Alberta Politics

Trans-Mountain Receives NEB Approval and… Crickets #ableg #abpoli

It was a classic love story; the search for the soul mate played out by Alberta seeking the Trans Mountain Expansion approval. And then, against all odds, or so the story goes, a match was made. 

At the end of February, the National Energy Board (NEB) approved Trans Mountain (again). 

There were caveats, this time, acknowledging the expansion project that would bring 590,000 barrels of oil to the west coast would have some impacts. Even with the increase in tanker traffic, it said, impacts were not so great that the project should not be approved. 

Political leaders in Alberta were surprisingly unaffected. Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s Official Opposition, switched lanes quickly, blaming Trudeau for being caught up in the Conservative Party’s manufactured scandal with the Attorney General instead of … what? Instead of focusing on the crisis brought on by approval of the pipeline he’s been blaming Ottawa for not approving? 

Premier Rachel Notley appeared to take a pessimistic approach to the approval saying she expected appeals

And that was it. The NEB approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion that every political leader in Alberta had been talking about since August 2018 just wasn’t worth talking about any more.  

One could say that it’s been such a roller coaster of hope and disappointment that no one wants to go there again. That would make sense if no one was hopping about for the better part of eight months on the subject but that wasn’t the case. 

The topic “dominated” the opening of the fall session at the end of October. They held an emergency debate on Trans Mountain. The Alberta Government launched the “next phase” of their national communications strategy in November. By December, frustration with the pipeline approval process brought about a renewed interest in Alberta separation

There were rallies; all over the province. Media couldn’t get enough. There was an actual convoy of trucks that drove from Alberta to Ottawa to rally for pipeline approval.

Then it was approved. 

And… crickets. 

Where are the celebrations? Who is getting a pat on the back for all their hard work and dedication to showing Ottawa that pipelines were important to this province? 

Months of foreplay and the climax turned out to be twenty government workers completing their assigned task. What a well-deserved disappointment. 

This post contains both fact and opinion.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

Follow: @Mitchell_AB @thisweekinAB   

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