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NDP wins argument to keep oil flowing – wait, what?

If Alberta must ship oil to BC, then Alberta must be permitted to ship oil through BC.
Oil Tanker STI Excellence sails into Vancouver Harbour , June 20th, 2019 (Macklin Holloway /

I must admit to enjoying, in a perverse way, the provocative and troublemaking nature of Alberta’s turn-off-the-taps legislation. But it was always bound to fail in the courts: no province can cut off supplies to another out of pique.

What the case did accomplish was to expose that most undesirable of political traits: hypocrisy. In this case the hypocrisy of the BC NDP government regarding Alberta’s oil supplies.

People don’t like hypocrites, and political hypocrisy is always damaging. It can be minor; for example, Elizabeth May’s disposable cup transmorphing into a reusable cup and a steel straw. Foolish, but it’s not going to damage the Greens’ campaign.

Justin Trudeau’s repeated blackface has led to accusations of hypocrisy which may turn out to cost him in the election, although no one seriously accuses him of racism.

If Alberta were to choke off fuel supplies to the Lower Mainland, it would create a political nightmare. No wonder the government rushed into court to stop the possibility.

However, at the same time, the government is an avowed opponent to building pipelines through BC which are needed to ship Alberta oil to tidewater.

There’s no logic to the position. If Alberta must ship oil products to BC, then Alberta must be permitted to ship oil through BC.

The Canadian economy loses billions of dollars every year by selling Alberta oil at a discount to our only customers, all in the United States marketplace. At the same time, Canada imports about $34 billion worth of fossil fuels per year, including $20 billion worth of crude oil. It comes from such estimable regimes as Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria. Apparently it’s better to use imports than our own Canadian products.

Again: there’s no logic.

The BC NDP had it right in opposing Alberta’s threat to turn off the taps. Where they are wrong, and where they are contributing to Canadians losing billions of dollars every year, is stymying Alberta’s efforts to get its products to the world.

The NDP are in a position of having won the argument to keep the taps open – and trying to ignore their own arguments to prevent more from being built.

Now that’s hypocrisy.

Suzanne Anton QC is a former Attorney General of BC and Vancouver City Councillor