By Karen Howlett and Josh Wingrove, Globe and Mail, November 16, 2011
Alberta’s freshly minted premier is breaking a mould set over decades by her predecessors – cozying up to Central Canada, looking beyond her province’s borders and pushing for a national energy strategy.
Alison Redford met with Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and addressed the Economic Club of Canada on Wednesday, pushing for an energy strategy that pulls together Alberta’s oil sands, the hydro power of British Columbia, offshore oil in the Atlantic and Mr. McGuinty’s green energy agenda.
The moves signal a warming of ties between the two provinces, long at odds. Ms. Redford, meanwhile, is emerging after six weeks on the job as a premier anxious to shape the national agenda from a province whose leaders, she acknowledges, have often taken a more insular path.
“It’s not the way I’ve ever thought,” she said. “I see this as one big country with an awful lot of Canadians that have an interest in what our economic future will be.”
Proponents of a national energy strategy hope to position Canada as an energy superpower by cutting red tape and enabling it to seek new export markets. Such a move might, for instance, help smooth the way to build bitumen pipelines from Alberta to the West Coast, a key initiative of Ms. Redford’s administration.
Where is the Trudeau national energy program when it is its time?
Why does the premier of Alberta not include in her "forward thinking" a plan to build a pipeline to eastern Canada where refineries could produce needed energy to fuel our manufacturing sector, at prices favourable to the Canadian market?
There is much to be said for a newly minted premier attempting to forge new relationships between the provinces, especially coming from Alberta the home of "eastern Canadian bashers" for the last half century at least.
And where exactly is the national energy strategy, and the national leadership that might be expected from the federal government.....they really are not interested in Canada, so much as they are merely a bunch of sales agents for their corporate puppeteers, the oil and gas companies.
It is the federal government's obvious and negligent blind eye and deaf ear to the legitimate needs and aspirations of the people of Canada that renders it so easily dismissible from public legitimacy. And where are the media types to champion the national interests and thereby casting a large spotlight on the vaccuity and narcissism of the federal conservatives.
Ms Redford may well demonstrate just how hollow is the federal component of her own party through her new vision and voice for the nation, and may well pave a path for her own career from Edmonton to Ottawa, if that is her goal.