Canada 2013: a world of fun -

Canada 2013: a world of fun


With Danielle Smith stomping across Alberta in the boots of history (OK, lousy metaphor), Pauline Marois richly earning the most awkward political nickname in memory (she’s la dame du béton, the woman of concrete, but whatever: she seems on track to win 85 of 125 seats at the next election) and the British Columbia centre-right hopelessly divided, it’s time to ponder the mess Canada might be in in a year.

Or not. You know, polls are for dogs, these are tidings of Christmases which may be, not Christmases which must be, etc. etc. blah de frickin blah. But let’s pretend.

Smith is likely to be premier of Alberta in two weeks. This is in some ways the least problematic outcome for Stephen Harper, not just because Smith and Harper agree on most things but because Smith has shown no tendency to want to run against Ottawa. She was in Ottawa several weeks ago and delivered a perfect snoozer of a lunchtime speech. Which may even have been the goal.

But one of the things Smith and Harper agree on is that Enbridge good, oil sands good, Northern Gateway good. BC premier-in-waiting Adrian Dix is not so sure about any of that, and seems likely to get elected on a platform of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipelines to Kitimat. The Harper government is doing everything to get oil sands products to port at Kitimat, a question Joe Oliver called “an urgent matter of Canada’s national interest.” In the first place, I expect Harper to deploy rapidly-escalating feats of ingenuity to stop Dix in advance of a B.C. election, but if it doesn’t work, it’s reasonable to expect epic confrontations between Harper and a premier-elect Dix.

As for Quebec: oy. Harper got elected in 2006 on a Quebec platform of nearly unconditional support for “the most federalist Quebec premier of my lifetime,” Jean Charest. He has never had to fight a PQ premier. I have a crazy hunch he would not be delicate about it, and indeed I rather hope he wouldn’t. But that antagonistic dynamic would be amplified by the presence of 58 Quebec NDP MPs forming the power base for the federal opposition leader. And one aspect of that antagonism would be the same energy-environment bundle of issues that would form the basis for Harper’s trouble in B.C.

I offer no prediction about how these fights would turn out. Harper thrives on conflict, and more is coming, so he may even find a way to profit. But it all looks like a fascinating couple of years.


Canada 2013: a world of fun

  1. So, 2013 is going to be more of the same. The country will continue to split itself among the Conservatives and NDP and the Liberals will continue to be completely irrelevant. Should be a popular message around here.

  2. Indeed.  Also look for the emergence of the breakaway Republic of Quentario, led by Justin Trudeau.

    •  Or we could just call it the original Canada, and let the others go where they will.

  3. Provincial politics is where the fun will be for the next few years. McGuinty’s minority probably won’t last long, some of the elections coming up may result in other minority governments, and with the CPC having it’s coveted majority in Ottawa, there won’t be much of interest happening there, with the exception of whatever “huge scandal” the media will be trying to sell on any given day.

    • Again, why does your name link to the Racknine website?

      • Because I am Pierre Poutine, and I’m an evil genius!

      • Better question, why are you still reading his posts? I skip them now.

    • It is too bad the scientifically literate Premiers can’t access the easy low interest rates or oil rent that our scientifically illiterate (or evil)  Premiers can access.  BC and Ontario are stuck borrowing at higher interest rates because finance doesn’t care.  Maybe because they are along with petro, the big recipients of tax cuts.  In an efficient country you can be smart and rich.  Canada post Liberals makes you choose sides.  So, is it the election after the next one T.Mulcair will run terminally ill (okay if unique aptitude)?  I figure I’ll fight with Libs for now.

      • …Harper could borrow for wind turbines built in any province cheaper than McGuinty can, right?

        • My life expectancy is 40-50 yrs.  Teach your grand-kiddies VERY well GOP CPC, Koch and Newscorp.

