Rachel Notley and John Horgan's phony war

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Sometimes, it's hard to take the war of words seriously between the Alberta and B.C. governments.

      It's reminiscent of the Phony War on the Western Front after Germany invaded Poland on September 3, 1939.

      Great Britain and France immediately declared war on the Nazis. But there was no military conflict until the Germans launched an attack on the low countries and France in May 1940. 

      There's also a phony war of sorts underway between NDP governments in Alberta and B.C. over the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

      In January, B.C. environment and climate change strategy minister George Heyman announced a looming consultation to determine if the province should restrict any increase on the amount of diluted bitumen shipped across the province.

      A consultation. Not a change in regulations.

      That caused Alberta premier Rachel Notley to briefly suspend imports of B.C. wine into her province, claiming that her NDP counterparts had intruded into federal jurisdiction.

      B.C. premier John Horgan calmed things down by saying his government would rely on the courts to rule on whether provincial regulation of bitumen shipments was unconstitutional.

      Then Notley backed off the wine boycott, and she's since resorted to issuing threats against B.C.

      In Alberta, Notley's fighting words are well received in the media. The rhetoric is her only hope of beating back a challenge from United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney, though that seems unlikely.

      Kenney's party has a big lead in the polls and Notley's approval rating was only 33 percent in March, according to the Angus Reid Institute.

      Election day in Alberta must take place on or before May 31, 2019.

      Both NDP governments are eager to subsidize the fossil-fuel industry, even though carbon dioxide equivalents in the atmosphere now exceed 410 parts per million.

      The world is on the verge of a climate catastrophe and influential journalists in both provinces can't seem to wrap their minds around the benefits of carbon taxes.

      In B.C., Horgan and Heyman's oft-stated concerns about the Kinder Morgan pipeline will help them retain political support in coastal communities, which are mostly represented by NDP and Green MLAs.

      It might also enable B.C. New Democrats to create a wedge with B.C. Liberals with environmentally minded voters. Some of them are already extremely upset with Horgan about the sales-tax holiday and other "incentives" to the liquefied natural gas sector, as well as his pledge to complete the Site C dam. 

      But neither NDP government has passed a single regulation or law imposing hardship on the other province.

      It's a phony war, plain and simple. And these sweeping pronouncements by Notley and Heyman are merely helping the NDP beat back their challengers in each province (in Heyman's case, the Greens in his constituency of Vancouver-Fairview).

      The real war, unfortunately, will erupt if Kenney becomes the premier. And it's probably going to be far uglier than anything we've seen to date.

      But it won't be nearly as ghastly as the billions of dollars in losses to the Canadian economy and loss of lives that will come from climate-change-induced extreme weather events if Kenney gets his way.