No one can say that Jason Kenney is easing into his new job as premier of Alberta.
After appointing his cabinet this week (one from Edmonton, as expected, most of the rest from Calgary, as expected), Kenney proclaimed legislation passed by the NDP government that allows the province to shut off fuel supplies to B,C., the so-called ‘turn off the taps’ legislation. (For those of you confused by this, government bills only become law when they are proclaimed. Go figure.) Kenney has taken dead aim at the B.C. government as the major opponents of the TransMountain pipeline, even though the whole process is in limbo right now until yet another round of consultation is done, and the Liberals in Ottawa make up their minds about the project.
B.C. Premier John Horgan says the law is unconstitutional, which means that, yet again, courts will make the decision. Frankly, I don’t believe Kenney is churlish enough to ‘turn off the taps’ to B.C. Such a move would be potentially crippling to B.C., which gets 70% of its gas from Alberta. The NDP legislation was to make the point that it could be done; Kenney, by enacting the law, is saying he could do it at any moment.
It would be stupid, cruel and un-Canadian to make such a move. The ball in this game is clearly in Ottawa’s court. Although Horgan has said he will use every tool in the toolbox to block the pipeline, there is nothing for him to do until the feds make up their minds about the pipeline.
(On another matter, I watched Question Period on CTV on Sunday, where Evan Soloman interviewed the leader of the Green Party in B.C., Andrew Weaver, who holds the balance of power in BC. Weaver was wearing a ratty red and grey stripped sweater, over top of a rattier plaid shirt. He looked like he hadn’t washed his hair in a week. OK, we get it … you’re a Green Party guy. But would it hurt to wear a tie for a national TV appearance?)
Kenney certainly made his move with an eye towards gasoline prices in Vancouver and elsewhere in B.C., where a litre is going for about $1.70, highest in North America – and the summer driving season is fast approaching. Why so high? Well, it’s Vancouver, where everything and everyone is high.
Ha-ha. There are many reasons, which I won’t go into there because I don’t really understand them. Part of it is gouging by Big Oil, a chronic crime in this country that no government dares to address. Another big part is taxes: according to the finance ministry, provincial taxes for each litre of gasoline in the Vancouver region are 34.39 cents, comprising a 17-cent tax for the regional transportation agency TransLink, a 6.75-cent BC Transportation Financing Authority tax, a 1.75-cent provincial motor fuel tax and the 8.89-cent provincial carbon tax. I suspect that the no. 1 topic of conversation in B.C. is the price of gas, and by threatening to turn off the taps, Kenney is making the point that if you think $1.70 is awfully high, wait until there’s no gas for your car.
And now, only more trivial matters.
Female professional hockey players (yes, the exist) have long complained about the lack of respect (in terms of crowds and money) they get compared to the NHL. This week, the top women players in the game – names like … er … no one comes to mind – all sent identical tweets saying “we will not play in ANY professional leagues in North America this season until we get the resources that professional hockey demands and deserves.”
Wow. This is a bold move that will really upset their fan base (parents and boyfriends or girlfriends). The Canadian Women’s Hockey League won’t be impacted, however, because it has shut down due to lack of, well, everything.
I am confused by their strategy. Nobody watches women’s hockey. It’s not on TV, and the crowds arrive at the games in the same car. So, how does a withdrawal of service for a product that nobody wants going to help the situation? This falls under the category of cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Remember Smart cars, those rinky-dink two seaters that found favour with the smart set? You don’t see many of them around anymore, do you? There’s a reason for that: last year, only 345 Smart cars sold in all of Canada, and only 1,276 in the U.S. So it wasn’t a great surprise to hear this week that the car’s maker, Mercedes, is pulling out of North America.
Red Kelly, 91, legendary Detroit Red Wing and Toronto Maple Leaf … Peter Mayhew, 74, and actor you’ve certainly seen but would not recognize – he played Chewbacca in the Star Wars movies … John Singleton, 51, director of Boyz N the Hood, 2 Fast 2 Furious and others. He was the first African-American to be nominated for an Academy Award as best director.