Canada Choisit Trudeau-Deux, Ami de Keystone XL

Canada went Bizarro-Bush last night by electing a majority-Liberal government and replacing Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Justin Trudeau, son of 1970s–1980s PM Pierre Trudeau.

Trudeau fils flies better Liberal colors on the environment than Harper, but not on Keystone XL. Trudeau and his Liberals support the tar sands pipeline that would carry Alberta’s black gold through South Dakota to the Gulf of Mexico for refining and export:

Justin Trudeau, soon-to-be Prime Minister of Canada
Justin Trudeau, soon-to-be Prime Minister of Canada

Trudeau added that the pipeline is “an important energy infrastructure” for both countries, will be good for the Canadian economy and that it must be done in a sustainable and properly regulated way.

…“My support for Keystone is steadfast,” he said while talking on a street near the Canadian Embassy.

…“There are lots of American jobs involved and there’s lots of opportunities for the United States as well,” he said. “There are many Americans who support Keystone as well, so I’m not particularly worried about it being an unbalanced deal. It’s just part of a longstanding working friendship between our two countries” [Meagan Fitzpatrick, “Justin Trudeau Shares ‘Steadfast’ Keystone XL Support in D.C.,” CBC News, 2013.10.25].

While Trudeau thinks running a pipeline through the American Plains is great for both countries, he opposes hosting the same environmental risk on his own turf:

Trudeau said that a Liberal government would formalize a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic through B.C.’s northern coast to protect sensitive areas from the impacts of a spill.

That effectively rules out the Northern Gateway pipeline, a project meant to deliver Alberta oilsands crude to the B.C. coast, where it would be loaded on board tankers.

“Anyone who has been to the Great Bear rainforest knows that that’s not a place for a crude oil pipeline,” Trudeau said, referring to the sensitive ecological areas along the northern B.C. coast [Bruce Campion-Smith, “Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau Talks Pipeline Politics,” Toronto Star, 2015.09.10].

A sure way to torque me off is to tell me that British Columbia is in any way more important than South Dakota. Tar sands oil isn’t any better for bluestem grass, buffalo, or the Ogallala Aquifer than it is for big trees and bears.

The Liberal victory in Canada last night is not the same cause for hope against Keystone XL that the New Democratic Party ascent in Alberta last May was (and even Alberta’s NDP PM Rachel Notley is waffling a little in her opposition to TransCanada’s tar sands pipeline). We’ll just have to hope that the collapse of oil prices and vigorous opposition from landowners in Nebraska and elsewhere can stop the black snake.


7 Responses to Canada Choisit Trudeau-Deux, Ami de Keystone XL

  1. larry kurtz

    Of course, British Columbia is far more important than South Dakota but the Earth trumps BC over all other living things.

    KXL will never be built.

  2. What larry said.
    Trudeau, unlike Harper, has a relationship with First Nations in Canada, respects them and campaigned on their issues. The strongest opposition to the KXL pipeline in Canada is from the First Nations and their lawsuits in progress. Trudeau has also demonstrated an ability to listen to people, and to learn and to change his mind based on new information. With winning a majority, not coalition, government as his goal many felt he “had” to “support” KXL and TPP, even while laying the framework for a more progressive policy by calling for environmental controls and carbon taxes for KXL and more information for TPP. HRC changed her support and I doubt too many peoplewould be surprised if Trudeau changes his.

    Harper made Trump-style anti-Muslim, anti-immigration policy a major campaign issue (fighting the Supreme Court on a decision that (both) the Muslim women who wanted to wear a niqab while taking an oath of citizenship could). But the Harper policy resonated in Quebec, where NDP strength was based and hurt their candidate, who had been in a close three-way race with the Conservatives and Liberals. Harper’s conservative support stayed at 30%. The rest of the country wanted to get rid of him. And they didn’t want to give him another term by splitting their vote between the two other parties like they did the last election. Ten years of a seriously Harper government, elected by a minority of voters, was enough for even the most peripherally interested voter. The strength of the anti-Harper sentiment was stunning and led many NDP voters to strategically change their votes to Liberal once it started to become obvious that Trudeau, with his “A Canadian is a Canadian” support of immigrants was pulling ahead while Mulcair was faltering.

    And Harper’s campaign events with Rob Ford in Toronto in the last few days of the campaign while targeting scare ads about the prostitution and marijuana Trudeau would legalize in their ethnic neighborhoods was a beautiful demonstration of his desperation and ultimate defeat.

  3. Roger Elgersma

    The best way to transport oil is through a pipe. Rockefeller got rich putting in pipes to get away from the high rates the railroads were charging him.
    The worst way to transport tar is through a pipe. ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’, still has some value. That is also why it does not work well to campaign with a druggie.
    Canadian oil companies started by taking the tar out and then sending the oil through a pipe. But they did not like the lakes of tar that resulted. They need to find a market for the tar and then find an efficient way to transport it.

  4. Harper campaign with Rob Ford?! Whose bright idea was that?

    Barbara, I hope you’re right about those quote marks around “support” and that Trudeau follows Hillary Clinton in changing his public position.

  5. mike from iowa

    Wonder if he has his mum’s penchant for bright lights,parties and drugs?

  6. For Cory, http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/10/24/trudeau-takes-more-inclusive-approach-than-harper-to-climate-change-summit_n_8376088.html (headline winner of the understatement of the year award.)

    “The Paris summit is aimed at negotiating post 2020 targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, following the last major summit that resulted in 2009’s Copenhagen Accord. May said the draft text of an agreement is weak and, if Canada is to prod the conference to agree to something stronger, it will have to set a national target for emission reductions.

    During the election campaign, Trudeau steered clear of setting a target, arguing that setting targets that are never met is pointless. He promised instead to work with premiers to develop a national “framework to combat climate change,” supporting the different measures provinces have already taken to put a price on carbon.

    At a post-election news conference Tuesday, Trudeau said he’d already begun talking to premiers with the aim of establishing “a strong position” for the Paris summit “so that people know that Canada’s years of being a less-than-enthusiastic actor on the climate change file are behind us.”

  7. That’s encouraging, Barbara! Even if he doesn’t go hard against Keystone XL, that willingness to focus on carbon emissions could do a lot of good. Why aren’t all nations kicking the non-renewable-fuel habit?