Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Calgary, Alberta, Thursday, prompting a massive protest that shut down a city street.
As the Canadian Press reports, Trudeau is in the oil-rich province as the energy sector has been crippled by a petroleum glut that has resulted in Canadian oil fetching $20 (CAD) a barrel — substantially less than the $50 world price that U.S. suppliers are receiving.
The discount price is a result of a cruel combination of oversupply and lack of shipping capabilities. The fiscal consequence for the Canadian economy is about $80 million a day in lost revenue, according to Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. (RELATED: Alberta Moves On Plan To Restrict Oil And Gas Shipments To BC)
Trudeau told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that he shared the city’s pain.
“There is no question that folks in Alberta — folks here in Calgary — are living through extremely difficult times. This is very much a crisis,” Trudeau said.
“When you have a price differential that’s up around $42 — $50, even — that’s a massive challenge to local industry, to the livelihood of a lot of Albertans. I hear that very, very clearly.”
But outside the building, locals were booing the prime minister for failing to get the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline built that would allow the province to move crude from Alberta to the West Coast.
Trudeau nationalized the project last summer but its continued progress has been hampered by environmentalists and Native groups and a federal court has told the Trudeau government to engage in more consultation before proceeding with the pipeline. (RELATED: Trudeau Considers Giving Pipeline To Natives After Buying It)
The protest was noted by Calgary member of Parliament Michelle Rempel, who tweeted:
I doubt the size and magnitude of this protest against Trudeau’s speech in Calgary today will get much national coverage. Use your voice and platform – RT this and show how many stand against Trudeau! https://t.co/aOOzJomnUg
— Michelle Rempel (@MichelleRempel) November 22, 2018
Calgary Herald columnist Licia Corbella also remarked about the protest.
— Licia Corbella (@LiciaCorbella) November 22, 2018
Trudeau’s Chamber of Commerce audience was only slightly less hostile than the one outside, with the organization’s CEO demanding to know what Trudeau was going to do about getting Alberta oil to world markets.
“Currently, the federal government doesn’t have a plan to address the $80 million that’s coming out?” Sandip Lalli asked Trudeau following the PM’s speech, according to the CP report.
“You think there’s a super-simple easy answer and there’s not. There’s a multifaceted complex issue and as much as there is a tendency out there in the world to give really simple answers to really complex questions. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that,” Trudeau shot back.
“We need to make sure that we’re moving forward in the right way and that is where actually listening to the experts is sort of the best way to make policy,” he concluded.