Episode 2
November 28th 2022

Polarized Politics

Read the transcript

Max Fawcett: Hi there — welcome to the second episode of Maxed Out, a podcast from Canada’s National Observer. I’m your host, Max Fawcett.

Maxed Out is made possible by listeners like you. If you’ve supported the podcast with a donation already thank you. If you haven’t yet, please donate what you’re able. $5, $10, as a one-time --- or monthly gift, every little bit helps keep us produce more episodes. Please donate at nationalobserver.com

I’m really looking forward to my conversation with today’s guest, Donna Kennedy Glans. Donna is a familiar presence to anyone in Alberta politics, as well as a community leader and public servant

First, though, I want to say a few more things about the purpose of this podcast. As some of you know, my dad Brian died back in February, and I’ve spent much of the last few months processing everything that comes with that. But as I’ve said elsewhere, one of the joys of being the son of a writer is that you never lack for access to their words, and their voice. And I recently went back and looked at a letter he sent me in late 2019, after I’d spent a few months helping him get things sorted in Toronto in the wake of his terminal diagnosis for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

In it, he gave me an assessment of my character — the good and the not-so-good. I won’t bore you with the good stuff, but he made a point of calling out some bad habits that seem relevant in light of this podcast.

“You have overly strong first opinions,” he wrote. “In neutral situations you should more often listen, reserve judgment, then speak. You are often intolerant of differences of opinion and fact sets that are adjacent to your own values and opinions. This often visibly displays as contempt.”

Fair enough, dad. He went on:

“Argument shouldn’t be approached as zero sum even when your opponent thinks it is. In a civilized world, and maybe even in the world we have, you only win an argument if the other side doesn’t visibly lose. This is absolutely true in private arguments, not quite so true in public arguments, where you’re really making the argument to a third party—the body politic.”

I guess, in the context of this podcast, that body politic is you, my listeners.

So I’ll ask that you be the judge if I am paying attention to my father’s advice that argument should not be approached as zero-sum.

And so, I’m going to ask a small favour: if you ever catch me approach arguments as zero sum, or behaving in some other uncivilized way, tell me.

Now to Episode 2 of Maxed Out. I’m calling it Polarized Politics

Donna Kennedy Glans is my guest today. Her resume includes three years as the MLA for Calgary-Varsity from 2012 to 2015, where she served in a variety of roles including as the associate Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy.

She’s also been a VP at Nexen, a large oil and gas company which was eventually bought out by the Chinese national oil company in 2013. Senior Legal Counsel at TC Energy, a pipeline company. And written number of books, including 2022’s Teaching the Dinosaur to Dance

That’s not all. She’s also the founder and executive director of Canada Bridges, a not-for-profit which supported local efforts in Yemen to build the capacity of women working in healthcare roles — no small feat in the aftermath of 9/11.

She’s also a columnist with the Edmonton Journal, where she writes about everything from energy to politics. Welcome to Maxed Out, Donna.

Donna Kennedy Glans: Thanks for having me, Max. And just to correct you, I actually write for The National Post. I've been doing quite a few pieces lately, not just on energy, but interviewing people over a meal to dig deep into conversation.

And I'm really grateful to see you doing this here, Max.

Max: Well, thank you. Yeah, I no, I do I do try to tell people that I'm not quite as obnoxious as I can seem on Twitter, So I'm glad to have the podcast as a as a venue to to display my less obnoxious self. Let's get into that that less obnoxious self. I want to first talk about something that I didn't include in your bio, but you were on the Fair Deal panel, which was struck by Jason Kenney. You're one of the one of the authors of that report. I'm wondering how you feel that conversation has evolved since that report came out and how are we feeling today about the state of Alberta's place in the Canadian family? I suppose.

Donna: I was a reluctant participant in the Fair Deal panel. I was actually quite surprised that Jason Kenney invited me because I've been pretty critical of the UCP, and I think healthy criticism from within is very, very good. I'm not a member of the UCP party. I haven't been for actually since I left the Fair Deal panel. I ripped up my membership because I was frustrated. I found the process of going out and talking to people and mostly listening to them across the province to be really inviting and really important. especially when you don't agree with them, is really super important. So I went and did that and I enjoyed the time. Driving around rural Alberta in the winter of 2019 and 2020, just before COVID, when it got to the time to write the report, we were just seeing glimmers of COVID and we didn't know what it was then.

