The Constitution of Canada is a powerful thing, it grants powers to the federal and provincial governments, it sets out jurisdiction. Too bad Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t want to use that power.
Following his meeting with the premiers of British Columbia and Alberta, Trudeau didn’t say he would invoke the power and privileges granted to the federal government, he punted, he offered a quasi socialist “solution” and he offered to pass legislation that is not needed to “get the pipeline built.”
As Trudeau came out to speak to the media at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa, the PM was in best drama teacher mode. I’ve long said that Trudeau speaks to kids like they are adults, such as when he goes to a WE Day event. But when he comes before a group of adults and reads a speech he sounds like a teacher leading the romper room in story time.
That is what we got today.
After lecturing those listening on the wonders of Canada and how B.C. and Alberta are not opponents, Trudeau spoke of reducing the “risk” for the pipeline owners. Whether that means buying all or some of the pipeline, guaranteeing shareholder returns or some other mechanism.
“We have engaged in financial discussions with the pipeline owner, with Kinder Morgan. This is a series of discussions that are happening in Calgary, Toronto, Houston and New York. They won’t happen in public but as soon as we have something to announce I promise you we will let you know,” Trudeau said.
That is rather vague.
While I can understand not wanting to negotiate with a major pipeline owner like Kinder Morgan in public, the Canadian public does deserve some more information about potentially billions of tax dollars being put at stake by the antics of B.C. Premier John Horgan.
He wasn’t very clear on what the legislation he promised would exactly do.
“It will be associated with ensuring that it is clear and certain that this pipeline will be built,” Trudeau said.
And yet there is no need for further legislation. Canada’s constitution clearly states that the federal government has jurisdiction over anything that crosses provincial lines, that includes pipelines. Section 91 -10 A says inter-provincial undertakings are the responsibility of the federal government.
Lines of Steam or other Ships, Railways, Canals, Telegraphs, and other Works and Undertakings connecting the Province with any other or others of the Provinces, or extending beyond the Limits of the Province.
That section of the constitution has not been successfully challenged in a case like the one before us and the courts will not side with British Columbia. That section of the constitution is all Trudeau needs and any legislation he brings forward is subject to said constitution and therefore redundant.
Out prime minister had a chance to lead today, to show that he is not in over his head.
In fact, the prime minister failed miserably. His only job should have been to explain to Premier Horgan that he was going to lose, that his obstructionism would be punished rather than rewarded and that he better tuck tale and get in line.
Trudeau did none of that, he rewarded bad behaviour.
Like when dealing with children, we can expect Trudeau’s response to lead to more bad behaviour from B.C. or other provinces in the future.
Watch his whole, horrible news conference below.
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This has been in the works for a while, I’m adding a new project to my already busy schedule. So not leaving radio or giving up writing, but taking on something new.
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