Keystone cancellation lets Kenney play pipeline theatre

Jason Kenney may have blown billions of dollars of Albertans’ public money betting on Donald Trump and Keystone XL, but it’s paying off for him personally.

He’s been doing the rounds in the media all week playing up a performance as the great pipeline defender, the champion of Alberta oil.

Never mind that the Keystone XL pipeline, even if it were built, wouldn’t be the economic miracle the industry lobbyists tell us it would be. With the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion locked in, there really isn’t much demand for more pipeline capacity. That’s all right for the Premier, though. He’s not after long-term economic benefits, he’s after donations and (eventual) votes, and shaking your fist about pipelines has always been a great way to get those in Alberta. We’ve all known for nearly a decade that our politicians have no real idea how to bring the boom back, but we let them pretend.

It’s very convenient for Mr. Kenney that he doesn’t actually need to get the pipeline built to reap the benefits of looking like he’s fighting for it, too, because it really doesn’t look like he’s going to get it done. Going on Fox News doesn’t seem like a great way to convince Democrat President Joe Biden of much of anything. And recent news from Alberta’s anti-environmentalist public inquiry isn’t going to help either. Last week the inquiry revealed that, while it hasn’t come up with much evidence of any foreign-funded conspiracy to destroy Alberta, they’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars commissioning reports from fossil fuel lobbyists and right-wing cranks.

One report, which the inquiry spent $28,000 of public funds on, rants at length about the ‘Great Reset’ conspiracy theory, alleging that climate change is a hoax that shadowy global elites are using to overthrow capitalism, depopulate the Earth and force humanity back to a pre-industrial society. Martin Olszynski of the University of Calgary Faculty of Law, summarizing the collection of bizarre and wildly expensive submissions, describes them as “textbook climate denialism.”

Kenney’s not going to convince anyone but his die-hard fans to take his side with material like this. But remember--his interest doesn’t lie in actually winning this fight. He just wants to look like he’s doing something. So he continues to get up there day after day, swinging his rhetorical fists, embarrassing each and every one of us--and burning up our money while he’s at it.


This is the online version of the Progress Report email newsletter. Don't depend on some social media or search engine algorithm to find this content in the future. Sign up to get the best left wing political newsletter in your inbox every Tuesday