Justin Trudeau sticks tenaciously to his story that the Kinder Morgan dilbit pipeline is the price we must pay for a low-carbon Canada. What Trudeau is referring to is his flaccid (yes, as in "limp dick") carbon pricing scheme that only serves to demonstrate how disingenuous this prime minister is when it comes to tackling climate change.
Writing in The Tyee, Mitchell Anderson reveals the underhanded nature of Justin Trudeau.
Politics have been described as the art of the possible and in fairness, Notley is in a bind. Is it possible that a woman could be re-elected as NDP premier in a province whose national emblem might be truck nuts? Recall the mob gathered on the legislature lawn chanting, “lock her up” in an embarrassing display of endemic dumbass.
In spite of steady leadership on many issues, a December poll showed only one-third of voters approved of her performance as premier.
What to do? Picking a fight with B.C. over pipelines is an easy win, supported by 82 per cent of Albertans. However, this gratuitous gambit may not carry the day. United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney leads by 14 per cent in the polls and offers Albertans a more authentic version of the same oil industry policies that squandered a vast resource bounty with virtually nothing to show for it other than a $45 billion debt.
And what about our prime minister? Where does he stand? In spite of his aggressive eco-branding, Justin Trudeau has been unabashedly pro-pipeline. Look no further than this remarkably fawning speech he delivered to the energy industry in Houston, Texas last year, beginning with a pointed mea culpa about his father’s National Energy Program. “It was a failure… The NEP introduced a level of state control over energy that hurt growth and jobs.”
Trudeau went on to brag to about delivering three new pipeline approvals for unrefined bitumen from Alberta. “I make no bones about it. We’re very proud of this… No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”
Extracting, transporting, refining and burning those 173 billion barrels of bitumen will dump some 122 billion tonnes of CO2 in the atmosphere, yet Trudeau maintains even to Bill Nye that this is the best way to fight climate change.
Interestingly, there is a missing video potion of his speech at the 11:35 mark. A written transcript reveals the omitted words: “And let me be very clear. We could not have moved forward on pipelines had we not acted on climate.”
Trudeau seems to be intimating to his Texan hosts that the proposed federal carbon-pricing scheme was the required policy fig leaf to push through contentious pipeline approvals. “Our immediate predecessors tried a different route for 10 years - to ignore the environment. It didn’t work any more than the NEP of the 1980s worked. They couldn’t move forward on big energy projects.” If oil-friendly former prime minister Stephen Harper couldn’t deliver pipelines, perhaps the influential power brokers within the petroleum sector merely switched horses.
But what about those subsidies to the bitumen barons?
In 2017, Auditor General Michael Ferguson tried to investigate what progress, if any, was being made in phasing out such public gifts to the oil and gas sector but was stonewalled by the finance department, which refused to provide the required documents. However, Ferguson was able to conclude that the Trudeau government had failed to even define how it interpreted this commitment.
Efforts to obscure Trudeau’s inaction on this file seem to have reached absurd levels. A scheduled public parliamentary committee hearing on energy subsidies last October was abruptly declared in camera by Liberal co-chair Alexandra Mendès, ostensibly to put witnesses “at ease.” The cryptic minutes from this suddenly secret meeting state, “It was agreed… that consideration of Report 7, Fossil Fuel Subsidies, of the Spring 2017 Reports of the Auditor General of Canada be postponed until further notice.” Problem solved.
Instead of eliminating the many federal petroleum subsidies, totalling almost $1.3 billion annually, the Trudeau government has locked some in until 2025. Direct government gifts to the fossil fuel sector top $3.3 billion when provincial subsidies are included - an amount that works out to about $19 per tonne of CO2 emissions or $237 per Canadian household.
Photo: Kinder Morgan's compound in Vancouver's inner harbour cordoned off with razor wire, the stuff that's usually found at concentration camps and prisons. Nice touch. Lets us know where we stand. Keeps us in our place - even on our waters.