Braid: Bowing to Quebec, Greens are fine with foreign oil | Calgary Herald

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Green policy for this election is a dystopian dream where the righteous save the world — and rule it, too.

The party’s new platform even draws inspiration from Winston Churchill, that noted climate activist, for standing up to Hitler’s Nazis.

Leader Elizabeth May envisages a central government whose key mission is to make Canada a zero net emissions state. That means stamping out the oil and gas industry.

It’s like a war, she has often said. In the Green mind, this demands special powers for Ottawa.

The Green platform states:

“No new pipelines, or coal, oil or gas drilling or mining, including offshore wells, will be approved.

“Existing oil and gas operations will continue on a declining basis, with bitumen production phased out between 2030 and 2035.

“Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) operations will be banned outright due to impacts on groundwater quality, methane release and seismic activity.”

And the Trans Mountain expansion will immediately be cancelled, period.

In this Green Eden, provinces are irrelevant, even though they have sole authority under the constitution for approving resource projects, including oil and gas wells.

One province is very important though — Quebec. And this is where hypocrisy creeps into the picture.

Back in May, the Greens issued their Mission Possible document, which called for banning all imports of foreign oil to Eastern Canada.

The gap would be filled with western oil shipped by rail. This would ensure sales as the industry was wound down over a couple of decades.

In the twilight years, bitumen would still be used, but only for petrochemical production.

There was an irony there. Albertans have always wanted to ship oil to Quebec and the Atlantic provinces. May seemed to agree.

“As long as we are using fossil fuels we should be using our fossil fuels,” she said at the time.

It was an interesting notion that at least placed some value on this major industrial sector.

But now there’s an election campaign. And suddenly, the Green policy says nothing about banning imports of foreign oil from places such as Nigeria, Mexico, Norway, Iraq, the U.S., and other countries. The only ban would be on Saudi oil.

The revised Green Canada would look like this:

The central and eastern provinces would keep importing foreign oil, running tankers up and down the St. Lawrence at a merry pace.

But oilsands would be shut down over 15 years and all industry growth would cease.

There would be no outlet to the sea, no new Canadian markets, no pipelines, no new oil or gas production of any kind.

This country could withstand the strange eastern preference for foreign oil as long as the domestic industry was doing well.

But it’s doubtful our national bonds could survive a regime that welcomed foreign imports, while simultaneously shutting down Canadian sellers of the same product.


An aerial view of a tanker arriving at Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby.

Kinder Morgan /

PNG

So, why did the Greens stop calling for an import ban while continuing with the same ruinous prescription for Canadian oil and gas?

Because Quebec Greens really want that foreign oil. They simply won’t accept anymore oil from Western Canada.

Shortly after the Mission Possible statement came out in May, Quebec Green Leader Alex Tyrrell rebelled.

He said he could not “in good conscience” support the ban on foreign oil when the key goal has to be shutting down the oilsands.

May was making a “nationalist” argument, he said, essentially compromising with Alberta.

“It’s trying to talk about having jobs in the tarsands, when really we should be talking about how to shut down the tarsands as quickly as possible,” he told the CBC’s As It Happens. “That oil needs to stay in the ground.”

Tyrrell talked about trying to get the import ban policy reversed at a party convention next year.

But it seems to be gone already. The Green platform does not say word about it.

So, never mind the appalling human-rights and environmental records of some of those countries, or the belching emissions of shipping oil halfway around the world. Just keep a nice comfortable supply for Quebec.

These are increasingly extremist times. A great many young people understandably want draconian climate action. The Greens could advance in this election, and then have real impact on national policy.

Most Canadians want climate progress. But that can be done — it must be done — without falling for a radical, erratic and hypocritical party whose policies could tear the country apart.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

This content was originally published here.

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