Published on March 28th, 2017 | by Roy L Hales0
An Accurate Portrayal Of Justin Trudeau’s Character
March 28th, 2017 by Roy L Hales
Originally published on The ECOreport.
The NATIONAL POST published a very cynical portrait of Canada’s Liberal government. Andrew Coyne wrote, “Every time you think you have plumbed the depths, every time you believe you have pierced the many veils of their duplicity, you are delighted to discover still another con wrapped inside the last — usually delivered by some smiling minister tweeting variations on ‘Better is Always Possible’ and ‘Diversity is Our Strength.’”
Unlike the previous administration, which “never bothered to pretend they were anything other than grimly determined power-seekers,” the Trudeau people are using their perceived idealism as “a newer, slicker, con.” Coyne may be right, but I suspect this is not an accurate portrayal of Justin Trudeau’s character.
An Accurate Portrayal of Justin Trudeau’s Character
Though Canada’s Prime Minister often appears to be playing up to the cameras, there was also a naiveté about him that seems best encapsulated by the slogan “sunny ways my friends, sunny ways.” Trudeau seems to have believed he could span the rift between the nation’s corporate and environmental sectors. There was a time when he talked of reconciliation and the need for social license.
For three glorious months, I thought we might have a Prime Minister who put the welfare of his people first. This was a surprise. Originally, my only hope/expectation was that Trudeau would keep his promise to introduce an electoral system based on proportional representation.
Our Prime Minister abandoned that promise last month.
His commitment to ‘nation-to-nation’ relationship with Indigenous peoples lasted up until he was called upon to issue permits for British Columbia’s Site C Dam, which will flood land protected by treaty #8.
Prior to his election, Trudeau proclaimed, “While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.” The strength of this lofty sentiment was tested when his new government championed the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion through British Columbia’s most populated region. There was no reconciling cities like Vancouver, Burnaby, and New Westminster to the deal.
Trudeau had to make a choice. I suspect he wanted to be “nice,” but also had an agenda.
According to Marc Miller, Trudeau’s friend since Grade 7, “Nobody would ever describe him as ‘wishy-washy.’ He knows what he wants. He knows what he thinks is right, what he believes in, and he’s not afraid to say to a room full of people: ‘You’ve all been very helpful, but I’ve decided this is what we’re going to do.’”
This appears to be what happened. Trudeau appears to have tried the “social license thing,” but we did not go along with “what he believes in.” So he told us “what we’re going to do.”
Trudeau’s Pro Fossil Fuel Ideology
Contrary to what some may believe, Trudeau never attempted to hide his support for the fossil fuel sector.
“There’s not a country in the world that would find 170 billion barrels of oil under the ground and leave them there,” he told a Calgary audience in October 2012.
He proclaimed his support for the Keystone XL pipeline project during a visit to Washington in 2013, adding, “It’s important that we get our resources to market, but it’s also important that we understand that it’s not just up to governments to grant permits anymore. We have to get communities to grant permission and that’s something that we need to spend more time focusing on.”
In January 2014, Trudeau endorsed both the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and Energy East pipeline projects, providing they “can be done is a responsible fashion.”
Combating Climate Change
If we had been listening a little more closely, we might have recognized that some of Trudeau’s ideas are mutually exclusive.
Though Canada publicly embraced the idea of limiting the rise of average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees, we have also embarked upon energy policies that are increasing, rather than decreasing, our GHG emissions.
According to Canada’s Energy Future 2016,
(p 112) “The rate of growth of fossil fuel consumption outpaces the decline in GHG intensity of Canada’s fossil fuel consumption mix. This implies increasing GHG emissions, which is a result consistent with Environment and Climate Change Canada’s most recent GHG emission projections.”
Prime Minister may have to make another a choice. In-so-far as is possible, he will probably try to be “nice” about it, because this is Trudeau’s style. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Trudeau decides he’s tried this climate change thing and gets on with his real agenda.
Meanwhile, maybe he’ll carry through on his promise to legalize marijuana.
Sunny ways, my friends, sunny ways.
Photo Credits: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by DonkeyHotey via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); Parliament Hill, Ottawa by Robert Linsdell via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); Prime Minister Justin Trudeau by Alex Guibord via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License); Environment Minister Catherine McKenna at Cop 21, Paris — Courtesy Environment and Climate Change Canada via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)