Donna: But we knew that going unilateral, regardless of how frustrated people were made absolutely no sense for Albertans in the middle of a health crisis or a looming health crisis. Why would you want to go it alone? Why would you want your own pension plan anyway? All sorts of questions didn't make any sense anymore. But I saw people on the panel and Preston Manning is I'm going to point directly to him was a guy who said, you know, I've got this vision for Alberta and I want to write the report. And his vision didn't track with my vision and frankly, didn't track with what we heard. So, I pressed really hard to be a co-author of that report. And I'm trained as a lawyer and another lawyer who's a constitutional expert. And I wrote the report. It was a lot of negotiation. It was a lot of it was difficult. It was a really difficult experience. So, we got that put together and it is what it is. But that was pre plague. We're now talking about a totally new world. For us to be pushing the message that we need an independent Alberta police force or we need to collect personal income taxes and let the feds do the same on their side, like doubling up on bureaucracy and red tape and the pension plan. I mean, the pension plan is a really big thing for a province of less than 5 million people to get their arms around. It makes absolutely no sense to me at all. So, I think somebody has got is whispering into the ear of the Premier, our new premier. And I'm really frustrated by it and I want to call it out. I think it makes no sense at all. It feels very retro. Double that down with Danielle dollars. And I feel like we're looking in the rear-view mirror and not in the future. And to be honest with you, Max, I don't think most Albertans think that way. It's kind of like this small group has taken over the microphone. And I think we just need to really take it back and take it back. The UCP, it's their job to deal with this. They need to do this. It's their party. They need to deal with this.

Max: So I'm interested in the next provincial election for any number of reasons, but one of the big ones is I feel like it's going to be a really important test for this kind of message that Danielle Smith is putting out there as to whether it resonates with the public. Because, you know, like you say, I think I think she travels in circles where the frustration with Ottawa is maybe a little more elevated than it is in the general population and the belief in things like the Alberta pension plan and the Alberta revenue agency is perhaps a little stronger. But certainly, my sense talking to people in Calgary here and the folks that I know and admittedly like I'm in I'm in a progressive bubble, but there's no interest in any of this stuff whatsoever. They want they want to see the hospital system fixed. They want to see health care improve. They want to see cost of living issues addressed. They don't really have any time for these kinds of ideological crusades around repatriating our pension funds or picking fights with the federal government. I just I don't see the appetite there from the public, certainly from the segments of the public that I interact with. Do you think that that it's going to resonate with the people that showed up at the Fair Deal hearings back in 2019, or are they kind of do you think they've probably moved past this a little bit as well?

Donna: My sense is that they've moved on and that they're dealing with questions about the kids aren't going to school because they're sick when they take their kids to the hospital. It's they're in a big, long lineup and that's horrifying. You can't get Tylenol for kids. I mean, basic, basic things. That's what captures the attention of most people I know. And to be honest with you, when we talked to, we listened to people on the ground in Alberta, what they most cared about, what the what the common ground was. What is the common ground? The common ground in 2019 and 2020 was can my kids and grandkids choose to stay in the province of Alberta and live and work and play, or are they going to be forced to move to British Columbia or Toronto because there just is no way to survive here? I think we've got the answers to those questions now, and a lot of people are making their way here. In fact, Jason Kenney has got billboards in Toronto telling people to come here because it's an affordable place to live. I think that's kind of amusing and I think that's kind of an interesting thing to see play out. But that was the common ground then. Is this a place where my family can live? And that goes back to Lougheed days. About three summers ago, I interviewed about over 20 people who were Lougheed contemporaries, people who stood shoulder to shoulder with him when he was coming into power. Some of these people have already passed, so we're really happy to get some of these ideas and stories on the record. And they said the same thing, like people wanted a place in Alberta that was attractive to people. So that's why they invested in culture. That's why they invested in the arts, which I think is really important quality of life, not just the cost of living, but the quality of living. It's nice to say the Rockies are but it's not enough. I mean, we need to know that when we go to the hospital that our kids are going to be cared for. My granddaughter had cancer. She was six months old when she was seven months old when she was diagnosed. Children's Hospital. She's now cancer free. It's brilliant. It's wonderful, thank God. But two years of going to the children's hospital, living there virtually, you know what that's like in your gut.