        • I guess this is because of the “flight-to-quality”, that I still don’t understand.  It is part big assets are preferred in recession, and part that Credit Ratings Agencies have so much power.  Which is strange, because I think the finance industry itself, market caps in the tens of trillions or more, should have the power and pay the analysts the teeny CRAs have (aggregate market cap in the billions?).  You could say Quebec and Ont will do good things because of hydro, but they will never get the attention of a couple small $200M market cap CRAs.  AB should spend the $50M they are blowing marketing tar (800 job/yrs if efficient FDR, 300 if given to AB wind to hire, and maybe 75 well paid oil sands jobs), and make their own CRA.  Existing ones are alread yin conflict-of-interest, why not a Crown competitor.  I’d expect the non-energy rankings to be honest.  I can’t handle that stupidity and evil are rewarded so generously in this nation now.  With the internet, you lose the excuse of IDK about a future holocaust.  If you can pass an H2S Course, you can read a scientific abstract.  The lefties in AB use media sources that don’t attack petro energy; is sick.

  4. But then some of the “fun” involves things that have an effect on the real lives
    of real people … some which will not be “fun”.

  5. I propose that the Northern Gateway pipeline project should be subject to the same environmental review process that alternative energy projects receive in Ontario by the McGuinty Liberals.

  6. 145 years later and we’re still struggling to put a country together.  Sigh.

    Well at least if Alberta and BC get into a fight, they’ll leave Ont alone for a change.

  7. I can’t wait. the NDP and Separatists ruling Quebec, with Mulcair as the PM in waiting in Ottawa, Bob Rae as leader of the Liberal Party and all of them anti- Western Canada, anti-Oil Development, Anti Big Business and against job creation and an improving economy.  At a time when Canadians say jobs and the economy are their major concerns? Love it! Bring on election 2015!

    •  Well none of them hold those positions….there’s your basic problem.

      •  That’s why they can never be quiet with their misrepresentations, even for a second.

  8. Well I hope to gawd they use the Mackenzie Valley pipline project as a fine example of missing the boat.  A third of the pipeline was to be owned by the Aboriginal Pipeline Group.  Over 37 years of foot dragging and now the supporters are going to the Alaska route instead.  Had they got going on this in early 2000 we could be shipping LNG to Asia at world prices.  Win-win-win for Canada, aboriginals, gas companies and Asia.

    “The pace of development of the $16.2 billion Mackenzie Valley pipeline, an energy megaproject that has been proposed and debated for decades, has been cut back.” 

    As far as Dix is concerned, the media are starting to sharpen their fangs as Dix will not state where he stands on anything – just having fun bashing Clark.  I hope they follow up but he is slippery and good at baffle-gab.  Still not sure what Cummins is doing (other than splitting the vote) but he plans on eliminating the carbon tax on gas which will make many people happy.  Maybe the teachers and BCGEU walking off the job and going on strike will shake things up, lol

  9. Maybe Harper’s legacy will be of eliminating the Liberal party and finally pushing Quebec to make a real decision on separation. You go or you accept to be treated equally as the rest of Canada (my hunch is they’s stay). Personally, I think that would be a grab accomplishment. 

  10. As someone from Vancouver, BC, now living in Montréal, QC, my perspective is that Harper has done more to advance the idea that Quebec should separate from Canada than anyone else has. Harper has laid the foundations for the “concrete lady” to win a significant majority in the next Quebec elections. I expect that Harper will continue to feed the Quebec independence fire more and more fuel, as time passes.  I doubt that will finally be achieved, but Harper has given it a fighting chance again.

    • I see that people have not been paying attention or learning any lessons from the global economic crisis.

      Quebec cannot separate. A sovereign country has to have its own currency.  Quebec becomes Greece or Portugal or Spain overnight once it separates, a country deep in debt using another entitys/country’s currency.  i.e Automatic debt slavery and severe austerity.  Same result if one attempts to start your own currency from scratch in the middle of a global economic crisis.

