The political theatre playing out in politics does offer one silver lining: there’s plenty to talk about. However, there is a downside and right now, Kenney’s theatrics may end up helping John Horgan receive the provincial jurisdiction he so desperately wants to be able to limit the amount of oil shipped from BC’s ports. Thanks to Kenney and the UCP’s continued grandstanding on the federal carbon tax issue, they are demonstrating a clear defiance that only bolsters the BC NDP’s position against the Trans Mountain Expansion.
The federal government approved the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) in 2016 and has repeatedly said the pipeline is “in the national interest”. The federal carbon tax implementation has been billed as a way to purchase ‘social license’ and this term has been mangled so many times it’s less clear for whom the social license was intended. While a number of people claim it was to buy acceptance from environmentalists, Notley’s support for the federal carbon tax was clearly to gain the social license from the federal government for approval.
Of the opposition parties, the Alberta Party was in favour of a consumer carbon tax back in 2015 but both Greg Clark and David Swann voted against the NDP format. It just makes sense to support the federal government when the province needs federal support in return. As Kenney makes his contradictory play in support of both federal and provincial jurisdiction, he helps make Horgan’s case for provincial jurisdiction in BC.
In working the narrative to paint Alberta’s NDP and the federal Liberals as “best friends”, the UCP furthers this narrative of supporting the federal government as a bad thing to score political points in Alberta. What is it doing for BC? Yet again, this narrative only helps the anti-approval sentiment in the province. Kenney is playing both sides of this debate and if he is successful it could mean the absolute denial of increased access for Alberta oil. He’ll blame the Liberals and the NDP but this is on him and his desperate attempt to fuel anger for votes.
All actions have consequences. As Jason Kenney continues to grandstand on the matter of federal jurisdiction regarding the carbon tax, he is fighting for the federal government to concede jurisdiction over provincial matters. This is precisely what the BC NDP is fighting for. If Kenney succeeds, it will set a precedent for other provinces to defy the federal government’s decisions including the one he claims to be fighting for.