Tell Trudeau To Buck Off
The Calgary Stampede was the place to be this last week.
Sure, we often joke that no real work gets done during Stampede, but we all know that amidst the 10-day spectacle of bull riding, calf roping, extreme food, country music, and parties galore, there remains a serious undertone of deal-making and networking, reflective of the province's enterprising spirit.
So, in true Stampede fashion, while the rodeo action was front and centre, the real main event was going on behind the scenes.
Between flipping pancakes at breakfasts, speaking at public engagements, and shaking hands at swanky evening events, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Danielle Smith have been engaged in quite the showdown.
On Friday, Smith and Trudeau sat down for a chat.
Both were optimistic about the prospect of finding common ground.
“We’ll see if we manage to have a breakthrough,” said Smith, prior to the meeting. “Again, I’m still really hopeful. I will let you know after our meeting whether that hope is misplaced.”
Trudeau echoed the sentiment.
“We believe, fundamentally, that the best deals are always found at the bargaining table and we will keep putting a lot of pressure on all parties to find that solution that I know is out there,” said Trudeau, prior to the meeting.
But, as expected, Trudeau doubled down on his aggressive federal net-zero targets, refusing to budge.
The federal government will be moving forward on its commitment to capping oil and natural gas emissions in Canada by the end of 2023, and working to reduce them further after that.
And, there are plans to release the new clean electricity regulations very soon too.
Smith is furious, and rightly so.
"Alberta has sovereign and exclusive constitutional jurisdiction to regulate our energy and electricity industries," said the Premier’s office. "This is non-negotiable."
In the end, the pair agreed to create a working group to find common ground on carbon capture, nuclear power, LNG exports, and, most importantly, those net-zero climate targets.
After the meeting, Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said that agreeing to the working group was Ottawa’s way of showing that they’re listening.
Let’s be clear - they aren’t listening.
Wilkinson insisted that 2035 is an achievable timeline for Alberta to get to net-zero.
Let’s be clear - it isn’t.
An Alberta Electric System Operator report indicates that the infrastructure costs required to reach the 2035 net-zero electricity target would cost taxpayers around $52 billion.
Independent econometrics firm Navius anticipates that the lost economic activity caused by increased electricity prices will be around $35 billion.
The plan would also increase the cost of Albertans' monthly electricity bills by at least 40%!
Even putting aside cost and economic harm, the federal government’s 2035 goals simply don't allow for sufficient time to develop sufficient technology to reduce emissions, making the goal a de facto production cap - meaning no new projects and no new jobs.
It looks like our energy industry is the bull, and try as we might, Trudeau just won’t get bucked off.
The Calgary Stampede gives us 10 days of fireworks, but we can expect many more fireworks in the weeks and months ahead as Smith continues her showdown with Ottawa.
If the working group fails to produce acceptable terms for Alberta’s industry, we do have a significant legislative tool in our toolbox.
The Alberta Sovereignty Act.
Our cornerstone piece of legislation is written, passed, and ready to be used to defend our interests.
We just need to be ready to get to work.
So, if you’re able, please help us to make sure our ideas and vision for a freer, more prosperous Alberta are implemented:
Your generous contribution of $10, $20, or even $100 will help us to fight for our energy industry, advocate for our sovereignty, and navigate the challenges ahead.
The Free Alberta Strategy Team