Max: Here's Alberta Premier Danielle Smith talking about her solution to the province’s health care problems.

Danielle Smith: That’s the beauty of what the health spending account is all about, is not only would we seed it with a bit of money but then we would give you the incentive to put more money in for your own medical needs, your employer to put money in, raise money to put money in, get your family members to donate money in cause I recognize we are going to need more dollars as we go forward. I don't think it bodes very well. I'm quite concerned and I think it's I'm not alone in that.

Max: So, you've spoken to a lot of a lot of former Peter Lockheed contemporaries. How do you think he would land on the current brand of conservatism in Alberta right now? Would he be supportive? Would he be critical? How would he feel about what's being sold to Albertans from his, I guess you could call it, former end of the political spectrum?

Donna: I don't know that he was at the end of a political spectrum. And I think that's my big takeaway, Max, and I think that's why I people get really frustrated with me because I'm not pure enough as a conservative. And I'm not a liberal. My God, Tony, you're not a liberal. But what am I? I actually pull ideas from across the spectrum. I'm not an ideologue that I'm not an NDP leader and I'm not a far right conservative. I pick and choose. And I think that's what he did. I mean, he picked winners and losers in the economic diversification space. And I'm seeing Danielle do some of the same, which kind of makes me a little bit nervous because I want to understand the rationale. But people had to trust Lockheed doing that, too. So that's not easy. And you make mistakes and then you have to live with those mistakes. So that's that interesting. I think on the health care side, this whole idea of building up the health care sector and getting decision making into the communities rather than at some sort of central nodule resonates for somebody like Peter, Lougheed and that kind of thinking.

But is that a left or right thing? I don't think so. I think that's just a style. What I don't like right now and what I'm seeing with the present premier is unilateralism, which I think is I worry about because I think no one person can ever know all the answers. And we need guardrails in place to protect decision making. And thank God and I'm saying this sincerely that we're selling oil and agricultural products because, you know, the marketplace needs Alberta right now.

Max: Things definitely seem more breakable and more easily broken than they used to. And maybe that's just me being on Twitter too much and watching Elon Musk break that in real time. But it does seem like things that didn't used to be able to get broken are a lot more fragile right now. I want to switch gears a little bit. You mentioned in a recent column you talked about the need for a win Ottawa, Alberta energy deal. What does that look like in your view?

Donna: I've been writing a lot about energy and especially in the in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, I feel like there is not an open or sometimes healthy dialogue between Ottawa and the province of Alberta on energy and what our role is in energy. And I think the question of Alberta versus Quebec and the different positions we have on energy is important. But I also think we have a federal voice and energy needs to be clearer. Isn't exactly the right well, maybe clearer is the right word. I find there's inconsistencies and I find there’s a lot of shouting at one another. Reading from scripts. There's not a lot of genuine dialogue. And I understand why that is. And I'm not actually blaming people as kind of a useless exercise. but pointing forward, here we are with a lot of energy resources, hydroelectricity, hydrogen capacity, oil and gas, even coal. And I think that's another huge discussion. And renewables. And I feel like we're just awash with opportunity. Other countries would die to have the opportunities that we have and the resources and the potential. And instead of being feeling good about what we can do with that, we're having scrappy little fights all the time. And I feel like that's just a waste of time. Come on, let's grow up. Let's get in a direction. Are we doing LNG or not? The United States is doing LNG big time there don’t even a price on carbon, and they're doing LNG with an exclamation mark. And the best that we can do right now is facts feed, fill some of those feedstocks and can we do better than that? I just don't get it.

Max: Where is the oil and gas industry, in your opinion, on the energy transition and our role here in Alberta in it? I mean, I you know, you hear two things almost simultaneously, and they're in pretty stark contrast with each other. On the one hand, you know, the major oil sands companies, the Pathways Alliance, they are committed to net zero. They're going to spend billions of dollars on this stuff. They believe in it. Great. On the other hand, you have the CEO of CAPP – the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers coming out today and saying that that demand for oil and gas is going to be - quote -strong for decades to come, which if you look at the International Energy Agency’s recent report that is just not true, demonstrably false. So, how do you how do you see them squaring those two circles? Because it seems to me they kind of want to have their cake and eat it, too, on this on this issue. They want to say we believe in net zero. We're going to get there. We're part of the solution. But they also say demand is going to be there for decades to come, which would clearly mean that we didn't get to net zero by 2050.

