I noticed an interesting exchange at the bottom of the Globe’s otherwise glib piece on Geoff Plant’s taxpayer paid Enbridge gig this morning. Do Clark’s Liberals ever miss a chance to feather their friends nests.
Last time I looked Plant knows nothing about the file nor these kind of regulatory hearings. Just another one for the boys.
But I digress. Here’s the quote that caught my attention at the bottom of the story:
“Ms. Clark said there has been no contact with Alberta over B.C.’s concerns about a “fair share” of revenues from the project, which led to an impasse between Ms. Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford at a recent premiers meeting in Halifax.
“The ball is very, very firmly in Alberta’s court right now,” she said.
“My phone is on the hook, ready to ring. They have got my phone number. It hasn’t started ringing.”
“Ms. Clark said the Alberta-B.C. relationship is smooth despite disagreement on this issue.”
Ms. Clark is lying.
Ms. Redford ain’t gonna call. Lonely old Christy Clark will sit by that phone all fall, through the spring fake budget, through the election, while she’s packing up the office; right through and past The End and there will still be no call.
You see Redford’s away playing with the big kids, the one’s who really matter.
Ms. Clark’s reputation is in tatters nationally. Her performance at the Premiers’ conference was received with incredulous disdain by virtually every person there. There isn’t another senior politician in Canada who considers her a player, and worse they all know there is no reason to play. Clark, they all know, has no future.
Redford on the other hand was seen as a force to be reckoned with into the future, and on not just the pipeline file.
Here’s Clark’s problem: The timeline laid out by the Harper government for the pipeline hearings and consideration takes the Environmental Review way past the election date.
In that light, Alberta and the Federal government have two options: work some kind of deal with an unelected premier heading for a wipeout style defeat or let the hearings proceed and deal with the new Dix government on the environmental and economic issues, albeit with little chance of resolution in favour of the pipeline.
A quick look at the first option should be enough to relegate it to the trash can. Redford cannot possibly open the oil revenue can. A precedent on that issue opens up all kinds of economic hostage taking opportunities based on supply lines.
Giving an inch on that is also the most perfect recipe for an election loss going in Alberta. It would be like their own version of the HST fiasco times ten. There will be no call from Redford, unless its one to say a happy goodbye to BC’s hapless premier.
Harper’s in even a worse position. The other option is for a federal deal on coinage. But let’s just play that forward.
Harper find’s some revenue to stuff into Clark’s coffers. The pipeline gets the A-okay over the wishes of BC voters. And the timing? Sometime in early 2014, fresh enough to affect the 2015 election. The upshot is that Harper loses BC seats. He can’t afford that.
And then there’s Alberta. Harper’s from Alberta, remember? From Calgary oilpatch Alberta. What’s the one thing that won’t play there from a hometown guy? A sellout. And any move to play into Clark’s extortion politics will be seen as a massive sellout – kind of Harper’s own version of a national oil plan that shares Alberta’s benefits with every premier with a hand out.
This too is not going to happen. Ever.
If Clark is waiting for Redford to call, that’s the clearest sign that this particular BC Liberal strategy (event? incident? strategy seems to large a word for this play) is over. Because that dog ain’t gonna hunt. So with no more ammunition in the bag she’s clearly packed this one in.
All that’s left is jobs for the boys.