Biden is elected, and some uncomfortable truths need to be discussed in Canada

Yesterday was a great day for many Americans and fans of democracy around the world. I am of course describing the inauguration of Joe Biden as president of the United States. After four years of Trump, a return the sanity and reasonable discourse from the Oval Office is very much welcomed. There is one person though who is definitely not happy about this. Jason Kenney.

One of the first things Biden did when taking power was to sign an executive order, to revoke the approval of the Keystone Pipeline construction in the United States. Immediately in Canada, the political class became apoplectic over whom to blame for this:

However, Jason Kenney in my opinion had the most incredulous response to this:

Let’s be clear here. This is the worse possible response to this issue. After years of Trump’s trade wars with Canadian aluminium, throwing a temper tantrum like Trump is pointless. No one wants to do this on either side of the border. As well, President Biden isn’t going to worry about whether or not Jason Kenney is sufficiently satisfied. This is a bluff and everyone knows it.

The facts are this oil is a fading industry. There is no consensus anymore on the need to constantly expand oil production beyond what we have now. Biden campaigned from the start on cancelling the pipeline and focusing on green technology for America’s energy needs. This decision isn’t a surprise to anyone, and it shouldn’t have been to Jason Kenney. Taking a step back though, it is clear pipelines are next to impossible to build in North America. The time it takes to gain regulatory approval, and then agreements with state and provincial and indigenous governments to build are too onerous. Ensuring buy in is a costly venture just in the planning stage. Even if you accomplish all of this, you’re still subject to political decisions and promises on a four year cycle. As we just witnessed yesterday.

The time has come to see the writing on the wall and accept an inconvenient truth for some parts of the province. Pipelines are no longer going to be built in North America. Presently we have technology to reframe our need for oil for our energy dependence. It is viable, we just need to scale it up to meet our needs. That is where the Biden administration is appearing to focus it’s attention. It is where we in Canada need to focus ours.

Quebec is working on encouraging their green tech sector. In Ontario, we did four years ago, however the current PC Government scrapped that idea thinking it was a fool’s errand. At the present, we look like the fools, as the American economy is on the cusp of the greatest comeback since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans out of work, and an administration who is committed and invested in retooling the economy to focus on green technology. You don’t need to be an economist or a history major to see how this story plays out.

Canada needs to shake it’s head and commit sincerely to a green technology economy. We have the knowledge and experience, we just need to put our expertise into action. Hopefully our provincial governments can see this and not let this opportunity pass us by.

3 thoughts on “Biden is elected, and some uncomfortable truths need to be discussed in Canada”

  1. There is so much about this development that should force Alberta to wake up to the realization that on a global stage, people do not want to invest and expand more of the oil industry. Biden campaigned on ending the KXL pipeline. Although Alberta thought they would have time to plead their case before he did so and hopefully save the project, their reaction, specifically Kenney’s, just shows how out of step they are with what’s happening at a global level. You’re right in that pipelines being built in North America are quickly becoming a pipe-dream (pun intended). I think it’s time for Alberta to diversify their economy beyond oil and gas. And I think it’s time for the Canadian Federal government to make a stronger commitment to developing green technology and utilizing renewable resources. With the advancements being made in the private sector towards green energy production and green energy products (Toyota unveiled a promising new electric car last year), it’s time to see this industry flourish and take over. The companies creating these technologies need the tax cuts, subsidies, etc. to expand and increase their development. Hanging on to the false hope of expanding the oil and gas industry in Alberta is wrong for Albertans and its wrong for Canadians long-term.

    I think it’s also worth noting that the reaction from Kenney only points to his ineptitude as a premier. He’s angry because he committed to a contract which will force him to now payout over a billion dollars to private contractors, while 10,000 people will be losing work, and they have nothing to show for it. People need to know that his actions now are not about saving Alberta, it’s about saving his own political stature. His plan to save Alberta’s economy was based around a political football being tossed around for the past decade and believing Trump would be re-elected. It was based on a lot of what-ifs and hypotheticals, and he built no contingency in case those things never came to fruition. In 2019 when construction on KXL began, the 2020 election was pretty far off. That’s a lot of time for a political climate to change for a President, it was stupid to think the climate of one point in time in 2019 would be business as usual for the proceeding 6 years.

    The point of all of this is none of it is surprising, we all saw this coming after November 3rd. It should be a wake up call for Canada’s economy. And unfortunately, those that will suffer most are the regular people of Alberta.

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