The decision over whether to approve Teck Resources’ Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta has brought the federal Liberals to a crossroads in their pursuit of economic growth and a cleaner environment. One path leads to more jobs but a despoiled environment; the other to lower greenhouse gas emissions but rising Western alienation and lower tax receipts.
As director Woody Allen noted in his film Side Effects, when forced to choose between utter hopelessness and total extinction: “Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly.” It is a defining moment in the life of this government.
The Liberals would prefer to deflect the blame elsewhere – in this case, dumping the inevitable tailings deposits over the head of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.
The demeanour of senior government sources suggest the project is not set to get a sympathetic hearing when it comes before cabinet later this month.
A joint review panel from the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency recommended Frontier be approved last summer.