Pipeline Politics – Stampede Wrestling

A ring-a-ding-dong dandy” as Ed Whalen would say just about every week from 1958 to 1999!

The BC – Canada – Alberta TransMountain Pipeline fracas has caused a massive outcry in Western Canada.  The BC government is toying with the idea of further studies the potential environmental damage that could result from an bitumen spill in coastal waters.  That idea triggered an immediate reaction from Alberta Premier Notley.  And the wrestling match ensued.

Make no mistake there is much at stake in this debate. But there is the tactical side to the argument.

But the BC and Alberta governments both know the idea, as presented, is dead on arrival.  Let’s assume this is all about appeasing their political bases at home. Both are happy to beat up on the federal government over its role in the matter.

The merits of the BC idea are truly weak, they are meddling in federal jurisdiction, causing further investment uncertainty, and beginning a trade war with Alberta.  The Alberta government, frustrated with the lack of federal efforts to get the pipeline built used the idea as a catalyst to retaliate on trade,and force the feds to stand up for a project they had approved.

A Severely Normal friend believes this can best be understood by examining old videos of Stampede Wrestling, a once popular entertainment show with wrestling villains and heroes, fake body slams and eye-gougings.  The villains had nasty names and did mean things to our heroes.  The referees (in this case the feds) proved to be inept at stopping the dastardly deeds!  But by the end of the bout the heroes had recovered and taught the villains a lesson they would not forget at least until the next week.

Sound familiar?

Of course, there is much more at stake than the popular appeal that the politicians gets from defending their turf and playing to their audience.  This week Notley gave Horgan a body slam by starting an online petition. (8,500 signatures so far!) Horgan is climbing up the turnbuckle, getting ready to land a ‘Speech from the Throne” move next week.  The federal Conservatives are trying to suplex Trudeau. The Liberals are practicing the escape move of “nothing to see here”!

And there will be more political wrestling in the next couple of weeks.  Or as Ed Whalen would have said, “In the meantime and in-between time” until next week!