This is what in sporting circles we would call a turn-up for the books. The Trudeau Liberal party government has made official something that a year or two ago none of us could have expected: it no longer deplores the Alberta Tar Sands as a source of energy, and the damage they are doing to the globe, but it actively supports them to the extent that it is investing billions and untold billions of Canadian taxpayer’s money in ensuring that their production should be doubled and more.
They have done so with a cavalier disregard for other well-founded negative opinions. Did not Mr. Trudeau himself say in a recent speech in the United States that no government could afford to leave 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground? And he could have added: “And to be damned with the rest of the world and its survival! All we care about is getting rich!”
Mind you, I am not sure of this, but I don’t think he has ever had the courage to say that to a Canadian audience, for fear of being torn limb from limb. You know us: we are everybody’s friend, we are the sensible nation every other nation is trying to emulate.
Our leaders never mention the shame-making mess that the tar sands have created in northern Alberta, they act as if it doesn’t exist, so in announcing their decision to expand the mess I suppose it is inevitable that they should try to hide under such ludicrous euphemistic phrases as “we have to get our resources to market, like any other country”, or “we have to defend federal jurisdiction”, or “we don't want to give the impression to the rest of the world that we aren’t a good place to invest in,” or, the most outrageous of all of them, “to expand the tar sands is the cornerstone of our policy to prevent climate change through human action,” all of these made, without, so far as I know, any of these shameless hypocrites blushing.
I used to be critical of Elizabeth May for playing on both sides at the same time --- working for he Mulroney government and the Sierra Club at the same time --- but she has come up big in his controversy, and I have to take my hat off to her. Her account of the economic realities of this pipeline seems never to have reached the minds of our established media, and would be enough to turn any reasonable person against the project. In addition, according to another article I read by a dissenting economic guy, the bitumen does not meet a ready market in Asia, as the government claims, but is mostly destined for refineries on the American West Coast. To achieve which noble result, apparently billions of Canadian money is to be poured out. Isn’t there something wrong with this? I know Trudeau seems not to understand India, but I thought he had the measure of the Americans. And yet the Kinder Morgan (a successor to Enron, according to Ms.May) people have played him so skilfully that they seem likely to come out of it all with a substantial profit of more than a billion dollars without lifting a spade.
And as Bill McKibben, the U.S. environmental activist writes
“history will remember Justin Trudeau, not as a dreamy progressive, but as one more pathetic employee of the richest, most reckless industry in the planet’s history.”
Way to go, Justin!