OUR VIEW: Hello, Mr. Trudeau, a little leadership here

Well, British Columbia and Alberta are in a full blown war of words now, eh?

Alberta has introduced legislation that will allow it to cut off or restrict oil shipments to B.C., thereby forcing up already high prices in the coastal province.

How did this situation get to this stage? This is a border war more akin to the Balkans than the Canadian Rockies.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is retaliating in response to actions taken by B.C. Premier John Horgan. Horgan essentially fired the first shots in this dispute by attempting to stop the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline to Burnaby. He claims to be looking out for B.C.’s environmental interests and one can argue that given his electoral victory and coalition with the Green Party to ensure that victory, Horgan has a mandate to be aggressive on the environmental front. Kinder Morgan has become a lightning rod for environmental action in B.C. with protests and arrests at the company’s facilities in Burnaby.

Alberta feels it is being held as an economic hostage by B.C.’s attempts to block the pipeline expansion. These are Alberta jobs and the Alberta economy being put in jeopardy. Notley feels drastic action is warranted.

So, it’s environment versus jobs but that’s not all that’s at stake here. There are also constitutional and national unity implications at issue as well. Also the right of a province to look after its interests come into play. But this is the battleground for those who place environmental issues near the top of the priority list. It’s not going to be pretty and the resistance will be aggressive.

In B.C. and Alberta’s case, both sides feel the issues at stake transcend ideology. And both have powerful constituents to appease.

And what about the possibility that both jurisdictions have overstated their positions in the dispute. Are the consequences as dire as they claim?

Sounds like we need a mediator

This is not going to be the last time this kind of dispute flares up. The federal government better find a way to resolve it.

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