Wednesday, April 11, 2018

That Was Then; This Is Now

Funny about campaign promises. Most people take them with a large grain of salt, yet once in awhile, large segments of us are drawn in by the hope for a better day, hope fueled by an earnest politician who seems intent on upending the traditional shoddy, cynical and ultimately heart-breaking way of doing things that has become the default position of contemporary politics.

Such was the promise of Justin Trudeau.

But that was then, and this is now.

The Star's Tim Harper writes about the pipeline dilemma now facing Justin Trudeau, one, as I noted yesterday, is self-created:
For all the prime minister’s talk about how the economy and the environment go hand-in-hand, sometimes they become detached and action is needed, not a continuation of a Goldilocks not-too-hot, not-too-cold mantra that works as a sound bite, but not always as policy.

So here we are, a defining moment for the Trudeau government, with the clock ticking; a defining moment which Trudeau has largely brought upon himself.
The battle between Rachel Notley, desperate for a pipeline win if she is to have any chance at re-election, and B.C. Premier John Horgan, whose coalition with the Green Party will fall apart if he is not steadfast against the Kinder Morgan twinning, has grown increasingly acrimonious. Predictable, perhaps, but largely wrought by Mr. Trudeau himself:
It is important to remember how a campaigning Trudeau promised to deal with pipelines and other resource development compared to where he stood Tuesday.

On “social license” the Liberal platform read: “While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.”
Today, however, is a different story:
That was modified a year into the mandate with a more broad definition that dealt with consultation and dropped any reference to permission.
Another golden oldie from the Trudeau campaign trail:
...from the 2015 platform was a promise to Indigenous Canadians that they would be full partners on resource projects: “This will ensure on project reviews and assessments, the Crown is fully executing its consultation, accommodation and consent obligations, in accordance with its constitutional and international human rights obligations, including Aboriginal and treaty rights and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”
Words have consequences, and now Trudeau will have to wear that betrayal of the Indigenous people:
Trudeau is going to have to force an unpopular pipeline expansion by bulldozing it past a provincial government, Indigenous leaders and protesters.

Trudeau will expend much more than political capital. He will have his green bona fides shattered.
Justin Trudeau will hardly be the first politician to break his promises. However, given the great hope Canadians invested in his election, he can expect some long-lasting consequences to his betrayal of the public trust.


  1. This is one of those environmental issues that get overwhelmed by partisan politics. Justin is placing the perceived interests of the Liberal Party of Canada ahead of the environmental security of British Columbians and the long-term interests of young Canadians and the generations that will follow them.

    The National Observer accurately described Trudeau's constituents as "business leaders, bankers and oil patch executives." Doesn't that sound just like Harper?

    That his position is corrupt is evidenced by his broken promises and his arguments that are based on outright lies. He cannot make an honest case for the Trans-Mountain pipeline. He says "the science" has been done. Environment Canada says no, it hasn't. The Royal Society of Canada says it hasn't. David Shindler and Suzuki say it hasn't. The province of British Columbia says it hasn't but, if Ottawa won't, at least let us do it.

    Conclusive proof of the catastrophe that an oil spill poses to coastal waters requires nothing more than looking to Prince William Sound, Alaska, a quarter century after the Exxon Valdez disaster. And, remember, this was kids' stuff, ordinary crude oil, not the far more dangerous bitumen.

    That's enough to invoke the "precautionary principle" which, as you'll see in the citations below, has been upheld in the Federal Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada, as a norm of substantive Canadian law.

    The onus is on Trudeau, Notley, Kinder-Morgan and the Tar Sanders to prove this nightmare is safe and all we've got is their word for it. Trudeau's word is directly contradicted by his own Environment Canada - and the Royal Society. David Shindler, Alberta's renowned ecologist, contradicts Notley.

    This whole thing is built on a tissue of lies heedless of the risks it poses my province, my coast.

    Trudeau revealed how readily he will flout the law on the assisted dying issue when he felt entitled to ignore the clear ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Carter case and, instead, substitute a politically bastardized version, Charter rights be damned.

    The Trudeau government insists that its constitutional powers trump provincial opposition. It's not that simple. Constitutional powers exercised lawfully may trump provincial opposition but the lawful exercise of that superior jurisdiction surely requires Ottawa to meet the onus it bears under the precautionary principle. At the very least this makes Trudeau's efforts to steamroller British Columbia on Kinder Morgan unjust and, in a democracy, it is the right of citizens to resist unjust acts that flout the law.

    In essence, Trudeau makes the case for civil disobedience. He is the author of that misfortune and it is on him if he wrecks Confederation in the process.

    BC's Pipeline Vigilance is Backed By Science, Edmonton Journal, 9 Feb., 2018.

    The Precautionary Principle is the Law of Canada, the Dragun Corporation, 27 October, 2015.
    The Precautionary Principle Recognized as a Norm of Substantive Canadian Law by Federal Court of Canada, 7 Sept., 2015
    The Supreme Court of Canada applies the Precautionary Principle, case comment, Castonguay Blasting v. Ontario.

    1. Thanks for your analysis, Mound, as well as the citations. It seems to me that when Trudeau says the twinning of Kinder Morgan is in the national interest, that national interest seems to reside in the ones he answers to, as you state: the bankers, the oil executives and the business leaders.

      The environmental future of Canada and the world, at best, seems a mere afterthought.

  2. .. ergh.. talk th talk..

    Trudeau is in faceplant mode.. an old ski or snowboard term.. but that never deflected a politician.. ever

    The facts of pipelines to fill supertankers bound for Texas gulf coast or Asia, are meaningless.. its all about the votes.. repeat after me.. Its all all about the votes.

    And Israeli military with scoped weaponry, repeat after me
    Its all about the votes

    8 wheeled armored vehicles with turrets and machine guns are suddenly 'just jeeps' or just transports according to a current and past Prime Minister.. so could I drive a Massey Fergusen tractor pulling a load of hay or a manure spreader through the grounds of Parliament' and spin that past police in Ottawa.. as say, a street cleaning device? I think not ..

    But thanks for the try Justin..
    you were 'wide right'.. no super bowl for you
    But Stupor Bowl well within reach
    and the payoff is Canada gets Andrew Scheer
    what a wondrous relief... ergh ..

    1. I am as disappointed in Trudeau as many others are, Sal,. As you note here, the disparity between appearance and reality in his regime is immense.