      Quebec goes from relative sovereignty within Canada to a foreign-banker-controlled state overnight.  Say goodbye to Hydro-Quebec and subsidized electricity, which will be the first asset the international plutocrats seize in return for keeping Quebec on a morphine drip.

      Quebec needs Canada more than it ever has at this moment in time.  The global economic crisis has made it the worst possible moment for sovereignty.

      Choosing total sovereignty at this moment would end the Quebecois fact.  The best and brightest would flee. 

      The sovereignist true believers are mostly old and nearly dead, and maybe they don’t care, and perhaps desire the Pyrrhic victory above all else now.

      They have been delusional all along.  It wouldn’t be surprising for them to be delusional to the bitter end, and by end, I mean “end” squared, capitalized.

      •  They don’t need their own currency….but they could have one if they wanted it.

        Countries separate when they choose to, like it or not.

        • Is Greece a sovereign state using another entity’s currency and with a leader and government chosen by european bankers?

          Italy’s prime minister and government was chosen by european bankers.

          Spain and Portugal are likely to get their international banker imposed leaders and governments this year.

          True Quebec “sovereignty” is not an available option while the global economic crisis is ongoing.  Quebec can have relative sovereignty within Canada, or it will have a leader and government imposed on it by international bankers.

          Sovereignty, at this moment in history, will lead to the end of the Quebecois fact.  We are in a post-sovereign era because of the global economic crisis. Sovereignty is suicide, with plenty of collateral damage.

          The thing is that because of the global economic crisis, Quebec interest rate spreads will or should begin to blow out with the election of the PQ, unless the PQ renounces any movement toward sovereignty during the campaign.

          Reality is fast catching up to Ontario and Quebec.  The consequences of continued delusional thinking are nearly upon us.

          Stability right now is a confidence game.  If one spooks the banksters, when one is drowning in debt, like Ontario and Quebec, it is game over.

          •  My goodness, you’ve worked yourself into quite a scenario.

            34 new countries have been created since 1990, and they’re doing just fine.

            Many other places are preparing to do the same thing in the next few years.

            Nobody is drowning in debt here, and we are in no danger of being taken over by bankers, so cease dreaming about Greece.  It’s pre-industrial, just like Alberta.

          • I’d be curious about both OE1 and Harper’s opinion about Mali now.  lol.  I didn’t listen to Harper about focusing on Syria last year.  Even without new SAMs you can still mildly degrade your enemy’s airforce.  Coalition will have a dozen fewer planes or 3 fewer hospitals down the road as a result of ousting the pretty boy they got tired of seeing.
            ooo, what about Kurds in Turkey?

          •  I’m more concerned about your tinfoil hat…it appears to be slipping.

          • For the record, I don’t mind ousting Gaddhafi because he subsidized oil consumption, and thus his own people’s future famines.  S.Europe and N.Africa will be parched.  Lot’s of the technologies and tools AB uses were invented in Italy and S.France.  The best hope to develop Africa is to enrich N.Africa but that might not happen in time.
            Al-Qaida is now the 3rd largest political faction in Mali.  Al-Qaida were the ones who promised to attack Canada.  I’m thinking Bin Laden would still be at large if we listened to Layton (I was NDPer for a yr or two).  After learning of finance’s connection to oil, I’m kind of happy he took out the Twin Towers, not the other targets though.  Especially if particle accelerators tell us more about tachyons.

          • I understand much of this is mildly classfied.  You don’t want to label you are arming yourself against Russia or China and have their media and citizens lobby for even more airforce, thus arms-racing and changing initial presumptions.  Mainly, the F-35 was projected to have a massive production run.  This is being cut by recession and technical failures.  For example, somewhere on the surface it is rusting or wearing out on screws or washing or something, and this is a direct result of the stealth.
            Al-Qaida in Mali wants their own country.  Kurds want pieces of three countries and are attacking human rights abuser Turkey in a way that if Turkey were Israel, Turkey would invade the country.  Separation for both?

