Michael Ignatieff's latest policy announcement has signalled his intent to follow the strategy of his Liberal predecessors Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau: target Alberta to win the rest of Canada.
And he's gone back to the Trudeau era to do it.
In an eerily Jack Laytonesque show of bravery, Ignatieff hesitated until he was almost as far away from Alberta as he could be before dropping his biggest bomb of the race. The latest Liberal platform announcement unveiled a revampled edition of the long-favorite leftwing gem, a cap-and-trade program.
Albertans might remember it better by its former name: the National Energy Program.
Pierre Trudeau was successful in his quest to rape the Albertan economy in order to fulfill his need to oversee nationalized wealth distribution in the late 1970's-early '80's. Back then, the tools of misdirection used by the Liberals was the oil shortage and the bad economy. Seizing the opportunity to use a crisis to further his agenda, Trudeau exacerbated a West-East rift that still lingers to this day.
After bitter words and some drastic action by then Alberta Premier Lougheed, Trudeau ended up victorious in the end. While the rest of the nation saw Lougheed and Trudeau clink glasses of champagne, Albertans saw their Premier grab his ankles for a quasi-communist Prime Minister.
The NEP plan was a flop, of course. It didn't come close to accomplishing the stated objectives, and instead devastated the Alberta economy, and by extension, our community. It took more than a decade of deep cuts, cutbacks, and sacrifice by Albertans to finally dig our way out of the hole.
This time around, Ignatieff and his Liberals will use the environmental card, using Green Guilt to full advantage in order to push their socialist agenda.
No one should be fooled. No matter how much spin the Liberals try to play, a cap and trade policy will have the same effect as the NEP did on the Alberta economy: devastation.
It's so obvious, even our current lame-duck premier sees it.
If Michael Ignatieff is as intelligent as we are led to believe, he must realize any attack on Alberta's oil sands will reopen long-healing national scars.
Not everyone in Alberta would oppose Ignatieff's cap and trade policy, however. The separatists would be giddy beyond belief.