Donna: Well, I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. I mean, I do believe that the big players in the oil sands have no choice but to commit to the Pathways Alliance. And I think they're taking it seriously. And I think I think they'll hold each other accountable. The big question remains how much public money will go into that? And I think the big comparison point right now is with the United States, because there's a lot of public money going into carbon capture and sequestration in the US, a lot of comparatives are being drawn. The other thing I'm noticing and I worked in the patch for 25, almost 30 years before I was elected and I've worked in 35 countries. So, it's I have a good sense of what goes on in the patch. In Canada the big players are really focused on the oil sands. They are I think they're putting all their eggs in that basket and frankly, I don't understand it. So, I've been questioning it, which we get to do. When I worked, I grew up in a farm, Max.

Donna: We diversified, we had cattle, we had corn, we had tobacco. I picked tobacco for ten years to put my stuff through school. That's how old I am, because tobacco is long gone and now my brother grows ginseng instead. So, I get diversification at a really DNA level. Like I understand if you don't aren't diversified, you might die at some point economically because things just change on you. So, I'm really surprised by big companies, including Suncor, putting all of their eggs in the basket of the oil sands. So that group speaks with one voice. They've got their story together. I think it's cogent and there's some hair on it because I still think people are going to wonder about the oil sands. I think we've got to work through that. But then there's a whole other area of energy, especially on the hydrocarbon side, that the midstream guys, the pipe guys, the people still looking for gas. I mean, there's lots of gas in western Canada. You know, gas is acceptable now as of last year, about this time, natural gas and atomic energy was acceptable, viewed as being acceptable. So, what are we going to do with that? And I think those questions are really unclear. I think the hydrogen possibility and potential is really exciting for that, but it's got a long way to go. We don't even have a regulatory regime to govern hydrogen yet, so I feel like they're not really talking at cross-purposes. They're just talking from two very different investment landscapes. Capp Saying that we're going to need oil and gas for decades and decades and decades to come is an overstatement. But we will need oil and gas for a while, for a long while, for a fair while. We don't know the answer. The minute that battery storage comes into place, the whole world changes. And that could happen just like it happened with tobacco in my place where I grew up, near Tillsonburg, Ontario, Tobacco was everything. And then all of a sudden it wasn't. I get that that is actually likely what's going to happen, and we need to be ready for that possibility.

Max: Exactly. And I think sort of embracing that mess is kind of part of the answer here. Maybe having some sort of panel for oil and gas, some sort of having some great provincial exercise and hearing people out and having conversations would be really helpful in kind of de-polarizing the way we talk about this and getting people to see that we have more common ground. And for those who don't know what the Fair Deal panel is, I'm realizing that we're talking a fair bit of inside baseball here for our non-Alberta listeners. So, you know, the Fair Deal panel was the panel set up by Premier Jason Kenney to assess concerns about Albertans getting a better deal out of confederation. I think that is that a fair way to describe it.

Donna: That's a polite way to say it. Yes.

Max: An impolite way would be to say that it was he was him trying to mine grievance.

Donna: He had a master plan and it blew up. I'm going to pick up on your thread about talking to people about energy and climate policy. I decided not to run for re-election in 2015 under Jim Prentice, and there are reasons I did that. I'm happy to talk through, but I decided not to run. But I really care about energy policy and I really care about climate policy. So, after I made that decision, I gathered about 45, 45 people across all political across the full political spectrum. People who didn't agree with me. And we went out across Alberta and talked to 500,000 people face to face or virtually and ask them two questions in advance of cop in cop 21 in Paris. What do you want to say to in Paris about Alberta's energy policy and about Alberta's climate policy? We talked to farmers, we talked to people in rural Alberta. We talked to people who were 19 years old in the city. We talked to everybody. And we took those ideas. I took them. I paid my way myself, went to Paris and delivered those ideas in NGO space. I wasn't there as a corporate rep. I wasn't there as a government rep. I was there as an NGO voice. It was a very, very fascinating experience. And I could sit in a group when people were going well in oil producing nations where this is happening, I say, well, okay, I get that you think that's what's happening. But here is what we heard from this constituency base about, you know, blah, blah, blah. And they would look at me and I would go, here's the facts, here's the backup, here's the research. It was an illuminating experience because I, like you, believe so much in the power of just ordinary people saying what they believe and what they need to put on the record. And they trusted us because we were such a mixture of views. We weren't pushing an ideology. We just wanted to mirror what they had to say. That was actually I know it was a bit crazy, but it was I really glad I did that.