      • Soft sovereignists have always been about blackmailing the ROC. I think they scared themselves with the near win in the last referendum; even if the PQ get up the nerve to try again, I don’t think the voters will bite.

        But nationalism is emotional, not rational. If the PQ manage to push the right buttons – and Harper the wrong ones – there’s always a slim chance the softies will get swept up in the moment and we’ll find ourselves reliving 1995.

  11. I’m curious to see how the NDP plays it:  will they lean more toward Quebec separatism in their new role as the next-generation Bloc?  Or will they maintain federalism and find themselves supporting Harper whenever the issue comes up?  Or will they try for a middle road in which they support federalism nominally while arguing that Harper’s tactics are all wrong?  

    • I’d bet on option # 3. They want to form the next government, so finding a balance that will allow them to retain their Quebec seats while growing in popularity elsewhere will be critical to success.

  12. If Mulcair sticks with the Sherbrooke Declaration Harper can win almost every single seat outside Quebec.

  13. Stampede will be popular this year. 


  14.  In the first place, I expect Harper to deploy rapidly-escalating feats of ingenuity to stop Dix in advance of a B.C. election, but if it doesn’t work, it’s reasonable to expect epic confrontations between Harper and a premier-elect Dix.

    You mean like sending Ken Boesenkool to be Christy Clark’s Chief of Staff?  How’s that working out?

    Harper and Oliver can scream all they like. My money is on the longevity and ” rapidly-escalating feats of ingenuity” in the courts and elsewhere by First Nations/aboriginals to delay the Gateway Project long enough to make other routes (such as Danielle Smith has proposed – to the East Coast of Canada) economically viable – you know the time value of money argument.

    If Harper goes after Dix, it will be similar to Mulroney blaming Wells for the failure of Meech Lake.

    • How sending the oil to the east coast is economically feasible. The oil has to get to China! Not Europe (they get theirs from the Middle East). So going east is not the solution. Go West boy!

      •  Panama canal, NW passage

        • What’s the difference, except much more expensive. If it’s fine for them, I don’t see why we can’t ship it through the Gateway pipeline.

          • I agree…but it’s up to the people of BC as to whether or not a pipeline goes in.

          • lol, I don’t think AB realizes is landlocked.

          •  Heh…probably not. A few years ago they were talking about buying nuclear subs.

          • Well, that is the problem with Canada. Every province thinks only of itself. This pipeline is vital for all of Canada. Where is Ontario and Quebec think their equalization payments will come from? You can’t have it all. And B.C. is not in such a fantastic financial position to be that blind.

          •  And again with the Alberta myth it’s supporting everyone. LOL

            Ont supplies 40% of Canada’s GDP

            Alberta supplies 16%

          • May be so, but Ontario is going broke and is now a have-not province. So these figures won’t always be so.

          •  No, Ont is not going broke, and all we get is a small rebate on the $20B plus, that we kick in for equalization.

            You may not like Ont, but don’t indulge in wishful thinking….we’ll continue to be around and doing well

  15. Is this the new journalism? Why write “the mess Canada might be in in a year” instead of “the mess Canada might be a year from now”? Why use “which’ when “that” will do? Nitpicking? No it’s not. Sloppy reporting suggests sloppy thinking. Time to tidy the grey cells. Precision is a measure of sincerity, after all.

    Watch for the venemous riposte.

    • Does sloppy spelling also suggest sloppy thinking?

    • Wells is the 45-year-old veteran with a 75-year-old’s brain.

  16. I would check again on the “Danielle Smith doesn’t want to run against Ottawa”.

  17. How on earth is Harper going to accomplish all of that and maintain the Forteress Toronto? Fighting a PQ Premier actually help that but there’s a strong feeling on Bay street that subsidising the oil sands diminishes the value of minerals in Ontario(and it’s true). Also now that he’s trown under the bus two very prominent PC conservatives the Canadian Alliance stench will be too much to bear for the Mike Harris Conservatives. 

