Column: Another resource project, another window to the absurdity of modern Canada.
Coastal Gas Link: A project supported by the elected leaders of all 20 First Nations along its route and by most of their people for the opportunities it will bring to an economically depressed region. It’s even supported by 8 of the 13 hereditary Wet’suwet’en chiefs who some believe hold rights over traditional territory outside their reserves.A pipeline for natural gas, not oil (which should be obvious from the name), which means leaks/spills from it would be relatively harmless to the environment. Natural gas that would be turned into LNG, shipped to China and displace coal-fired electricity thereby actually reducing GHG emissions.This is the issue that some feel is worth essentially shutting down Canada?Worth freight rail being shut down in eastern Canada and CN looking at 6,000 layoffs?Worth the Maritimes running short on propane and major cities running out of chlorine to treat water?Worth passenger rail being shut down nationwide, blocking a low carbon method of transportation to stop a project that would reduce global emissions?Worth the inconvenience and lost wages of thousands of workers who’ve been unable to get where they need to be due to these blockades?Meanwhile, with all this going on, our Prime Minister has spent the last week galavanting around Africa shamelessly using our money to try and buy the votes of countries with disappointing human rights for a security council seat that would bring no measurable benefit to Canada. It does seem someone finally talked enough sense into him to get him to cancel this week’s trip to Barbados though.The total lack of a serious response so far will only embolden protestors to attempt similar tactics now that they realize how easily a few small groups can bring the country to its knees. Government officials keep saying “Canada is a nation of laws”, but it’s becoming reasonable to ask for any proof of that>Albertans rightfully despise Pierre Trudeau, but his decisiveness responding to the FLQ crisis is the kind of action we could use from Justin right now. To quote the elder Trudeau (something I never thought I’d say): Yes, well there are a lot of bleeding hearts around who just don’t like to see people with helmets and guns. All I can say is, go on and bleed, but it is more important to keep law and order in this society than to be worried about weak-kneed people who don’t like the looks of a soldier’s helmet … I think the society must take every means at its disposal to defend itself against the emergence of a parallel power which defies the elected power in this country and I think that goes to any distance. So long as there is a power in here which is challenging the elected representative of the people I think that power must be stopped and I think it’s only, I repeat, weak-kneed bleeding hearts who are afraid to take these measures.A recent poll showed just how deep the threat to Canada’s existence is becoming. Among Albertans: 78% think the federal government has lost touch with average people here (more than the 69% who voted CPC last fall), 77% believe Alberta needs more autonomy, 65% think Canada is in the midst of a national unity crisis, and fully 62% believe Alberta has a legitimate reason to want to separate.The last week has seen multiple conservative MPs and MLAs hint that rejections of either Teck Frontier or Coastal Gas Link would leave Alberta looking to chart a new course, and one to come out and say the words “independence referendum”.Perhaps these protests will have the unintended consequence of waking up the rest of Canada to her dependence on Alberta. But if Justin wishes to keep fiddling and allow a tiny fringe to block all resource projects it will someday be seen as one more catalyst on Alberta’s road to freedom from this absurd, unwieldy, mess that we all pretend is a functioning country.