June 21, 2019 1:28 pm

Roy Green: TMX — the last pipeline?

Pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta. on Tuesday June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson


For an announcement of major national import, the wobbly theatrics of the moment were worthy of yawns and giggles.

It was Tuesday, TMX announcement day. We were to hear the $4.5-billion Trans Mountain Pipeline extension was Liberal-approved and election … oops … shovel-ready. Sort of.

The televised presentation by the prime minister and members of his cabinet bore elements of a somewhat clumsy stage play in two parts.

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Part one saw everyone standing, with Justin Trudeau doing most but not all of the talking. Ministers chimed in on cue, except the apparently startled finance minister. Bill Morneau eventually found his voice only after prodding and a loud guffaw from Trudeau.

READ MORE: Senate passes Bill C-69, which overhauls review of major projects like pipelines

The Liberals had conducted their due diligence consultations with interested parties, particularly Indigenous groups. The new pipeline would, even in the morphing to renewables world, be of benefit to Canada’s national economy. It was the hoped First Nations would be included in ownership of TMX.

End of Part one.

As expected from any good theatrical presentation, suspense builds. Questions from waiting media folk would have to wait. The stage required resetting. Off trooped the featured cast.

Stagehands got to work and after some minutes and much clattering from arriving chairs and another desk (at least I think there was another desk) cast members reappeared, took their assigned seats and began taking questions. All but Catherine McKenna paid at least lip service to not turning each answer into a political attack ad.

WATCH BELOW: Pipeline capacity at heart of C-69, C-48 debate

And so here we are. TMX will be built. Maybe. After all, protests will not end and not all possible legal challenges have been exhausted.

Just over 48 hours after the TMX theatrical, Canada’s Senate would green light Bills C-69 (the “try and obtain a permit for an energy project” law) and C-48 (the “ban only oil tankers from B.C.’s northern coastline” law). Both were the subjects of a letter to Trudeau from six Canadian premiers — a letter alerting the PM these bills may lead to a significant challenge of national unity.

Two of the six premiers (Jason Kenney of Alberta and Blaine Higgs of New Brunswick) joined me on air last weekend and a third (Scott Moe of Saskatchewan) will be a guest this Sunday.

READ MORE: Six premiers tell Trudeau national unity would be threatened if bills C-48, C-69 become law

Premier Higgs on my program last December said it is time to “decide whether Canada is a nation or a notion” and Premier Moe, some months earlier, reacting to his B.C. counterpart’s then-threat to stop expanded bitumen shipments into the province, asked non-rhetorically, “do we have a country?”

The six premiers question the federal Liberals utter lack of interest in any resumption of talks concerning the shelved Energy East line (see C-69). As well, Trudeau clearly long ago decided Canada’s east coast environment and marine life aren’t in need of C-48-type protection from foreign oil tankers.

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Result? No western Canadian oil will be shipped by a new state-of-the-art Energy East Canadian pipeline to the giant Irving refinery in Saint John, N.B., but Saudi, other offshore and U.S. oil will, thereby enriching those nations while simultaneously damaging ours.

Ignoring the national unity warning from six Canadian premiers may well suit a prime minister who just days into his mandate informed the New York Times that his intent for Canada was to turn this wonderful country into the world’s first post-national state.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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