Paul Hinman, Interim Leader, Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta
Enough is enough. It is time for action on pipelines.
The partisan political cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline for the 2nd time, the obstruction of Energy East by Quebec, the recent obstruction of line 5 by the Governor of Michigan, and the imposition of anti-pipeline bills by Justin Trudeau – all make it crystal clear that Alberta requires alternate pipeline routes to tidewater, through Canada.
When Alberta joined Confederation in 1905, we were promised the right to freely trade and transport our goods within Canada free of obstruction. Section 121 of the Constitution (BNA Act) reads as follows:
- All Articles of the Growth, Produce, or Manufacture of any one of the Provinces shall, from and after the Union, be admitted free into each of the other Provinces.
Since the election of Justin Trudeau, Alberta’s constitutional right to freely transport our oil & gas production across Canada has been unconstitutionally obstructed by the federal government. Moving west across Northern B.C. is effectively blocked with the imposition of the discriminatory Bill C-48 ‘B.C. tanker ban’ and the red tape quagmire Bill C-69 ‘No More Pipelines’ Act.
While Trudeau obstructs Alberta’s economy – Alberta still pays Ottawa over $20 billion net in federal taxes per year. This is $20 billion more than what we receive back in services and funding, with $13 billion being diverted annually by the feds to Quebec in equalization. This situation is morally unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue. Alberta now risks becoming a ‘have not Province’, so it’s time to act.
The Alberta governing United Conservative Party approved Intergovernmental Policy 302.2.A in November 2019, which called for an Alberta referendum to ensure Canada honours section 121 of the Constitution to allow free trade. Why hasn’t Premier Kenney called this referendum?
While Ottawa obstructs our rights to free trade under section 121 – they continue to demand that Albertans keep paying significant federal taxes under section 91 of the constitution. Why should Alberta continue to pay taxes under section 91, if the federal government will not honour our right to free trade under section 121?
Alberta must take immediate action to prevent Ottawa from blocking the sale of our energy products to the world. Here’s what we need to do now:
- Demand the Federal government repeal Bill C- 48 and Bill C-69 as being unconstitutional due to section 121 of the Constitution.
- Demand the federal government immediately instruct the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) to begin the approval process, on a fast-tracked basis, for the First Nations led Eagle Spirit energy corridor project.
- Demand that work recommence immediately on the Trans Mountain Expansion construction to the coast without any further delays until it is completed, and
- Let the federal government know that Alberta will start collecting all the taxes from residents and businesses with a new Alberta Revenue Agency. Once we control the money, Alberta can ensure we no longer have to play a one-sided crooked game with Ottawa.
Talk is cheap. It’s time for Alberta to stand up and fight back. Instead, Jason Kenney is quietly sipping his glass of Trudeau’s CO2-flavoured Koolaid while the economy of Alberta faces ruin, Alberta taxpayers are looted and every pipeline project sinks into oblivion.