by Terezia Farkas, February 16, 2018
As Premier Notley noted, it seems NDP leader Jagmeet Singh is irrelevant in the Alberta/B.C. Kinder Morgan pipeline dispute. The federal NDP are wallowing in political limbo as Singh, who doesn't hold a seat in the House of Commons, takes the side of B.C. Premier Horgan, instead of mediating the pipeline war of the only two elected NDP provincial governments in Canada. Shame, because Singh could have showed leadership with his provincial counterparts. Instead, Singh and the federal NDP are blaming Prime Minister Trudeau for what is certainly a NDP mess.
Jagmeet Singh and the NDP are playing the distraction game by suggesting that Prime Minister Trudeau should speak out, step up, and generally do something. What that something would be, the NDP have no idea. A funding war between the federal government and a province? Take a province to the Supreme Court? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is consistent in his pipeline messages. Stating otherwise is simply NDP spin. In B.C. and Alberta, the Prime Minister consistently says the same thing about pipelines and the environment, regardless of the boos or cheers he gets. If anyone is to blame for the current bi-provincial fiasco, it’s the B.C. NDP coalition government that’s playing games, knowing it doesn’t have the constitutional right to limit federally approved pipelines, but cleverly opposing it in ways that don’t allow for court opportunities.
Where is Jagmeet Singh's leadership?
Jagmeet Singh needs to show leadership. As the NDP party leader, Jagmeet Singh should sit down with the squabbling NDP premiers in a meeting. Cool down the temperature. Bring some reasoned measures to the table. Instead, Jagmeet Singh is risking the Alberta NDP party's political future.
Jason Kenney and the UCP are nipping at Premier Notley's heels. If Notley fails to secure the pipeline twinning - something that has already been legally approved by the federal government - then the UCP will probably sweep Alberta. As leader of the NDP, Jagmeet Sigh has a responsibility to protect Notley's NDP government. Singh knows Alberta has legal right to the pipeline project. Singh should be having a sit down with B.C. premier John Horgan, the unelected man who is responsible for the rift between the two provinces.
Let’s remember that the NDP constitution says that the NDP is a single party, with provincial branches across Canada. The federal party’s constitution says each provincial party is “autonomous . . . provided its constitution and principles are not in conflict with those of the federal party.” (Calgary Herald, 2017)
The NDP federal and provincial levels are fully integrated, meaning they are one and the same. A provincial or territorial NDP membership means automatic federal NDP membership.
This means that any federal NDP policies that are adopted by the party must be accepted across both levels of government. The LEAP manifesto was the first crack between western NDP governments and the federal NDP. Alberta's NDP objected to the LEAP Manifesto, which they said was anti pipeline. (Globe and Mail, 2017)
So the federal NDP voted to study the LEAP Manifesto and bring it up at a future date, preferably their next NDP convention. The ill feelings between the Eastern NDP and Alberta brethren was downplayed by the party. This fundamental difference in ideology about pipelines and lack of leadership around the issue is driving the NDP to chaos.
The pipeline dispute between the two NDP Premiers is a golden opportunity for Jagmeet Singh to show Canadians he is a leader, that he can get things done.
Premier Notley: Jagmeet Singh is irrelevant
“I’m not going to get too wrapped up in what people who are not in government are doing in other parts of the country, in hypothetical conversations, over which they have no agency,” Premier Notley said following an event at the Fairmont Palliser. (Calgary Herald, Oct.20/2017)
Premier Notley noted Trans Mountain has already been approved by the federal government and suggested she wouldn’t lose much sleep over Singh’s position. In the Alberta Legislature, Premier Notley continued, “I have told Mr. Singh that he is wrong, he is dead wrong, but just as important he is irrelevant. And the reason he is irrelevant is that the decision has already been taken by the federal government.”
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