5.08.2012

Where is Alison Redford?

Hearing a far-left socialist make negative and misinformed comments regarding Alberta’s oil sands is nothing new. Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair’s latest rant on how the industry is causing stress and strife on the rest of the Canadian economy is neither unexpected nor surprising.

Mulcair’s idiotic statements follow those of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s, who just a few months back said virtually the same things. The oil sands have become the go-to target for left-wing politicians hoping to scare a few votes their way. Other than introducing the concept of ‘Dutch disease’ to the argument, his position is the same as his predecessor Jack Layton. Nothing new there.

What it disappointing is the response. Sure, we had federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver speak out against Mulcair’s tripe. Oliver has proven to be more than impressive with his portfolio, as evidenced by his quick movement to streamline the regulatory requirements for new pipelines.

And we saw Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall become the voice of reason. When asked about Mulcair’s comments, Wall didn’t hold back. First responding via Twitter, Wall stated: "Thomas Mulcair calls the strength of our resource sector a "disease" ... Resources have been the cure not the problem, NDP."

Wall then followed up for reporters by accusing Mulcair of playing divide and conquer politics. "I think it's very, very divisive," Wall said. "For someone who aspires to be prime minister to label a certain sector of our economy that's actually creating jobs — creating jobs through exports and through their development for all of the country — that he would label this as a problem, is very disconcerting and I hope he changes his tune."

What is disappointing in all of this is the absolute silence by the one ‘leader’ charged with defending the oil sands. At a time when our most valuable resource is under attack from the Leader of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, the CBC, and a collage of environmental groups, Alberta premier Alison Redford is nowhere to be found.

Redford, fresh off a fear-gifted victory in the recent provincial election, has been quiet. Too quiet. All Albertans, even those who did not vote for the Progressive Conservatives, expect our premier to be front-and-center in the battle. Instead, she’s busy playing the avoiding game, as she’s done with other issues like the twinning of the killer highway 63, or how she plans to pay for her $7 billion in campaign promises.

Confidence that Redford would fulfill her obligation to stand up for our energy sector has taken a massive hit over this. This is what many of us feared during the election campaign when Redford touted ‘new energies’ while all but ignoring the oil sands issue. This is, as many of us said, a ‘real’ issue as opposed to the fake social issues that dominated the campaign.

Now we see first-hand how Alison Redford defends Alberta’s interests. She says nothing.

It is possible that by the time you read this, Redford will have come out with a statement of her own. Doubtful, but certainly possible. In that case, it would show her coming late to the party. She would be no better than third in line, behind Joe Oliver and Brad ‘the premier we wish we had’ Wall in standing up for our energy sector. Not good enough.

Remember the warnings about handing the task of defending the oil sands to a leftwing leader of a leftwing party?

I told you so.

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His Name Was Steven