Monday, November 18, 2019

On unreliable suppliers

There's been plenty of bluster between Jason Kenney and Yves-Francois Blanchet over equalization and its relationship to the oil industry. But it's worth pointing out that to the extent Quebec (or any other province or jurisdiction) currently relies on fossil fuels from Alberta, Kenney himself has gone out of his way to make that an unacceptable risk. 

After all, Kenney's very first act in office was to declare that any supply of oil to a province which has concerns about pipelines can be cut off at any moment - taking what was already a dangerous symbol, and turning it into an immediate threat.

For the moment, there's a temporary injunction preventing Kenney from acting on it. But there's no indication he's backed off of the initial inclination to try to blackmail his province's customers into further endangering their own environment as the price of having any access to Alberta oil.

That represents an obvious reason why any Canadian province should be hesitant to make itself any more reliant on the tar sands than it can possibly avoid - particularly in deciding whether to accept the construction of long-term oil infrastructure. And even independent of the climate dangers of avoidable fossil fuel consumption, the safe course of action for any province looks to be to wean itself off the supply of an unscrupulous pusher as soon as possible.

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