|That's an Understatement|
As 'buyer's remorse' goes, this takes the cake.
With the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline becoming an electoral millstone around Liberal necks, the Grits seem to be in the throes of eco-epiphany.
Minutes into the French-language debate last week, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau spoke about standing up to oil interests. Tweets from Liberal candidates have taken aim at pipelines, while other messaging from the Liberals links Conservatives to “dark oil money.”
It’s no surprise that the Liberals have mostly given up on winning seats in Alberta. But the party’s decision to single out an industry that is inextricably linked with the identity of Canada’s main oil-producing province has the potential to be poisonous to postelection national unity.
The major downside of portraying any supporter of Alberta’s biggest industry as a J.R. Ewing-clone is that the message will percolate well after Election Day, no matter the outcome of the vote. Talk of Alberta separation, while still pie in the sky, comes up in casual downtown Calgary conversations with depressing frequency. This Liberal messaging to go hard on the oil industry makes it worse.
...And it’s not just the Liberals whose campaign messaging worries Albertans – it’s the NDP (who currently have one seat in Edmonton), the Greens and the Bloc, too. If the Liberals win a minority government, one of those smaller parties could play kingmaker.
The name-calling from the Liberals is about winning votes away from the other parties in swing ridings in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. It’s about making the climate-change crisis the focus of this campaign. And a visit to Alberta by activist Greta Thunberg, apparently set to take place in the days ahead, will focus a global spotlight on the environmental effects of Alberta’s oil industry.