Alienating the West is not the first rodeo for the Trudeaus.
That blinkered horse has been ridden before.
It began in 1980 when Papa Pierre drew up the National Energy Program in a failed attempt to unilaterally take federal control of Canada’s largely Alberta-based petroleum industry.
He had Energy Minister Marc Lalonde as his sidekick, a Quebec politician whose caricature by Alberta cartoonists made him look like a combination of Oil Can Harry and Snidely Whiplash.
The NEP, seen as thievery, effectively imposed revenue-sharing burdens on oil in Alberta to lessen the effects of higher gasoline prices in other parts of the country.
It made Trudeau and Lalonde the most hated men in the West.
The NEP enraged Albertans, and led to decades of resentment against the federal Liberal government, even triggering calls from Albertans to separate from Canada and go it alone.
It also led to one of the most famous memes of the day, back when there were no memes, of course, only bumper stickers.
“Let the Eastern bastards freeze in the dark,” those bumper stickers read.
Fast forward now some 37 years, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken over the alienation of the West where his late father left off, shooting off his own mouth recently with off-the-cuff comments about “phasing out the oilsands.”
He said this, of course, in front of a small-town Ontario audience where such musings don’t set off major alarm bells.
But this thing called social media had Trudeau’s words reverberating in Alberta in a nanosecond.
Now, just as there are Conservative trolls with a low umbrage tolerance, there are Liberals who go apoplectic whenever Trudeau is in the crosshairs of critics, and this was no exception.
His apologists, in fact, were quite aggressive in both social media posts and emails in stating Trudeau said no such thing, which is like saying U.S. President Donald Trump isn’t sensitive to criticism.
While Trudeau did acknowledge to the Ontario gathering that the oilsands could not be shut down immediately, his main words could not possibly be misinterpreted.
When Trudeau was talking about “phasing out,” he was also talking about leaving oilsands resources in the ground, as well as the multi-billions of dollars in revenues that would come with it.
Suffice, however, that when it takes almost a fortnight for the prime minister to claim he “misspoke” over something as significant as the financial future of a province, then you have to believe that this explanation came with little sincerity.
Despite Trudeau’s assertion that “I said something the way I shouldn’t have said it” — whatever in hell that means — Trudeau had only one goal that day in Calgary.
And that was to get out of town ahead of the lynch mob, so he could then head to Saskatchewan to pitch the fallacy that carbon taxes his government proposes will be painless.
He has no concept of time, or place, or the extenuating realties south of our border in Trump’s America.
Instead, he prefers to tighten down his blinkers.