Monday, September 24, 2018

Pleasing Words Mean Nothing

Unless they are in the thrall of rabid partisanship, nice hair, sunny smiles or pleasing but empty rhetoric, most people, I suspect, would agree that the Trudeau government has been a massive disappointment. And while the list of its failure to live up to its promise is long, for me its greatest failure has been on climate change. Its purchase of an aging pipeline at public expense is a clear disavowal of climate-change integrity, as is its anemic carbon tax policy, one that likely has had the unfortunate result of convincing many that paying a little more for the fossil fuels they use will make a major dent in the peril that is quickly overtaking the world.

David Suzuki, for one, has called for Environment Minister Catherine Mckenna to resign.

Michael Harrris writes that, while Mckenna clearly will not resign, Suzuki's words have impact:
What the country’s leading environmentalist has done by calling out McKenna is call out the Trudeau government on its signal failure — the environment. And that could significantly alter the coalition that delivered a majority government to the Liberals in 2015.
The hopes raised by the government and then dashed are consequential:
In Trudeau’s case, the aspirational notion to move Canada toward a green economy has been eclipsed by policies worthy of a ‘fossil award.’ The only thing more dubious than the Trudeau government’s initial support of the Kinder Morgan pipeline was the unpardonable sin of buying it.

Publicly acquiring a leaky, decrepit pipeline for $4.5 billion and facing construction costs approaching $10 billion — all to carry the dirtiest fossil commodity of them all, bitumen, is hardly consistent with the greening of Canada or saving the planet.

But it is perfectly consistent with what Trudeau told an audience of oilmen in Houston who gave him a standing ovation.

“No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave them there,” he said.
Susuki is not the only one calling out the Trudeau government for its arrant hypocrisy:
In a recent study by U.S. advocacy group Oil Change International, the authors concluded: “There is no scenario in which tar sands production increases and the world achieves the Paris goals… If he [Trudeau] approves a pipeline, he will be the one to make the goals impossible to reach.”
Other actions by this government are equally damning:
Canada continues to spend the most per capita of any G7 country subsidizing oil and gas development — $3 billion in Canada and $10 billion through Export Development Canada in foreign countries.

Last February, Catherine McKenna approved permits for British Petroleum to drill as many as seven exploratory wells off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia. The water is up to twice as deep as the ocean where BP had its Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico back in 2010. Eight years on and people around the Gulf are still suffering the consequences.

Then just months later, McKenna approved the first actual deepwater well for BP 300 km off of Nova Scotia.
As well, the much-vaunted carbon tax is looking increasingly anemic, as Trudeau eases the burden of the worst polluters:
The carbon tax on the worst of them will now be triggered at higher levels of emissions.

The threshold at which the tax would kick in was moved from 70 per cent of an industry’s emissions all the way to 90 per cent in certain cases.

The explanation for abandoning his environmental post? Trudeau was worried that certain industries would lose their competitiveness.
Harris hopes that condemnations from people like Suzuki will lead people to realize that the Liberal Party is not the environment's friend, but rather what it always has been, the party of the economy. He ends his piece with this acerbic observation:
When it comes to the environment, the only growth industry in Ottawa these days is spin doctoring.


  1. The Liberal party faithful can't or won't deal with this. That much is apparent from recent polls showing that Trudeau would quite comfortably match the 2015 election results if we were going to the polls today.

    The fact is that the great majority of Canadians are complacent with what the Liberals and the Conservatives have on offer. Earlier today I wrote this:

    The most important thing to me is how our government is responding to climate change - both mitigation and adaptation. How is it preparing Canada for the future that will be our kids' and our grandkids' inescapable reality?

    If you have a majority government and yet cannot respond to a grave and imminent danger, a potentially existential threat, to your country and its people, you're an obstruction. You're unfit for office. When time is fast running out to act and our best remaining options are slipping through our fingers, you're harming the country and, especially, our future generations and by what right?

    How does anyone support a government that turns its back on the safety of the country and, by its indifference and neglect, places our nation and our young people in harm's way? I don't get it.

    1. After I posted today, I went over to your blog and saw that you had written on the same topic, Mound. I concur wholeheartedly with the sentiments you expressed.

  2. .. I keep asking to see a pie chart.. like super simplistic, but catching the main $ ebb & flow of say.. uh, Trans Mountain pipeline and the basic ball of wax after some 60 + years.. and the diluted bitumin (dilbit) tale.

    Of course I would expect to see an updated projection via pie chart or Powerpoint talking points of what the Trans Mountain twinning brings to the dilbit dance.. aside from supertanker to Burnaby BC - this the stuff Canadians should expect from either their 'public servant' Justin Trudeau, or his most trusted senior Ministers.. Environment, Resources, Coast Guard - Fisheries & Oceans. You know.. the kind of easy to understand and believe that the PMO pull together to inform the caucus, so the caucus can inform the electorate.. who elected them in the first place.

    Hell, I'm so illiterate I can barely comprehend the basic cash flow categories.. but here goes a crude try.

    OK.. aside from the tar sands.. the pipeline got built - so $ spent
    Presumably some incentives provided.. and yes jobs arrived
    I actually helped landscape the early executive houses
    and later produced IPO videos re tar sands for stock brokers

    OK.. the dilbit starts flowing - to Burnaby
    presumably 'income stream' has commenced
    ie somebody is paying for the glop at how much/barrel ?
    Yes yes.. the dreaded 'discount'

    Time has passed, political donations..
    still the dilbit makes it way westard ho

    More jobs, some very skilled & high paying
    more political donations & entrenchment..
    Government now addicated - royalties are ? X ?
    Add to pie chart.. as its a slice of a certain size

    You see where this is going ..
    Can we please see the basic overall picture ?
    How much do jobs cost to create..
    Who is buying or will buy dilbit ?
    How much $ ?
    Who really profits ?

    This is all to fund mitigation ?
    To ensure limitation of greenhouse gases
    like the never mentioned methane ?
    That leaks from essentially every drilled bore ?

    So account for all the $$ in very broad strokes
    and pass on the 'wealth of Asia' via supertankers
    if that's just rainbow unicorn 'spin'

  3. Clearly, the pretzel logic of the feds would not withstand the scrutiny you call for here, Sal.