Let's face it, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has the gifted politician's gene, the one that allows him to mouth platitudes that fall flat from other politicians, and make them sound meaningful to the listener.
This is why he's seen as one of the most effective pro-tar sands boosters, despite the fact he's using the same questionable talking points as Team Harper or Team Alberta. He just delivers them better, so that they don't seem so questionable. Indeed, media rarely seem to press him on the facts.
But why does he do it in the first place?
Yes, there are tar sands lying under Saskatchewan too, waiting to be exploited, but much smaller deposits than in Alberta, and the interested company is now in creditor protection.
Yet, at this point, the only thing the tar sands have contributed to Saskatchewan is acid rain. That's right, the scourge of Canadian lakes in the 1980s is making a comeback, this time out West. Alberta (Canada's biggest polluter) already injects a huge dose of acid forming NOx and SOx into the Eastward bound weather systems, and with every tar sands operation approved -- almost weekly -- this dose rises, sending more acid rain over the border.
And Brad Wall is doing absolutely nothing to stop it. On the contrary, he's out stumping in the U.S. for increased tar sands growth, which will lead to even more acid rain falling on Saskatchewan. Does he get questioned on it? No.
So, why the strange acid trip?
It may be that Saskatchewan is already neck deep in dirty fossil fuels, even without adding tar sands. A little known fact is that on a per capita basis, Saskatchewan is actually worse than even Alberta in terms of greenhouse gas pollution produced in-province. When Brad Wall won office, he threw out Saskatchewan's climate targets and warned Ottawa not to do anything either. Boosting the tar sands, even if they are mostly in Alberta, could be seen as expanding the circle of dirtiness so that Wall has some allies in pollution.
This doesn't explain though why Wall, or other politicians with young families for that matter, seem to care so little about the future. It really does seem like some kind of manic bender that you hope they will come out of and start behaving more responsibly.
To get to that day, it could be that Saskatchewan's First Nations will have to help bring an end to the acid trip. A B.C. judge recently certified a class action lawsuit on behalf of First Nations claiming losses to their traditional fishing activities from salmon farms. Northern Saskatchewan First Nations have similar arguments to bring to bear as acid rain falls on their traditional fishing and hunting areas in increasing amounts.