This year marks the 40th anniversary of the National Energy Program, one of the most arrogant and misguided acts by a Canadian federal government.
Ranking high on the list of giant, well-intentioned government schemes that failed, the NEP marked an end to ambitious nation-building projects in Canada.
As historian Taylor C. Noakes aptly put it in an essay this year on the NEP’s legacy, Canada’s “executive leadership lives in fear of three little letters throwing shade on seemingly everything Ottawa does.”
That fear is most evident today among Albertans, the Canadians most powerfully affected by the NEP. To this day Albertans invoke those three letters as proof that Ottawa is ready to impose its high-handedness on their province at any time.
Alberta, a province unlike the others, fiercely opposes Canada’s national carbon-pricing scheme — a scheme that’s a first anywhere in the world, and the most powerful tool the world has in fighting climate crisis.