The line-up of speakers at last week’s hastily organized Energy Relaunch conference in Calgary was about as eclectic as you could get. It brought together pro- and anti-carbon tax conservatives and academics and journalists and a former federal Liberal leadership contender and even an Alberta NDP minister. Astonishingly, they all agreed on something: Ottawa has bungled energy and environment policy and Canada needs to get competitive on natural resource development again or we’ll all be much poorer.
Author: Nigel Hannaford
The escalating war of words and trade actions between the governments of Alberta and British Columbia over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline project are a distraction from the real issue, which is whether Canada has a future as a competitive oil producing and exporting country. We’ll find that out when the Trudeau government in Ottawa decides whether to enforce the rule of law, first against the rogue NDP-Green regime in B.C., and then against the inevitable army of protestors who will blockade the pipeline if it goes ahead. Nigel Hannaford reports, skeptically.
Donald Trump didn’t invent the post-truth phenomenon, he’s just a symptom of it. The current epidemic of truthlessness was conceived in post-modernism, gestated in our legal and academic institutions, and hatched in our own brains. Former Stephen Harper speechwriter Nigel Hannaford recently examined these hard truths in a presentation to students at Royal Roads University.
If you want peace, prepare for war. That idea kept the Roman Empire going for 500 years. After a bumpy first 100 days, it might also keep Donald Trump’s presidency going. Nobody’s calling him “Putin’s stooge” anymore, since the U.S. responded to the horrific sarin gas attack on civilians by Russia’s Syrian ally with a hail of cruise missiles. Now Trump’s telling the “crazy fat kid” in North Korea to “behave” and rattling his sabre at Iran. After some time away, the world’s cop is apparently back on the beat, reports Nigel Hannaford.
Sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train. But with oil trading around C$70 a barrel, a couple of energy megaproject approvals in hand, and a new drill-baby-drill president in the White House, there’s more optimism in Canada’s oil and gas industry today than there has been for years. Nigel Hannaford drills beneath the “green shoots” and finds reasons for hope and dread.
One of Donald Trump’s blustery campaign promises was “if I’m president, you’re going to see Merry Christmas in department stores again, believe me.” A slap at Christophobes, it was typical of his politically incorrect comments on everything from feminism to climate change, terrorism to refugees. With President Trump setting the tone, writes Nigel Hannaford, the public square will become a much noisier, ruder and freer place.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is widely expected to approve the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain oilsands pipeline from northern Alberta to the Port of Vancouver this December. The regulatory hurdles have been cleared and the courts have had their say. But one crucial question remains, writes Nigel Hannaford: will Trudeau enforce the rule of law in the face of almost certain civil disobedience – possibly including violence – by environmental and aboriginal protesters?
For many conservatives, realism is the litmus test for good art. If it’s modern and abstract, its crap. That’s too narrow for Nigel Hannaford, uber-conservative though he may be. For him, there’s only one definition of conservative art – that which sells. If it has value in a free market, its conservative. If taxpayers are compelled to pay for it, it’s not.
Nigel Hannaford has been expecting the worst for most of his adult life. That’s what comes of compulsively buying and reading books predicting economic catastrophe that began cascading out of publishing houses in the 1970s. Some of them were right, more or less, about the inflationary impacts of profligate government fiscal and monetary policy. Looking back, Hannaford writes, he should have listened to the gold bugs.
Canada’s political pendulum swung hard to the left in the last few years, electing Liberal and NDP governments almost everywhere, and culminating with the 2015 Conservative defeats in Alberta and Ottawa. How long will this progressive hegemony last? Nigel Hannaford studied the cross-country election calendar for the next four years to determine where and when the pendulum may swing back to the right.