There is seldom any point to taking issue with a columnist from the Sun Chain, especially one of their girl writers, who seem to be chosen for their ability to foam up cutely rather than reason at any length or use words of more than a single syllable. It's too much like trying to review a bubble-gum card or being a heckler at the Special Olympics. However, the Calgary Sun's Licia Corbella has decided to take a few gratuitous shots at my beloved Toronto in her Friday column, and I could not let that stand.
Ontario Liberals are burning mad over the gasoline shortage in Toronto and across the province. Dan McTeague, Liberal MP for Pickering-Scarborough East, blamed the gasoline shortage on "Big Oil."
We had 44 refineries in Canada 20 years ago and we now have exactly 13, and two or three of them are either running offline or have very little capacity," McTeague complained to reporters.
Uh, but isn't that precisely what Liberals want? Aren't less refineries, less oil-sands development, higher gasoline prices and more Canadians riding public transit the Liberal plan?
Yes. That's exactly what the Liberals, and therefore, by definition, most Torontonians, say they want. It's also what the Green Party and NDP advocate.
Actually, what Torontonians want is:
1) What the mayor of Fort MacMurray wants, which is the development of the tar sands according to a plan that does not allow unchecked growth to trash the Alberta landscape or allow tons upon tons of of CO2 to be pumped into the atmosphere. Surely the mayor is not alone among Albertans in wanting these things?
2) More and better public transit. Licia gets that one correct. We Torontonians do tend to approve of public transit. But what does Licia have against public transit? Does she think it unmanly to not own a pickup truck?
3) As for higher gas prices, thanks but we already have those.
Ms. Corbella goes on to blame Health, Safety, and Environmental standards that are just too damn high for the fact that Canada has so few gas refineries on-line these days. I wonder, since she is happy to ascribe beliefs to literally millions of people on the basis of statements by a single Ontario MP, whether it is safe to say that Albertans, or maybe Conservatives, are in favor of lower health and safety standards. If so, they should make it a part of their next election platform.
Anyway, Corbella winds up with:
In any event, many Albertans who fear Ontarians will vote Dion into power and thus destroy their economic security again, as they did when the National Energy Program was imposed upon the oil industry in Alberta, are enjoying watching Torontonians line up for gas.
"To quote Ralph Klein, 'Let them freeze in the dark,' " wrote one reader.
As a Torontonian, let me say that I'm glad we're providing Alberta with entertainment. Of course out here in the East it is considered pretty tasteless to get a kick out of the misfortune of others, no matter what their politics might be, but I suppose that must be put down to cultural differences.
And, oh yes, one other important cultural difference between Toronto and, for example, Calgary, is that out here we make it so that our roads go both ways.
When Calgarians have figured out the concept of a two-way street, they can call us and we'll be happy to explain the more complicated stuff, like Opera.