To the editor:
Andrew Nikiforuk, journalist and contributing editor to 'The Tyee' (an online news magazine covering issues of primary concern to British Columbians) poses several questions in a recent article entitled "Kinder Morgan's Blackmail"; one of which is..."aren't democracies supposed to challenge projects that impose unprecedented economic and environmental risks on their citizens?"
I think most would agree that it is every Canadian's right under our Constitution to speak out against, actively protest, and even push back on issues that are perceived to be ill-conceived ideas. It is also our right to do so without fear of mean-spirited threats, bullying or aggressive retaliation. No matter what the issue, under no theory is it O.K. to blackmail, threaten, harass or malign anyone who chooses to challenge it.
Not so, according to our Federal Government and the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. In the case of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, ongoing rhetoric from the Premier of Alberta has been vitriolic, unrelenting and riddled with lies and inaccuracies in her bid to win this case. Along with the Premier of Saskatchewan, Ms. Notley has also recently introduced legislation designed to impose crippling economic sanctions on British Columbia, making life for the people there (and perhaps the rest of the country as well) very difficult indeed. Now we are told that the Prime Minister, along with Ms. Notley, is prepared to invest potentially billions of taxpayers' dollars in Kinder Morgan Inc. itself to encourage that company, in response to its decision to suspend work on the controversial $7.4 billion pipeline, to forge ahead.
There are those who would argue that governments have the right to undertake whatever projects they see fit, particularly when deemed to be in the nation's best interests "economically", and to fight back, aggressively if necessary, against any and all opposition. This is highly questionable, however, when there is strong evidence to indicate that, in fact, there is little to no economic benefit to be had, that said projects also pose dire risks to the environment, that aboriginal inclusion has been overlooked, lies and half-truths are needed to sell them to the people, and when "social license" has been denied. But it is especially infuriating when major foreign corporations attempt to override proper process and manipulate our governments with respect to the "what" and "when" of those projects.
Most concerning of all is Justin Trudeau's failure to provide responsible leadership in this matter by continuing to pursue a seriously flawed agenda that has only served to divide Canadians across the country. As eloquently stated by Mr. Nikiforuk, "in a normal world, governments concerned about fiscal prudence and the public interest would let Kinder Morgan abandon (this) non-viable project. In a moral world, Canadian governments would admit that pipelines and tankers export refinery jobs and greenhouse gas emissions on a disastrous scale. In a just world, Alberta would...admit it has allowed industry to overproduce bitumen due to low royalties and bad governance. But Canada, like (our) southern neighbour, is having trouble behaving normally, morally or justly these days...and...Canadians should be more than ashamed. They should be alarmed."