Expert Canada-watcher Chris Sands assesses yesterday's election in Alberta as a big win for ... President Obama.
Canada is now America's most important supplier of oil. Almost all that oil comes from the province of Alberta. Voters there have just turned down a populist challenge to their incumbent Conservative provincial government. Infuriated by the Obama administration's decision against the Keystone XL pipeline, the populists demanded fast action to diversify Alberta oil exports away from the United States. The incumbents preferred to give the U.S. and the Obama administration more time. Alberta voters backed this go-slow approach. For now:
Had the Wildrose Party won the election, Washington would have been in for a wild ride -- a dramatic escalation in the pressure to act fast to secure access to Canadian oil before China and other markets can gain access to it. Instead of the Wildrose bad cop Danielle Smith might have been, Alberta voters chose to stick with Alison Redford the good cop to complement the bad cop role being played by Ottawa since the Obama administration delayed Keystone.