Even today, simply mentioning the Trudeau-era "National Energy Programme" or NEP to an Albertan is putting a match to gasoline.
Yet, in yesterday's Edmonton Journal, the argument was made that it's now Alberta inflicting the same injustice on British Columbia with its bitumen pipelines.
"For the use of our province's land and resources, we are told we will receive a net benefit of about 500 full-time, ongoing jobs. In exchange, we must accept the risk of pipeline leaks and spills (Enbridge averages about 70 a year on their existing infrastructure), and the risk of a catastrophic tanker disaster, with losses in the tens of billions of dollars.
"We are told we should accept this project "for the good of the country." From what we can see, the only major beneficiaries of this project will be the Alberta government and the large conglomerates providing the oil. Assessments on the project indicate it is not financially viable based on phantom numbers provided by Enbridge, including an 85-cent dollar over the next 30 years.
"As a former Albertan, I remember Pierre Trudeau and his National Energy Program. Albertans, I gather, still speak of the NEP with great disdain and bitterness.
"Consider these startling similarities between the Northern Gateway pipeline and Trudeau's scheme:
"One province is told (not asked) that they should take a major hit "for the good of the country."
The province directly affected is not consulted, and concerns put forth are met with arrogance from the government and hints that opponents are not true Canadians.
"The project is forced through without any kind of a plebiscite and without any effort to negotiate an agreement between both sides."
There are similarities but it's the differences that matter even more. The National Energy Programme never exposed Alberta to effectively permanent, ecological catastrophe. It never threatened Alberta's major city. Once instituted it was relatively easy to rescind. What this Born Again Fiend is hatching carries impacts far greater than anything envisioned by Pierre Trudeau.