expansion.
Layered onto the dubious economics are the growing protests, but most significantly, Indigenous opposition.
may well be that the May 31 deadline is merely for show, and the
Texas-based corporation has already determined the project is not
feasible both for economic reasons and due to profound Indigenous and
The civil disobedience phase of TMX
opposition kicked into gear March 10 with a protest of about 10,000
people on Burnaby Mountain. Like the larger movement to stop the
project, the protest was Indigenous-led, with the call to mobilize
coming in particular from leaders of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the
Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).