It's pretty sad to see the U.S. government shutdown and all the havoc it has wrought. Can you imagine if the same thing occurred in Canada and the Harper government was prevented from reading its Speech from the Throne next week as planned?
Hardship for many be assured, but please join my hand wringing for one particular group: Canada's oil companies.
Here are three reasons to be worried if Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative government was forced to shutdown.
1. Oil companies would feel lonely.
2. Oil companies would really miss their biggest cheerleader.
3. Did I mention the oil companies?
OK just to be clear here, I'm talking about a real government shutdown. Harper regularly shutdowns Parliament and in fact, amazingly, he holds a proud Canadian record in shutting down democracy! But even when Parliament was prorogued over the past month nothing stopped him from moving and shaking with the oil companies, just to keep their spirits up and such.
What I'm talking about is a shutdown caused by one house of Parliament, akin to the U.S. where the House of engineered its calamitous measure. Of course Canadian Senators wouldn't stoop to this, so busy they are with the upkeep of their private homes and populating those tedious expense accounts.
But if our House of Commons got together and shut the government down, we can only quake at the consequences.
First of all, what would happen to all the scientific research underway? Hmm, well on second thought, Harper has already pretty much shut that down already. Harper is concerned our scientists might actually reveal some deep secrets, like a problem involving the environment, and/or the oil companies. Whew, so no need to worry about that.
But here is another big one. What if Harper's was grounded? Immediately you think, no more pictures of Harper looking absolutely dashing in a Canadian Rangers sweater in the Arctic! No, it goes much deeper than that. What if he couldn't go to Washington to support our oil companies and the Keystone pipeline? What if he couldn't even pick up the phone and call President Obama (to support our oil companies and Keystone)? I know the oil industry has the American Petroleum Institute, Exxon, and the Koch Brothers, but there is nothing like Harper cheering for the winning team down there.
The list goes on. What if we had another disaster where a runaway train wiped out the guts of a beautiful town in Quebec? With the government silenced, Harper might have been prevented from penning his memorable "OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS" statement of condolences to the folks of Lac-Megantic. The sheer brevity of that message must have meant a lot to those folks.
The townsfolk must also have derived comfort over how the Harper government waited several months before dusting off an idea to ship Alberta's tar sands crude by train through the Rockies to the Pacific Coast. Obviously, he paid special attention to how the Quebec accident happened, who was responsible and, particularly, how Canadians don't seem bothered about continuing to use the worst possible way to ship oil.
Dear reader, you must be grasping now how serious this all could get. What if one of Canada's most well known tech companies, say BlackBerry, was teetering on the edge of collapse? What if Harper was so hamstrung by a shutdown that he couldn't lift a finger, give a toss or even lose a wink of sleep over that? Yeah, if the government was shutdown, why Harper would be no help at all!
Last but not least? If the government was shutdown, would we have the resources to spy on friendly trading partners on behalf of our oil companies? Decidedly not. And would energy companies still supply the sandwiches and buy rounds of beer if Canada's spooks were forced to hold meetings in a pub? I'm sure they would comply but that's not the point. The oil companies would worry they would no longer have this competitive advantage accruing to the them and only them.
So, dear reader, while you pay hundreds of ever rising dollars to fill your car each month and watch the planet warm thanks to the dedicated efforts of Harper and Co., rest assured that the oil profits still flow undaunted from the oil sands, because our government remains open and on Guard for them, and only them.