|He didn't say a word about changing into Harper.|
Three years ago Damien Gillis of The Common Sense Canadian speculated that Justin Trudeau might be worse than Harper for Canada's environment. Now it turns out he was right. Three debacles, all of them in British Columbia, show that Trudeau is not the leader he pretended to be.
...barely a year into his reign Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is batting almost .1000 when it comes to approving controversial energy projects, from liquefied natural gas plants in Squamish and Prince Rupert to permits for the Site C dam — and now Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and Enbridge’s Line 3.
In that 2013 editorial, my main concern about the new Liberal leader was that his energy and trade policies were nearly identical to those of former prime minister Stephen Harper — they just looked and sounded better coming from Canada’s prodigal son.
Moreover, I already had the sense Trudeau wasn’t guided by a clear set of values, making him vulnerable to persuasive political advisors and powerful lobbies. With Harper, I noted three years ago, at least we had “a sense that his zeal for expanding Canada’s fossil fuel industries through foreign ownership is something in which he believes on a deep, ideological level.” With Harper, you knew exactly what you were getting — he loathed environmentalists and didn’t care much for “radical” First Nations either.
In Paris, he committed Canada to serious climate action. “Canada is back, my friends,” he crowed.
More like right back to where we started. Since then, we’ve seen him default to Harper’s climate targets and approve pipeline and LNG projects which ensure it is impossible to meet even those low standards.
Trudeau campaigned on rebuilding Canada’s relationship with First Nations, but on respect for Indigenous title and rights, especially when it comes to energy projects, he’s all but forgotten them. His government pledged to support the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, then earned rebukes from leaders like Grand Chief Stewart Phillip when Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr dismissed one of its key principles: free, prior and informed consent to any development on traditional territories.
Finally, the contorted thesis of the Trudeau government appears to be that it’s possible — even necessary — to grow the fossil fuel economy in order to facilitate the transition to a green economy.
Yet there is a reckoning headed his way — perhaps bigger than even his predecessor faced. Because while no one expected wine and roses from Harper, Trudeau gave them high hopes.
The disappointment is that much greater when it’s rooted in a deception — just ask former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell about the HST and BC Rail, or look back to the Liberal sponsorship scandal of the early 2000s. Trudeau’s cutesy tweets, shirtless photo-ops and million-dollar smiles will prove no match for this kind of outrage.
The approval of Kinder Morgan has awakened B.C., and there’s no end to the Vancouverites and other supporters ready to stand on the line.
Think Idle No More meets Standing Rock meets Occupy meets the War in the Woods meets Burnaby Mountain — all unfolding in a major urban centre, under the watchful eye of tens of thousands of camera phones, drones and social, grassroots and mainstream media.
At this point I would usually add a para or two of personal thoughts. Not this time. I'm too damned angry with that lying thug of a prime minister and his cheap threats.