Just An Observation: Rural crime, oil the latest boiling points

If it wasn’t for a pair of running battles, Albertans would have nothing to talk about

The state of people running off at the mouth continues in Alberta and it’s gotten to the point where even newspaper columnists are beginning to hit the mute/delete button.

Everyone no doubt has witnessed the two latest verbal assaults to hit the airwaves and both involve this province’s two “favourite” subjects — oil and rural crime.

The worst of it came recently with the venerable leader of the provincial opposition — UCP’s Jason Kenney — using insulting, derogatory and down right vindictive language when referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government’s handling of the fiasco that has become the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipeline construction.

Without actually going into it, you can read it for yourself online, READ the former federal Conservative minister essentially tore a strip off in the same juvenile fashion as one might have experienced in the grade school playground growing up.

This is not something one should expect from an individual hoping to become the top dog of a province that needs a supportive partner in getting the economic drive going forward, not helping to stall it with rhetoric and petty name calling.

Doing this also shows the potential voter just what kind of thought process the UCP leader will ostensibly bring to the campaign trail come this spring. It may not go over well with some, who will consider it a ploy so the party doesn’t have to defend itself on policies and issues.

That being said, there is an argument to be had that the PM and his government are not doing near enough to ensure that Alberta’s interests in the situation are being served.

B.C. Premier John Horgan and his minority government — which is being propped up by the environmentalist B.C. Green Party — continue to bar the door on the pipeline through support of court actions and leveraging municipal governments to do the dirty work on issuing permits and allowing the constant protests to delay equipment.

Only recently did the B.C. justice ministry change its stance — after being admonished by a judge — so that all individuals arrested for disobeying the trespass order issues for Kinder Morgan’s Burnaby facility will now be charged with criminal contempt of court. Previously, it was Kinder Morgan lawyers that had to lay civil charges as provincial prosecutors were not.

Meanwhile, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has stood somewhat behind the scenes, either in an attempt to let Kenney run wild and show his colours or simply just waiting for the federal government to show its hand. Whichever, it hasn’t seemed to have done much in the way of getting the job done.

However, the provincial legislature did recently pass the bill that could allow Alberta to shut off the flow of petroleum products west as a pressure tactic. Although, no one is quite sure whether a court will let that happen and then everyone is back to square one — waiting for the Trudeau government to do something.

All I know is this, I am tired of hearing about it while I pay an exorbitant amount at the fuel pumps. And it’s only going to get worse.

Crime chatter

The other boiling battle concerns just what needs to be done on curbing the rampant thefts, break-ins and other criminal activity occurring in our smaller centres.

Everywhere I turn lately, there is another RCMP press release about some armed robbery of a small town business or a rural resident taking shots at people attempting to steal stuff from their property or a high-speed chase winding up with the suspects making a getaway.

Those are only outweighed by the number of voices out there wanting governments to allow people to protect themselves, to increase the penalties for criminals, plus find a way to deal with the problems that are causing the criminal activity to grow.

I’m certainly not advocating that the rules need to be changed — the last thing Canada needs is to become like the gun-toting neighbours to the south. After all, property can be replaced.

However, it might be time to check out how people can be kept from going to court simply because they were defending themselves.

But that is…just an observation.

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