  18. D.Smith doesn’t spend all her time changing poopies and trying to create a mini-her.  She knows she is the lottery ticket people have kids to try to get.  I’m confident she will figure out the science of climate change sooner or later.  It is heat physics.  (From the Sun) Photons are discrete packets of energy that travel in a wave.  The “angrier” wavelengths are gamma and x-rays stopped by atmosphere.  The chill waves make it through but are turned even lazier by Earth.  Infrared (heat, like what you feel in your heart when you fall in love with a beautiful Premier-to-be) wavelengths can’t make it out of atmosphere like visible light can.  The temperature rises until AB grain harvests fail.
    We might have trouble with another green revolution as breeding is a lower hanging fruit than gene splicing.  We could stop using farmland for biofuels.  We could stop eating meat.  A carbon tax looks easier then ending the BBQs.  Still a decade or two away from cutting the t-bone cuts as fake meat.  And with fake leaders whose path of least resistance is alignment with existing and ever-lower-taxed food processing industry…D.Smith:  I’ll see you in the next life, when we are both cats.  In this life aaaaahhhhhhh

    • …I guess the solution to rising sea-levels is to hope the mass migrations are contained to the Eastern Hemisphere and to hope the poor can get rich enough to be as beautiful as some of us are.   esh she clap    aaaahhhhhhh

  19. Hey Wells, I was wondering when you would wake up to the new dynamic. I guess Coyne recent energy/environment West/Quebec column gave you the quick tutorial to stop waiting for the federal Libs to re-awaken with another savior.

    • So, wise but maybe not an attentive reader.

  20. Would Harper still wish to hold a federal referendum on the same day of a provincial referendum on secession?

  21. As I was saying…

    But aboriginal leaders in British Columbia say they are becoming increasingly dismayed with the public hearing process and are now seriously considering bypassing the hearings and heading straight to court.

    Coastal First Nations spokesman Art Sterritt said the cancellation of a day-and-a-half of scheduled review panel hearings in the central B.C. coastal community of Bella Bella last week signalled to many aboriginals that Ottawa has already heard enough from Northern Gateway’s opponents.

    “My guess is they are now going to try and shut it down by the fall,” said Mr. Sterritt, whose organization is an alliance of about a dozen First Nations along B.C.’s north and central coasts and Haida Gwaii.

    “We are not now going to try and educate the panel as well as we had hoped we would. We are now going to review our legal options because that’s where we are going to end up, no doubt about it. Let’s just have at it. There’s no sense waiting around.”

    A related story from Reuters

    Much of the risk for Enbridge stems from the lack of treaties in British Columbia between most native bands, known as first nations, and the government, despite years of talks.

    In the absence of such agreements, there is uncertainty over how aboriginal rights and title apply, raising thorny questions over whether the pipeline requires actual consent from dozens of first nations affected by the project.

    “There will be huge litigation. Absolutely,” said Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, an alliance of 10 native groups on British Columbia’s northern and central coasts that has been vocal in opposing the project.

    “There have been many court cases that have defined the landscape in British Columbia. Aboriginal title exists here. It’s not just some vague concept.”

  22. “Every
    time you hear the federal government say “national interest,” insert
    “corporate interest” and you’ll see a clearer picture. The prime
    minister is abdicating his responsibility to serve in the best interests of
    Canadians — and Canadians, such as University of Alberta political economy
    professor Gordon Laxer, are right to be asking: when will Harper stop thinking
    as an oil CEO and start acting like he is Prime Minister of Canada?” By Emma Gilchrist: Prime Minister By Day, Oil Exec By Night Posted: 02/13/2012
    12:07 am in Huff Post Politics Canada.

    • When is Gordon Laxer of the University of Alberta start saying: “Where are we going to get the funds to keep Canada going as a prosperous, healthy and successful country?” He may change his mind about the oil sands.