As one of the province’s most important economic drivers, employing thousands of people and generating billions of dollars every year, the oil and gas industry is vital to the well-being of the community-at-large.
Without the revenue generated by the industry – including by companies operating in this district – and used to support hospitals, schools and many other things, Alberta would be much worse off.
As such, ensuring the lawful, peaceful and environmentally responsible operation of the oilpatch in Alberta and other provinces is in everyone’s best interest.
Unfortunately recent comments by activist David Suzuki touching on the oil and gas industry in Canada were anything by helpful.
Speaking at a Extinction Rebellion protest, Suzuki said: “This is what we’ve come to. The next stage after this, there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.”
While Suzuki's comments, which he later retracted, didn't actually call for bombings, his remarks could reasonably be held to indirectly encourage terrorist action against the industry, says Premier Jason Kenney.
“It’s absolutely an implicit or winking incitement to violence,” says Kenney. “I think it creates a context that some people could use to rationalize violence. That’s not how we solve problems in Canada. We resolve differences peacefully and democratically.”
People opposed to the oil and gas industry have every right to express their concerns through peaceful, lawful protest in whatever form they see fit.
And the provincial and federal governments have an absolute responsibility and obligation to ensure that such protests are not unlawfully interfered with by anyone or any organization.
At the same time, whether it is through incitement of others or through committing violence itself, no one has the right to use terrorism to further their goals.
While Premier Kenney’s action on many things, including his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, are anything but universally supported, his comments regarding the need for lawful discord in Canada are certainly on point.
Dan Singleton is an editor with the Albertan.