Sunday, September 21, 2014

State of the chessboard


White: Mate in 2.
Jim Prentice, Alberta Premier. Status: Not currently elected? Check. Appointing ministers who also aren't elected? Also check.
Let's set aside various affronts to representative democracy for a moment. Yes. It's outrageous. And that isn't the big problem. Look a few moves ahead.
The Harper government intends to make Canada the best place in the world for energy investment.
FIPA: The Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Act.
If you've ever been sold into slavery, you have some idea of what's going on. Chinese investors in Canada can claim damages, in secret, for anything that reduces their investment payoffs.
FIPA is locked in for a generation without recourse to Canadian law. Hardly mentioned in the House. It comes into force October 1. Check.
Premier Jim is ideally suited to facilitating a pipeline to somewhere. Keeping the Aboriginal and International portfolios may signal that intent.
So Jim comes to Alberta and appeases the Natives so pipelines can send fossil energy to China.
Canada gets Chinese investment money so we can dig faster. Also we have to do what we're told or pay for it.
Chinese interests trump national interest, and we expand fossil energy development ...because Canada's the best place in the world for energy investment. Checkmate.
Meanwhile...
Carbon emissions accelerate. The planet becomes dreadfully uncomfortable. Chinese mutual funds post record profits.
When you give up the environment (or your national integrity) for the economy, you end up with neither.

Let's hope it plays out differently.

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