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Notley campaigns with candidate seeking to kill Trans Mountain

Rachel Notley was spotted campaigning with controversial candidate Blake Desjarlais, the NDP candidate for the federal riding of Edmonton Griesbach. The results in this riding are close: the incumbent CPC currently leads with 37%, but the NDP isn't trailing too far behind with 33%.

"Sad to see the former Premier out campaigning with a candidate committed to killing the Trans Mountain pipeline. At this point there can be no illusions about the fact that the NDP are dead set against the economic interests of Albertans," wrote Brian Bateson, issues manager for Premier Kenney.

"Shows how much Rachel Notley and Janis Irwin were only pretending to support our energy industry and 30% of Alberta’s economy," added David Egan, the UCP candidate for Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview in 2019.

Why all the controversy with Desjarlais?

The candidate's opposition to Alberta oil and gas has been known for some time - but criticism was also directed at Notley for the post too. Previously, Notley had attacked

Singh’s opposition to the Trans Mountain pipeline project and literally laughed at his suggestion on how Canada can best wean itself off Saudi Arabian oil.

“What happened with Jagmeet is that he’s learning that things are not as simple as they sometimes seem,” said Notley of the federal leader who is based in Ontario but announced this week he is running for a byelection seat in Burnaby South in British Columbia.

Notley added that the project will create thousands of jobs as workers build a new parallel line to allow Alberta to ship more oilsands bitumen to the West Coast for transport overseas.

Now, her support of federal candidates opposed to oil and gas like Desjarlais seems to indicate a total policy reversal since 2018 - giving into the elitism she once accused Singh of.

Beyond this, earlier this year there was cause for concern in his role as a Director for the Metis Settlements General Council of Alberta whilst simultaneously seeking out federal office as an MP in Edmonton-Griesbach; many saw this as a conflict of interest, including Stan Delorme, chair of the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, who reached out to TBT back in March:

[Blake’s] currently still on payroll from what I understand. I brought this up at budget talks this week with the MSGC. There’s many employees paid through that fund - I requested that we have a second look. I also brought up the idea of a legal opinion, as I think him to be in conflict of interest; he can’t be an employee if he’s seeking nomination for federal NDP, nor did he have the courtesy of phoning the board to indicate his intentions before he sought the nomination for Edmonton-Griesbach. As a lobbyist for the MSGC, you’re meant to work with all parties and be non-partisan. Blake’s running for federal politics and that’s political in nature. In the event he doesn’t succeed, according to Herb, he’ll come back as if nothing happened. I personally think he should resign and walk away if he’s involving himself in federal politics. I also have a problem with the fact that despite being hired a few years back, he has not been in proper contact with representatives like myself. The MSGC is meant to be accountable to all settlements and as a lobbyist thereof, I don’t think he has with regard to Buffalo Lake.

This conflict of interest crisis worsened in May. Despite the NDP's want to kill oil and gas, it should be noted that Indigenous people are not in approval. Just this week, a historic partnership was formed, including Suncor, three First Nations and five Métis communities who will own a 15 per cent stake in this pipeline asset with a value of approximately $1.3 billion, which will provide long-term, stable revenues that will benefit the communities for decades to come.

Metis leaders praised the opportunities provided to them by the energy sector. Ron Quintal, President of Fort McKay Métis Nation, stated that "...there has been a lot of talk about reconciliation. But Suncor is walking the talk. This is an investment in a better Canada. And the benefits of this partnership model are sustainable long-term revenue for our community’s housing, social services and education. This is further recognition of the Fort McKay Métis Nation’s s.35 rights within our traditional territory.”

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