We Americans don’t pay too much attention to Canadian politics. I don’t know why we don’t but it does seem that Canadian Hockey gets more play on American TV than its governmental or electoral affairs. Unless, of course the government official is Rob Ford on a crack binge, we simply just put Canadian politics on the “pay no mind” list.
Even people who I would put in the “politically aware” category and can spout off the names of leaders and important figures in Israel, Russia, Great Britain, or China all of a sudden go into head scratch mode when asked who is running Canada.
By the way, before you go googling it, Canada’s Prime Minister is Stephen Harper and he’s been in that position since 2006.
As of this writing, I have just gone back over what MSNBC is covering. They lead with “Deflategate,” followed by a big story on the British Elections. Canada’s historic election is not even on the ticker running below. Now a word from our sponsor, B.D.O..
But that’s not really important right now. What’s important is what happened in Alberta this week. Think of Alberta as the “Texas of Canada.” This is their wild west territory where a lot of the oil that Canada sends us comes from. In fact, a whopping 78% of Canada’s oil comes from Alberta. And in recent years a whole lot of it has come from those “tar sands” we keep hearing so much about.
And because those tar sands are there, This is where the Keystone pipeline begins as well. And for a good long time now, Canada’s Progressive Conservative Party, a party that is probably a little more conservative than progressive when it comes to energy policy have been running the show as the clear majority party. No, they aren’t the Tea Party by any stretch, but they do consistently support the oil industry almost without fail.
But now there’s a new sheriff in town, and her is name is Rachel Notley. And she is the leader of the party that just took over Alberta in a way that would be like if the democrats in one election flipped both legislative houses in Texas and the Governors office in 1 election.
And in Alberta, that’s exactly what happened. The New Democratic Party of Canada, a party that is a truly progressive party, self described as a “social-democrat” party, flipped Alberta’s legislature and Notley is now Alberta’s Premier, which is basically the equivalent to our Governor. Rachel Notley is now Gregg Abbott. And where Mr. Abbott down in Texas is using his executive authority to send his State Guard troops into rural Texas to monitor Army training missions and thwart any of Obama’s “martial law” attempts, Notley will use her’s in a slightly different and decidedly more responsible way.
For starters, the practice of Alberta spending tax dollars on lobbyists to send to Washington D.C. to push for the Canadian pipeline are over. And anyone who knows Washington knows that these things lose a lot of steam when all of a sudden the D.C. politicians aren’t getting their tribute. And that green pipeline at least has dried up. Also, the new boss and her party are very against expansion of what they already have in broad strokes. They don’t want their Province turned into an inhabitable tar pit in other words. And more specifically, just like a lot of Americans don’t want that disaster waiting to happen flowing through their state, neither do the majority of voters in Alberta.
So Keystone could be dead at its literal starting point, and American greed merchants will be helpless to do anything about it.
Notley will also be sparking a bunch of other initiatives to bring the oil industry in Canada back in line after having the fox in charge of the hen house for the past decades. Corporate taxes are expected to be raised. Not massively, but a mere 2% from where it now. Their “royalty” system will be reviewed for the good of the Albertan people and over the objections of yeah, you guessed it – the oil companies.
And make no mistake, the Canadian oil companies have been no less shameless in making veiled and sometimes not so veiled threats of “doom and gloom” if Notley and her “liberal pals” took over.
But so far, Alberta has not plunged into the predicted chaos and misery that was predicted. Their oil stocks did take a slight hit after the election, but not nearly as much as was predicted. Other than that, unless you are an oil executive, people in Canada are doing and feeling pretty darn good about the future.
Of course, there are those up in Canada that would appropriately be “cousins” to the tea people down in Texas, and of course they are OUTRAGED!!!
In Canadian Twitter-land, that equates to “I’m moving to Saskatchewan” tweets and the like.
But the wonderful news from Canadians is in the Province that produces almost 80% of its oil standing up and doing exactly what many in America has been trying to get some of our States to just get more responsible, in a common sense and environmentally friendly fashion hasn’t even been a blip on the radar? Really?
It has hardly been mentioned anywhere in the mainstream media. Not on Fox and not on CNN or MSNBC. Think about that the next time MSNBC goes to commercial and you get hit with happy ads from “Today’s Oil and Natural Gas Companies” and the accounting firm to billionaires and multi-national corporations, B.D.O. Who are they advertising to? When was the last time you were worried about your tax exposure in half a dozen foreign markets? Maybe they aren’t really “advertising” to anyone? Maybe it’s more about who is paying to keep the lights on and how those people usually can have a say in what makes the cut to get on the air with threats of pulling those dollars?
And the last time I checked, people aren’t beating down the door behind those companies who advertise on MSNBC or CNN or even Fox. Face it, cable news ratings, even the highest ones, are low on the scale. Honey Boo Boo outdoes any cable news network by a good stretch, as do a good number of reality shows on cable. It’s also a lot more expensive to keep reporters on call all over the world and maintain the logistics of a 24 hour live news network than it is to have a couple camera guys follow some hicks around a swamp. So those cable networks need those big companies and their money, just like they do in D.C.
And coincidentally, the equivalent of flipping Texas “blue” overnight isn’t a top story, as it should be but rather isn’t a story at all. Things that make you go hmmmmmmm.
What the N.D.P. did in Alberta should be a blue print for what we can do in red states here in the US. Notley and her party have shown that the right candidates with the right message can beat the billionaires and the powerful energy sector. Now change is on the way for Alberta as it takes a responsible place as both an energy producer and a more environmentally conscious global citizen. Make no mistake, Alberta isn’t going to stop drilling for oil or gas, as it is a valuable asset in that area. But the days of the oil companies profiting at every one else’s expense are over there, as they could be here. Places that have resources are going to exploit and use those resources, but it can be done responsibly and with an eye to the future where renewable sources and more earth friendly ways will take over. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing and Alberta understands that now.
Bring a democrat into The Texas Governor’s mansion and Texas will still be drilling too. Just maybe not in the most reckless ways possible, which happen to be the most profitable for the billionaires too. Countries around the world are showing they can meet their energy demands and do it in a responsible, truly forward thinking way.
By the way, we do have a self described “social-democrat” running here too, and his name is Bernie Sanders.
Check out Rachel Notley’s Victory Speech below. It’s really good. It also shows that politics can be civil. Never does Rachel elude to her opponents (whom she calls colleagues) as Hitler or the like. It’s serious, but it’s not mean.