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Jason Kenney sells false hopes on Albertans on pipelines



Pipelines are clearly in the mind of Jason Kenney. Alberta's prime minister mentioned them at least six times in his winning speech on Tuesday night.

Getting huge oil resources to the new markets is a central part of its promise to get the province out of the economic sphere and get back to work.

Unfortunately, the path he set up could make this goal almost unavoidable.

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Likely to return the previous NDP price to carbon and reject a plan to ban the coal-fired power plant by 2030, Mr. Kenney sets Alberta for a long-lasting struggle – with Ottawa, with its own energy industry and potential buyers of oil and gas.

The irony is that starting the construction of a new pipeline could be much closer to reality than they believe Mr Kenney and most Albertana.

Or, it was.

Already on May 23, the federal government will be in a position to approve the outdated project of the Trans Mountain gas pipeline extension, which will transport raw material outside Edmonton to Burnaby, BC on the west coast. The National Energy Committee approved gas pipeline in February, and the federal cabinet has given at least three months to review the decision.

The call should be simple. Ottawa is the owner of the gas pipeline, after being bought by Kinder Morgan from Houston last year. Justin Trudeau's Liberal government has repeatedly said it will do all it takes to begin the long-planned gas pipeline expansion, with an estimated cost of nearly $ 10 billion. Ottawa has already allocated $ 4.5 billion to buy an existing gas pipeline.

But that promise was always conditioned by Alberta's compliance with the Ottawa plan to meet its carbon reduction targets.

If Mr Kenney changes the climate plan of the previous government, Mr. Trudeau will have no choice but to introduce a carbon tax in Alberta – as his government already has in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

Alberta could join Ontario in the fight against carbon tax in court. But it can not avoid the tax.

For its part, Ottawa has no incentive to play Albert on Trans Mountain while Mr. Kenney breaks the central part of the agenda of the liberal government. And without Alberta, Canada can not meet the emission reduction targets agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Instead, Trudeau's government will have a good reason to fall back on approving Trans Mountain.

Mr. Kenney also talked about the resurgence of two more canceled pipelines – the TransCanada Energy East project for oil transfer to the east coast and the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, linking Alberta to the north coast of British Columbia.

Both of these projects are even bigger than Trans Mountains. Speaking of them as Alberta's solutions to short-term economic pain, Mr. Kenney gives Albert a false hope.

Perhaps Mr Kenney is looking further away from Liberian Trudeau, hoping Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives will defeat them in the October elections.

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But it's short-lived.

The struggle over the pipeline is an unfortunate distraction of what should be the area of ​​Mr Kenney's and Mr. Trudeau's – subtracting Alberta from the dirty work of using coal to produce so much electricity.

Alberta is currently producing about half of its electricity from coal.

Mr. Kenney insisted in his winning speech that Alberta seriously understood the climate change. "We are world leaders in innovations to reduce emissions and reduce Canadian ecological footprint," he said.

This can happen when it comes to oil sands. But the world will never look kindly on Alberta until it burns so much coal as it produces relatively clean oil and natural gas for export.

If Mr. Kenney was serious about climate change, he would be quicker and not slower to cut off the coal land. And he will find ways to build more power plants in the province, firing cheap, lavish, and much cleaner natural gas.

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The reason that Alberta has been so agonized to throw away his "dirty" image of oil is not that of crude oil sand. Nor is it because the province is not sufficiently muscular in dealing with environmental critics.

This is because so much electricity is produced by using dirty coal.

And that is the story that Alberta can all overwrite.

Prime Minister Alberto Jason Kenney addresses celebrity supporters in Calgary, promising to return the province's economy on the right track and fight for pipelines. Canadian printing


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