The fast revoke of Keystone XL Pipeline permission yesterday of U.S President Joe Biden exposed Alberta Prime Minister Jason Kenney as a hopeless prat to the world.
Kenney gave away 1,5 billion dollars for the dumb bet he would appear to be a hero if Donald Trump is re-elected as the US President and construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
No matter how questionable the case was for KXL, as was Kenney’s claim that Alberta continued economic success depended on it.
With respect to the electoral strategy, however, it would have won if only the U.S. electorate had cooperated by giving $1.5 billion to Calgary-based TC Energy Corp. to continue working on the troubled project, and to promise it $6 billion in loan guarantees.
As Kenney promised in 2019 when he ran successfully against Rachel Notley’s modestly sensible NDP government, he could not only claim to have Made Alberta Great Again, but he could have been perfectly placed to return gloriously to Ottawa and become Canada’s ministership as soon as the latest federal Conservative leader walked in.
It was no financial success that had to be the pipeline. It was only when Kenney left Dreary Alberta to return to the light of Ottawa that he wanted to be under construction.
And it wasn’t a foolish strategy, although it might have been a hopeless one. If it was COVID-19, Trump should have won very well.
But their bets are not always winning by punters. It’s the injustice Kenney can stomp his feet as much as he wants, but without his shirt, he isn’t the first man to come home from the casino and he won’t be the last.
Trump lost the election on 3 November and was very persuasive, even though the election was stolen by a lot of Republicans in the United States.
Biden, the Democrat, sworn in yesterday morning as the 46th president of America, and nearly his first action was to sign the executive order killing KXL, as he promised before it was elected by the Americans.
The Democrats agreed that America’s survival was not only based on dirty Alberta bitumen but that it might be a transition from carbon economics somehow.
Determined to undo all that Obama had achieved in his two terms of office, Trump used his own executive order to breathe life back into the project.
Biden, in turn, was campaigning to undo the Trump policy, and he acted immediately once he was sworn in yesterday morning.
As Kenney did yesterday, you can rage, or you can rejoice, as many environmentalists have done on both sides of the longest undefended border in the world.
With some credibility, you can argue that if the executive order is the only way to enact a policy in the United States, then there’s something wrong with their system of government.
You may think this is the worst thing to happen in living memory or the first sign of reason from the United States in the past four years and you’re welcome to your opinion.
But it’s done with the deal. It will not be undone, for the same reason that TC Energy will not bring the money of its own investors into the project.
Whatever you think, KXL has had a latter-day Lazarus moment already, and it’s not going to have another one.
As the man who lost what must undoubtedly be the largest cash bet in Canadian history, Premier Kenney will go down.
Even before his staffers could turn on the video feed and start streaming his news conference to the masses yesterday afternoon, Kenney, in a Royal Canadian Legion necktie and looking as if he could use a haircut, was raising his voice.
He called President Biden’s decision to keep the promise he made at least three times on the campaign trail a betrayal of America’s best friend. More maybe.
But within seconds, it was obvious that the object of this overwrought theatrical performance was not to get Biden to change his mind. Even Kenney and the members of his caucus in the United Conservative Party (UCP) must be aware that the presidential train has left the station.
It was to find a way to transfer the disaster somewhere on the shoulders of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his political arch rival. You could almost smell a flop of sweat coming from the computer screen.
he said that if the U.S. government won’t play ball “then it is clear that the Government of Canada must impose meaningful trade and economic sanctions in response to defend our country’s vital economic interests.”
Mintz and Kenney are advocating a trade war that the U.S. administration will not have over an illegal tariff but because the Americans will not build on their sovereign territories an infrastructure project we like, even though a former president said it will.
It would be known to say that this would be a shaky situation of international commercial law.
You would think Kenney, of all politicians, would understand if Biden wanted to hold a U.S version of the Alberta summer of repeal that new governments will reverse policies in democracies of those they replace.
Premier Kenney indicated that it would be unfair to Alberta for Ottawa not to flog this dead horse because it vigorously sought a new NAFTA when Trump requested a new one in 2017.
In March 2020, he also tried to justify his assertion that TC Energy’s $1.5 billion in up-front gift was a smart “investment” rather than a nonsense gamble.
Like his attempt to make Trudeau bear the blame for the UCP’s pipeline campaign’s failure, and like KXL itself, the dog is not going to hunt.
David Khan, a former Alberta Liberal Leader, is now serving as a senior senior counsel in Calgary in the Ecojustice Canada Society.
LinkedIn yesterday received public recognition of Khan’s new role.
On February 11 and 12, Ecojustice will be back in court, challenging the legality of the so-called government investigation into “anti-Alberta” environmental campaigns.
Yesterday, Greenpeace Canada took a different tack, announcing that because the investigation is evidently biased and likely to work beyond the bounds of the Public Inquiries Act of the province, they would sue if Commissioner Steve Allan dares to mention their name in his report.