Max: Do you think that the discourse around this issue has gone backwards since then in terms of people being able to come into the middle and agree and also agree to disagree?

Donna: Yes and no. I actually dedicated a whole chapter to that question in my new book, Teaching the Dinosaur to Deaths, which is playing on the Alberta oil patch as the dinosaur and me as the dinosaur being 62 years old. I think it's easier to recognize when you're being pulled into the A-Team or the B team, the red team or the blue team. I think people recognize that more effectively, but you really have to dig hard to find people who want to have a conversation beyond what their team prescribes. And it's a lot of effort and it's a lot of work, and it means you may get kicked off your blue team or your red team, which is I think where you and I are starting to land is we're going to get kicked off our own teams, which is it's not a very fun experience, but I think it's there's a cost to doing this. And one of the things we're seeing in Alberta, in my opinion, is a lot more muting of perspectives because it just costs too much to participate in the game in the discussion. It's easier to play the game.

Max; Yeah, I think that's a really interesting insight. There is definitely a cost to coming across the aisle or betraying or straying from your partisan side, your prescribed list of ideas and values. But I think the cost of not doing it as we're seeing, is probably even higher for everyone else. I wonder from your from your perspective, obviously, as an oil and gas industry energy sector veteran, but also the former associate minister of electricity and renewable energy, what do you make of the developments there in Alberta in recent years? I was with the climate Change Office in 2017, 2018, when they were just developing the renewable electricity program. And honestly, I don't think the folks in that office expected it to be as successful as it's been. But do you think that there's a realization in Alberta of just how much potential there is around this?

Donna: I I'm really excited. I think it's been a huge success story and I hate bragging. I hate when Albertans brag. I tell people, get your elbows down, please. Just be normal. That would be nice for the rest of the rest of the country if we would just be normal. So I hate to say it this way, but I think our ability to get off coal in the time frame we did, it was unbelievable. Like I remember as an M.A., an associate minister for electricity and renewable energy, sitting down with friends of health care and different groups that were opposed to coal in any way, shape, or form, and talking about what's the what's the reasonable trajectory for transition. And then Rachel Notley did a fantastic job. I have no problem with what she did with coal. I applaud her. I talked about this all the time. What irritates me a little bit and I write about this too, is, is the fact that we've paid companies, including TransAlta, to get off coal and yet I flag it. Nobody else talks about it. And I kind of feel like an irritant at times, but I think it needs to be said, is they’re still burning coal even though they cash the checks? And I have a problem with that. So, you know, like, come on if you got the money, let's move along. Alberta is a really odd place for energy because we allow people, companies to come in and bid and be energy generators. I mean, in other provinces, it's not companies doing that. It's a government doing it most places. So, when I look at things and I did look at this closely again in this recent book, I dedicated another whole chapter to the question of an investment. And I followed the hearings closely in a place in southern Alberta, a small village called Lomond, huge, huge renewable energy project that will actually impinge on some very traditional lands of first nations. It's very intensive. And when you look at the economics of the generation of the electricity from renewable energy, in this case wind turbines, what's making the project work is not the sale of electricity, which frankly isn't that valuable in Alberta, I isn't that costly, it's valuable, it's not as costly, but it's the sale of the renewable energy credits that the generators get to sell to companies like Amazon to offset their carbon footprint print in a place like California.

Donna: I don't think the public knows that and even the watchdog, the electricity watchdogs and they in their reports and their really hard to read reports, they're written by lawyers and engineers, which is a ghastly combination, she says, is they're pitching this idea that the cost of electricity is being subsidized. It's being influenced too much by these renewable energy credits, and I believe that's the case. So, I feel like we've got a lot more work to do to get this right, and people are kind of turning their eyes away from it. In the meantime, we've got all this activity and renewable energy, which looks great, but I don't know how much benefit is landing here in Alberta.

