Across the board, this has been a crazy winter-into-spring season, particularly for Canadian federal politics, which – although somewhat unexpectedly-repetitive for the past few weeks – has also exhibited some kind of seemingly fascinating hold on Canadian news media, readers and viewers.
In some ways it ought to be that way in an election year but who would have believed it could have a sufficient level of fascination to push the overwhelmingly-weird Donald Trump into an “also in today’s news” category so many times.
And I have little doubt that the open warfare between Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and two of its own former top female cabinet ministers will still be top of the news “next week” (as I write) and for some time yet to come. And that all three opposition parties seem to be united against the PM’s actions is an equal surprise that keeps on coming.
I switched on my TV last week to coverage of the Conservative opposition leader for the third time welcoming a threatened libel suit by the Prime Minister – for the third time to ensure that everything Justin Trudeau has objected to in his words has been stated outside of the House of Commons and outside of the protection of Parliamentary privilege.
Only staunch Liberals seem to be supportive of the expulsion of these two extremely bright women – Dr. Jane Philpott and Jody Wilson Raybould.
But it is equally clear that the Liberals need to get past this to begin a less-stained election campaign that will be in full flight during and after the summer break, now charging down upon them as they continue to flounder to get meaningful legislation passed that they can brag about in a campaign.
Thus, it was really no help that a climate-change-based Liberal decision to donate $12-million in Canadian taxpayers money to help fund the Loblaws Corporation’s plans to reduce its own carbon footprint by updating store freezers, chain-wide (despite the company’s $2.5-billion operating profit), the cheque publicly handed over by environment minister Catherine McKenna.
No help that this took place only days after carbon taxes were implemented by the Liberals in four more Canadian provinces – it seemed like a lot more than just bad timing. Another furor followed, accompanied by another drop in the polls for the Liberals.
It was also no help that Loblaws is owned by the Weston family, reputedly Canada’s richest family.
Meanwhile, as Ottawa politicians continue their war-of-words maypole dances, providing a continuous level of entertainment for Question Period viewers and media headline writers, there’s better news emerging in B.C. where LNG Canada has visibly started to ramp up spring activity on its $40-billion project here in Kitimat.
Good news was the announcement that Japanese utility conglomerate, Jera Co., the largest natural gas buyer in the world, has agreed to purchase up to 1.2 million metric tons/year, from a partner in the LNG Canada export terminal.
Jera has contracted for liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply from Diamond Gas International Ltd., an affiliate of LNG Canada partner Mitsubishi Corp. for 15 years beginning in 2024.
It is Jera’s first agreement for gas from Canadian LNG supply – the Tokyo firm reportedly sources LNG from 17 countries.
To mark the start of Construction Month, the BC Construction Association recently gave a snapshot of construction in the province, an industry that holds the top spot in goods sector employment with more than 242,000 directly receiving pay for construction-related work.
The current estimated value of construction projects underway is approximately $74 billion, in addition to the $40 billion LNG Canada project in Kitimat, and accounts for 8.7 per cent of the province’s GDP.
Stats from the association show the number of construction jobs in B.C. that will be unﬁlled due to labour shortages by 2028 is 7,900, a far cry from the 30,000 projected earlier.
However, the Association predicts that as the LNG Canada project ramps up, labour demand will continue to increase.
There are also still some potential hurdles for the Coastal GasLink pipeline under construction to fuel LNG Canada.
The Likhts’amisyu clan of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation is asserting its sovereignty by creating “a new, permanent land reclamation on their territory.”
It says the camp will be “strategically located in order to impede the ability of the Coastal GasLink corporation to force their pipeline through Wet’suwet’en land.”
Coastal GasLink says it is aware of social media discussions regarding new structures in areas near the company’s right of way, but it also continues its refrain that it has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along its path.
The hereditary clan chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation say the project has no authority without their approval – this remains in the “more to come” category.