Dear Premier Horgan,
I’m still mad at you for carrying on with Site C Dam, based on the utterly bogus reasons you offered the public. But when it comes to Kinder Morgan, I’ve got your back, because you clearly have mine — along with all British Columbians determined to protect our precious air, land, and water in what we are proud to call Super, Natural BC. You’re on the right track — stay the course.
I’m proud of the well-reasoned, principled stance you’ve taken in the face of unconscionable bullying and bluster from your Alberta counterpart, Rachel Notley, and our Prime Minister.
As you’ve stated, the Royal Society, a preeminent collective of Canadian scientists, has identified significant knowledge gaps with regards to how diluted bitumen behaves when it’s spilled into our environment. You’ve said that until we get answers to these questions we should not be expanding the flow of this gunk through our waters. I agree.
Some have accused you of using this issue to delay the project — I don’t believe that, but even if I did, that wouldn’t change my opinion. For reasons of climate, ecology, Indigenous rights, and protecting BC’s economy, this pipeline should not be built, period.
I’ve read lots of comments on stories about this bizarre Alberta-led “Trade War” calling you and Rachel both children. There are two children in this fiasco — one’s name is Rachel and the other’s Justin. You are not among them.
When Little Rachel doesn’t get her way, she indulges in petulant retaliation, like depriving her own citizens of delicious BC wines, making idle threats and pouty faces. When Justin feels disrespected by the very people he’s running roughshod over, he throws temper tantrums — “Aw, come on! Really? Really!” He turns into a playground bully. As I’m sure you know, John, the last thing you do with bullies is give into them.
New BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson dog-piled on you today, saying “Premier John Horgan has decided to pick a fight with Alberta that is probably going to lead to a constitutional challenge and in which British Columbia will probably lose in the courts.” How is this your fault, John? For listening to science when no other leader seems interested? For standing up for the people who elected you? For refusing to be cowed into submission? No, you’re doing your job, as you should.
Rachel picked this fight and Justin’s egging her on. Andrew doesn’t seem to understand the people he is now seeking to lead. We’re not going to roll over and allow ourselves to become the doormat for Asia-bound heavy oil that threatens our economy and environment while further destroying our planet’s climate — all while getting nothing in return (unless he counts 50 jobs at the new Kinder Morgan terminal). Why on earth would we ever do that?
It is unfortunate that Rachel made BC’s winemakers innocent victims of her retaliation. Thankfully many British Columbians are pulling up their socks to make them whole. It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to drink all those nicely balanced Chardonnays and full-bodied, complex Cab-Savs — and we British Columbians, with our newfound friends in Quebec, are up to the task. Sooner or later, Rachel’s own citizens — some of whom actually own vineyards in BC or whose establishments depend on BC wines — will get fed up with this futile campaign.
Will this end up in the courts? Who knows. Justin maintains a Texas pipeline company’s project, designed to benefit big oil companies who continue cutting local jobs while keeping profits to their shareholders and foreign owners, is in the “National Interest.” John, you and I know that’s a load of hooey and proving it in court, in order to invoke Sections 91 and 92 of our constitution, is a far bigger challenge than Justin would care to admit.
We also both know there is far more to this story — like the Indigenous rights Justin (and you) have pledged to respect. The courts haven’t yet had their say on that matter. Then there are the moral and political calculations at hand. Justin needs BC’s 17 Liberal seats far more than he does his 4 in Alberta. He’s carefully cultivated a youthful, Sunny Ways brand in the eyes of local and international media. How does that square with calling in jackbooted RCMP or soldiers to stomp all over First Nations grandmothers, youth, decent British Columbians — all captured on social media for the world to see?
Rachel’s on the way out — anyone can see that this is merely a desperate last-ditch ploy for her to cling to power. But for you and Justin, how you carry yourselves on this file could have a decisive impact on your reelection. Your position is politically wise. You have much ground to make up from your disastrous Site C decision. This won’t fix that problem (what would fix it is reversing that call — it’s not too late). But it helps.
Justin, on the other hand, has now painted himself into a corner. It’s hard for him to walk back these strong declarations he and his government have made about getting the pipeline built. Yet it’s impossible for him to carry on this logical fallacy that we can’t meet his climate goals or protect the coast from oil spills without building another pipeline and exporting more oil! Moreover, with these heavy-handed tactics against BC citizens and First Nations, he stands to smear his own brand with Tar Sands goop and lose a lot of key seats in BC.
Justin needs to decide between the oil lobbyists who have clearly captured his government and his own political future.
As for your political future, John, that’s an open question, but it can only benefit from staying the course on Kinder Morgan. Rachel and Justin will keep bullying you. The Old Media pundits and business lobbyists will push you to question yourself. Right-wing British Columbians who would never in a million years vote for you anyway will slag you on social media. Pay no mind.
The rest of us are raising a glass of the Okanagan’s finest in your name.