The Christmas Letters: Christy Clark's Note to Santa

Leaked emails reveal BC's premier feels 'out of gas.'

By Steve Burgess 23 Dec 2014 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

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The Tyee is not at liberty to divulge how these emails came into our possession. Illustration by Nora B. Kelly.

Steve Burgess recently received a trove of leaked holiday emails. The Tyee feels it must publish them as a public service.

This one comes from the office of Christy Clark and appears to have been addressed to the North Pole:

Dear Santa,

Hello from sunny Victoria. I have quite a list for you this year. I know I've asked for stuff before but this time it's really important.

I had some big plans. I made a lot of promises. You've got to bail me out, fat man.

During the last election campaign I pretty much borrowed a page from your playbook. Make a wish, I told British Columbians. As long as you're good and vote as you should, all your wishes will be granted.

Santa Claus is coming to B.C. Although I phrased it a little differently -- I referred to you by your initials: LNG. Liquified natural gas was like Santa's magic sack full of little toy trains, little toy tracks, obscene profits, marble garage floors, fur-lined dishwashing gloves, sushi served from the naked body of Chris Hemsworth. Vote Liberal, click your heels together, say "Easy money!" and poof, B.C. would become Alberta.

It worked. Sort of. Alberta really did start to look a lot like B.C., if only in the sense that Keith Richards eventually came to resemble the star of Tales from the Crypt. Alberta's party is over -- they are now living the downside of the whole resource-based economy thing. Oil prices have plummeted -- a Bank of America forecast predicts $50 a barrel in coming months. Morgan Stanley says they're a bunch of crazy oil-patch optimists -- they're predicting prices around $43. At any rate we're almost at the point where gas stations will be holding Happy Hour and offering free fill-ups with every 12 oz package of beef jerky.

That same Bank of America report also predicted continued Boxing Day bargains for holiday LNG shoppers, and not just this holiday season either. Bank of America analyst Sabine Schels believes that for years to come the market for LNG will be as bearish as a Chicago sports bar on Sunday.

Australia and the U.S. are already poised to flood the LNG market while my government can't even coax Petronas into the starting gate. B.C. is starting to look like one of those late-starting Klondike miners who found themselves stuck on the Chilkoot Trail, staring at the back end of a 500-mule traffic jam.

But even if the whole LNG bonanza turns out to be a mirage, I did make those rash campaign promises. Have to get those projects moving.

Don't worry, I told the public, we are crack negotiators. We'll fleece these multinational energy rubes like a bunch of tourists at a sidewalk shell game. Then my government demonstrated its crack negotiating skills by gutting environmental regulations and cutting the royalty rate in half. In hindsight, running an election campaign in which I demonstrated my desperate need for LNG revenue may not have been the best negotiating tactic. And then after we'd handed over our pants and shoes, Petronas said, "We'll think about it."

Now I'm out of gas. It looks like the guy coming down B.C. chimneys on Christmas Eve will be a sour puss covered in green fur.

So Santa, I need help. I want to do like you, but I don't know how. You give the people what they want year after year, and you do it all on cheap elf labour and reindeer feed. Teach me your magic, Kris Kringle.

Show me how to conjure up wealth out of dreams and fairy dust.

But then, I suppose I shouldn't complain. Every year on my Christmas wish list I ask you to befuddle, confound, and divide my enemies. And you always seem to come through.

So thanks, big guy. Merry Christmas and a happy 2015, when our trillion dollar LNG economy will at last take off like Donner and Blitzen. Or at the very least, Max the dog.

Please note our comment threads will be closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 5 to give our moderators a well-deserved break. Happy holidays, readers.  [Tyee]

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