Max: I I've had these conversations with folks outside of Alberta about the just transition and how we need a just transition. And I sort of say, okay, but from the perspective of people who are being transitioned, it doesn’t always feel very just and I think that's one of the challenges with going from this traditional oil and gas economy to one as renewables, wind and solar as well as oil and gas is that oil and gas used to create a lot of really high paying, you know, low skill jobs where you could come out of high school, and be making six figures right off the bat and those jobs stuck around, they didn't go anywhere once the project you were working on was complete. And the challenge with renewables is, yeah, there's construction jobs when you build the turbines or you build the solar farm. But once you turn the switch on and it becomes an operating facility, a lot of those jobs disappear, it's very few jobs to maintain the operation. And so just in terms of the political economy of that form of energy, it has a smaller constituency than oil and gas does. And so, I think that helps explain why you see politicians certainly on the conservative side, but even on the on the NDP kind of really speaking on behalf of the existing way of doing business because there's just more votes there. So, I guess my question is, how do we contend with that difference in political economy and make decisions that are in the best interests of the province as a whole?

Donna: And I think you get back to diversification, Max. I think transition I there is a need for resiliency. I mean, I think we're in a really major transition zone right now. And that coal question, I mean, what we saw in Europe play out. I mean, Germany not having a backstop to Russian oil and gas. I mean, they got caught. Merkel did an incredible job. \. She engaged communities, she engaged business, she engaged other leadership and made the transition to renewables, but they didn't have a backstop to the oil and gas.

So we're in a squishy place where we need to be resilient., what we're seeing here in Calgary is a real focus on tech. I wonder what's going to happen with the tech bubble kind of blowing up a little bit here. But we've got some people we've got lots of people who can think like that, and I think they're skilled in that, those areas. So it's. How do you back to Lockheed, how do you recognize those points of transition and how do you take public money and not just spread it like peanut butter across every single sector so that everybody's got money, but actually do it in a really intentional and focused way so that you're going to have an impact that requires a lot of judgment and requires guts, frankly, because it's easier to spread peanut butter than it is to make very intentional strategic injections of capital into sectors and public and public. So probably courage.

Max: It's a kind of courage. I'm not sure it's the courage that Alberta needs right now. But I, I guess the thing that I see that I worry a lot about is certain conservative politicians and people in the industry saying, look at Germany, look at Europe, they made the mistake of investing too much in renewables, now is the time for more exports of Canadian energy. You know I feel like that only works if you have access to a time machine and you can go back to the mid-2000s and start building the infrastructure that we have today. If you were building liquified natural gas terminals on the East Coast in New Brunswick, wherever it might be, by the time they're operational, the world will probably have changed again. How do we how do we avoid this or how do we manage the risk of kind of doubling down on the wrong thing in this moment right now? I think its tempting to think if we just build more pipelines, we can recapture the glory that we had in the 2000’s and 2010s, the world is changing really fast.

Donna: Well, there's two questions there. One is, who absorbs the risk? Is it a private sector risk or is it a public sector? And what's the mix? I think that's a really big question. And the other is we've been really tentative, Max. I mean, I get it. It's very hard to build infrastructure right now on the East coast of the United States, just as it is in the east coast of Canada. If you're if you're if you're Quebec and you're exporting hydroelectricity, which is viewed as being pretty green on transmission lines, it's pretty hard to get those transmission lines in those corridors in place. So, none of this is easy right now. But on the west coast of Canada, we have had export markets that have asked for liquefied natural gas from Canada for a very long time. But I feel like the environmental downside of that is navigable and yet we still don't have an LNG facility. We're finally getting closer to something. In the meantime, the United States, which did not export any hydrocarbons for most of my career, is now building them and shipping and we're going to backstop that supply instead of doing it ourselves. So, I feel like it's a matter of degree. We can't afford to be stupid. We're not. We just why would we? But we can't afford to be overly tentative either. So, it's somewhere in there, there's a mix and people I just feel like it's been an either or. It's not an either or. It's a both. And that sounds very simplistic, but I don't think it is.

