Dan Davies: Strange bedfellows makes for odd politics

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Some might hail the budding bromance between Washington State Governor Jay Inslee and B.C. Premier John Horgan as a new era in Canada-U.S. relations, but nothing could be further from the truth.

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It seems ironic how a provincial premier would have a far better relationship with a foreign government than a fellow NDP premier in neighbouring Alberta, but that’s the state of affairs we now find ourselves living in. Horgan and Governor Inslee held their fourth summit since our B.C. premier took office just 19 months ago, each time reinforcing their united opposition to expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

By contrast, the last known face-to-face meeting between Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley took place in April when Prime Minister Trudeau forced them into an Ottawa huddle, attempting to end the provincial feud over Trans Mountain.

The hypocrisy in all this is stunning.

Up to 90% of B.C.’s fuel comes directly from Alberta, either by rail or pipeline. On the other hand, Washington State imports oil by ocean tanker (46%), by rail (25.5%) and the remaining 28.5% by none other than the existing Trans Mountain pipeline.

Even more galling is the fact that up to 70% of oil imported by Washington comes by sea from Alaska, right along the B.C. coastline.

And what happens to all that crude oil shipped to Washington State? It goes to any one of the five refineries located there. Once processed, the state then exports refined petroleum products to international markets abroad and domestically within the U.S.

Last October, Horgan and Governor Inslee signed a memorandum of understanding that outlines their new spirit of co-operation and brotherly love between B.C. and Washington State.

My colleague MLA Mike Bernier summed it up well in a tweet the other day: “This argument from the US is getting almost comical! I would have way more respect if he (Inslee) just came out and said, ‘Stop BC exports so my State can make more money and have more jobs.’”

This leaves many in the province wondering how much longer are we willing to be pushed around by meaningless virtue signaling and pipeline politics?

Dan Davies is the MLA for Peace River North. 

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