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April 13, 2005
Jack Kelly: Adscam Could Ease Energy Woes

Jack Kelly pens a speculative but interesting take on Adscam this morning in Jewish World Review, noting that the probable fall of the Liberal government could have wide-ranging effects on Canadian stability and its energy policies, among other things. With oil prices soaring and the Middle East/OPEC nations approaching full capacity output, Kelly looks at Alberta as a possible "Texas with snow":

A Canadian political mega-scandal could one way or the other help solve our energy woes.

Gasoline prices have moderated in recent days, but soon will resume climbing toward $3 a gallon, because world oil production is stabilizing while demand especially from China is soaring.

The world's largest oil reserves are in Saudi Arabia. The next largest are in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Kelly notes that Liberals don't just have Adscam on their plate at the moment, either. The Kyoto Treaty, which the Liberals enthusiastically endorsed, has turned out to be a bigger albatross than first thought. The implementation costs doubled to $10 billion, a hefty sum for our northern neighbors, and much of that will disproportionately affect Albertans. The Tories have a political base in Alberta and would undoubtedly like to address some of their constituents' concerns if returned to power.

Kelly draws up a speculative scenario as to what the effect of a Tory government would be, including a re-energized separatist movement in Quebec which could tear Canada apart. Certainly that possibility exists, especially if the Conservatives have to join with BQ to form a government after the next elections, which may be why Stephen Harper wants to wait until after enough testimony has been heard to score the maximum benefit for the Tories. (It also explains why the Bloc wants to start introducing no-confidence motions immediately.) However, I think it rather remote, especially the notion that all provinces would fall away from the center in the face of renewed Quebecois calls for independence.

On the other hand, a Tory government would be more likely than the current one to review the energy policy and possibly open up Alberta to more exploration and oil production. If we successfully drill in ANWR and show how to tap into our Arctic reserves without causing extensive environmental disruption, the Conservatives could use that example to convince Canadians that responsible and environmentally sound drilling could vastly benefit both the economy and the security of the North American continent. Americans would love to send their energy money to our northern neighbors instead of the Middle Eastern potentates who get it now, especially since China has begun eating up more of their production (another Kyoto nation, of course).

Kelly's column takes the tunnel vision off of Adscam and reminds us of Canada's strategic importance in the world and how the Liberal fall from grace may affect a variety of global concerns. It behooves Americans to pay attention to our Canadian cousins.

UPDATE: Edmonton MP David Kilgour finally pulled the trigger and left the Liberal caucus last night:

Citing unhappiness with the Liberal government on issues ranging from same-sex marriage and foreign policy to the sponsorship scandal, veteran Liberal MP David Kilgour quit the party yesterday and will sit as an independent beginning today.

Mr. Kilgour said allegations of political payoffs heard at the Gomery inquiry last week finally convinced him to end a relationship with the Liberals that he agreed had become like a "bad marriage."

Divorce Canadian Style may well prove contagious. The Ottawa Citizen reports that another MP, Pat O'Brien (Ontario) may quit the caucus as well. The Liberals now only have one MP from Alberta still left in their caucus, deputy PM Anne McLellan, underscoring their Western weakness.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 13, 2005 6:38 AM

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