Max: No, I think you're right. I mean, one of the you know, whenever I have this argument or this conversation with people about why haven't we built LNG terminals and they compare us to the United States. I point out that have Texas with access to tidewater, it’s right on the Gulf of Mexico. If Alberta had the Gulf of Mexico on its southern shore, I am pretty sure we would be building LNG terminals like crazy. And I think if the United States had to ship its gas through California and Oregon, they'd probably be in the same situation that we are. So, geography is a big part of the explanation of why there's that difference. But part of it is also a different entrepreneurial culture, different regulatory culture, and a different legal environment. But you can’t ignore the role of geography. And sometimes other people don’t want to do the same things as you do, it’s tricky that way but I am sure we can unscramble this egg in the year 2022. I think we have to focus on doing what we can to meet the needs of our allies in Europe and other parts of the world, but that also means moving forward because they are moving forward. Germany is trying to replace Russian gas with renewables and us building an LNG terminal now for completion in 2030 doesn’t help them and it doesn’t help us. I think we are going to see similar dynamics the major import markets as well. They don’t want to be dependent on volatile fossil fuel imports in perpetuity. They would like to produce their own energy where and how they can so, I would like to see the political conversation in Canada, especially in Alberta, go in that direction, focus on how we can help instead of litigating old fights and mining old grievances, sortof rehashing the mistakes that were made in the past.

I want to give you the last word here as I want to give all my guests on this podcast. Is there anything that is that is on your mind that that sort of animates you right now? I know you mentioned that you were worried about things more than you normally are. You know what keeps you up at night as someone who cares about this province and wants to see it succeed?

Donna: I think libertarianism and unilateralism. I actually understood why people got in trucks and went to Ottawa and protested. I, I think we should talk to those people. I don't. I don't. I'm a lawyer. Good Lord. I believe in rule of law and I support it. And I don't suggest I don't endorse anybody who doesn't. But I understand why they did it. I am concerned that this Fair Deal panel push. This libertarian push is actually it. We're nurturing and feeding that grievance culture that we really. It serves very few people and maybe only politicians. And I watch the United States. I mean, I think they're actually getting past it themselves. Trump wants to run again, but lots of people are saying, you know, so what? We need to move on. And I feel the same way in Canada. We've got to pay attention to the things that need to be paid attention to. And I'm really optimistic. But I, I really get frustrated. I'm a farmer's daughter. I really get frustrated by spending time on things that just aren't useful. So, I'm let's focus forward. That's probably my biggest schtick.

Max: It's a good shtick. It's not a shtick at all. I, I couldn't agree with you more. I think we have a lot more in common than things, whether it's social media or politics or what have you would lead us to believe and. I think if we spent more of our time focused on that and less of our time focused on the ways we disagree, it would probably be for the best. I like Twitter more than is probably healthy certainly more than my lovely partner would like me to. But, you know, if Elon Musk breaks Twitter, it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world for the state of our democracy and our discourse. It maybe it would maybe it would be his gift to society unintentional, though. It may be. Thank you, Donna, for joining me here today. It's been an absolute pleasure. I really appreciated our conversation. Is there anywhere that people can, can or should check you out other than your columns in the National Post and tweets on Twitter if it's still there when people get this but is there anywhere else that people can find your work.

Donna: Beyond Polarity, Dot blog and I'll be blogging about this. I blog all the time.

Max: Perfect. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe it's time to bring the blogs back after Twitter collapses. Who knows?

Donna: Okay. Thank you.

Max : Thank you so much. Bye.

Max: Just a reminder that we need your help to continue our podcasts. Every donation helps. And please rate us a 5 on Apple and tell your friends. We want everyone to find us.

Maxed Out is produced by Canada’s National Observer. Our managing producer for podcasts is Sandra Bartlett. Associate producer Zahra Khozema. The editor-in-chief of Canada’s National Observer is Karen Pugliese. Our publisher is Linda Solomon Wood. I’m Max Fawcett. Next Tuesday it’s Hot Politics with David McKie. See you in two weeks.

Subscribe to Maxed Out on Apple Podcast and Spotify to never miss a new episode.

A discussion with former Alberta Progressive Conservative cabinet minister Donna Kennedy Glans on politics, oil and gas (of course!) and Danielle Smith's brand of populism.

Got questions or comments? Email us at [email protected]

Follow us on Twitter: @NatObserver