Canada: Rex Murphy: This is not a standard downturn. And Albertans are not whining - - PressFrom - Canada
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Canada Rex Murphy: This is not a standard downturn. And Albertans are not whining

20:06  12 november  2019
20:06  12 november  2019 Source:   nationalpost.com

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a group of people holding a sign posing for the camera: Supporters of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion rally outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on April 12, 2018.© David Bloom/Postmedia News Supporters of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion rally outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on April 12, 2018.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.

There’s been a curious turn in some of the press commentary on what we may call the Alberta situation — references to “whining” and “complaining,” reminders that other regions have had “downturns,” too, claims that Albertans themselves have been careless in the management of their main industry. Some have actually expressed satisfaction that the province may be forced by its current dilemma to seek alternate sources for its economy, along the vaporous trail of the New Green Economy — whatever that strange beast is supposed to be.

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Some of this is baiting, some of it is ignorance, and all of it, in the light of tensions that now exist out West, is perilous. This is not a time to wind up people who are already fully wound up.

Well yes, there have been downturns before. Mines have closed, American bases have shut down, and businesses have gone bust. But the Alberta case is not like that. The burdens under which Alberta now labours are singular, if not unique.

The greatest contribution to Alberta’s downturn, the flight of much of its capital, and the low morale in the industry generally, has been the continuous and furious assault the province, its oil industry, and Fort McMurray in particular, have endured for well over a decade. The globalist international movement of apocalyptic climate change has marked Alberta and its oilsands as its chosen target and symbol. There has never been so concentrated and focused an attack on any industry or project that equals in scale the relentless, propagandist denigration of the Alberta oilsands and the town of Fort McMurray.

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It would be a real challenge to simply count the negative talks, conferences, papers, news reports, pseudo-science reviews, environmentalist alarms, protests, lawsuits, op-eds and latterly sermonettes from Grim Greta, that have sought to shame and demonize the oilsands, the workers and the entire oil and gas industry of Alberta.

a man and a woman holding a sign:  Pro oil and pipeline supporters protest against Bill C-69 in Calgary in April 2019.© Jim Wells/Postmedia News Pro oil and pipeline supporters protest against Bill C-69 in Calgary in April 2019.

Whole continents and countries, whose oil production is exponentially more massive, have been ignored. No demonstrations in front of the great coal plant construction in China. No “down with pipelines” in Beijing or Delhi. A pipeline in Alberta gets world coverage; oil production in Nigeria will never find the front page of the Toronto Star. Neil Young will yodel his way to Fort Mac and wail “this is Hiroshima” but we will not see him pluck his loose strings to protest in China, in India, or even in his resident homeland, the U.S. — now the world’s No. 1 producer of oil energy.

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The Suzukis, the Sierra Clubs, the always railing Greenpeacers, the fund-raising behemoths of the eco-industry, and the swarms of petty NGOs, self-appointed activists, and trippy climate celebrities — Bill Nye the Foolish Guy may stand for them all — have feasted on the portrayal of Alberta energy as world-damaging, nature-offending and planet-despoiling.

It was and is a gang-up on a global scale. One fragment, one singular project of an entire world industry in a little corner of Alberta has been painted as the villain of planetary disaster. Under the specious umbrella of “we must save the planet”  and “global warming is an existential crisis” the energy industry of a single province has endured a vicious, unfair and fanatic assault.

This is but one side of the story. During the time the oilsands were in full play, they brought wealth and employment to Canadians from all provinces; were the corrective counterpoint to the Newfoundland fishery collapse; buttressed the federal treasury in a time of world recession; and brought technological invention and expertise unheralded in the Canadian experience.

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Most of all, the oilsands produced the one essential product without which every other industry in Canada (or the world) could not function or exist: energy. I have, from the beginning of the war on the oilsands, never understood why a product that everybody uses, every person, household, business and industry — and uses gratefully — to heat homes, travel, produce goods and maintain the economy, should draw down such blistering hostility on the one industry which supplies that product.

Then of course there is the other great difference in the woes of Alberta. And that is the conscious and methodical obstruction of the current federal government to getting Alberta’s product to world markets.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd:  Supporters of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion rally outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on April 12, 2018.© David Bloom/Postmedia News Supporters of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion rally outside the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on April 12, 2018.

The key element of Alberta’s distress lives in the No. 1, frantically trumpeted, and ever-so-virtuously exhaled policy priority of the Trudeau environmentalist government. Climate change is its very favourite, top-of-mind, most to be bragged about, highest virtue-signalling issue. That leads to a contradiction between its national leadership and its international pretensions. Which one will it fight to win a medal for: climate change or Alberta oil?

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Let us be plain: this is a government that doesn’t like oil and gas. This is a government that cancels, impedes and regulates into submission every effort to allow the principal industry of a province — and arguably the nation — to continue, thrive or expand.

Let’s point the needle to true North. The Trudeau government’s obsession with its fantasy of being a global warming champion is and has been in direct and impassable conflict with the Alberta economy. You can pose as the Galahad of climate change, waltz in Paris and Rio, but only at the cost of damning the Alberta oil and gas industry. The mandarins of central Canada, and the parliamentary caucus of the Liberal government, at best, see Alberta oil and gas as an impediment to, a blotch on, their passionate desire to be the toast of the eco saints.

Where is the stronger fealty: to the huddled bureaucrats of the IPCC or the now idled workers of the oilpatch? Who will get the warmer greeting in the PM’s office: Greta Thunberg or Jason Kenney? Where is the declaration of an economic emergency in Alberta — as opposed to the sanctimonious declaration of a climate emergency in Parliament? For SNC jobs, jobs, jobs, Justin Trudeau will dance around the rule of law and risk even his own government. For the billions in capital that have fled Alberta, the companies that have relocated, the tens of thousands of jobs lost — where is his leadership, his voice, his action? Climate change is his bible. Alberta oil, a footnote.

So no. This is not a standard downturn. And Albertans are not whining. They are, after an exhausting decade of downturn, outside attack, a fire in Fort Mac and an obstructionist and hostile Ottawa, finally weary — even to anger — that they remain unthanked for their contributions to Canada, sick of seeing their industry maligned and targeted, and reluctantly asking questions that go to the centre of their being in the Confederation.

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One point should be made: should there be a separatist movement in Alberta, and one is in its infancy, it differs fundamentally from separatism in Quebec. Quebec’s is a willing, a desired separation, for those who espouse the cause. Those in Alberta who are thinking separatist thoughts, and who have separatist feelings, are doing so only because they have been driven, reluctantly and in sorrow, to the thought that separation might be the only way to achieve fair dealing from a careless national government and a blithe indifference from centrist mentalities.

Rex Murphy: Shame on you Sportsnet. Don Cherry deserved much, much better .
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