Today should have been a good day for Justin Trudeau, he announced (again) that the Federal Cabinet has declared the TMX Pipeline to be in the national interest and that it has a green light to proceed (assuming it meets the conditions laid out by the National Energy Board’s second ruling that it was A-OK.)
Having spent $4.5 billion of taxpayer’s money to purchase the TMX Pipeline nearly simultaneous to the Federal Court of Appeals delaying construction due to inadequate Indigenous consultation and environmental assessments, Trudeau and Co. were sent back to the drawing board to hit reset.
Having restarted consultations with 117 Indigenous Nations, of which Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi personally took part in over 60, and with the National Energy Board having given 150 conditions for approval, Trudeau now feels he has the mandate to try and thread the needle of being in a climate crisis (as his majority Parliament endorsed just yesterday), while approving a new transborder pipeline.
The reaction was swift, with the federal Conservatives (predictably) not even waiting until the announcement to say it was bad. Scheer boldly declared that he wouldn’t be excited til Trudeau showed him the pipe.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was a bit more sedate in his reaction, saying while it was positive and he was hopeful that construction would start this summer, construction wouldn’t really help Albertans get back to work nor address the oil differential. It was an unusually demure performance from the new Premier.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan repeated his vehement opposition to the pipeline. We all know that’s more driven by the Green Party’s electoral gun to his head than any sort of real integral issue with the pipeline.
The federal NDP, Conservatives, Green Party, and former members of his cabinet spoke out in opposition to today’s announcement. The Alberta Government did anything but celebrate.
With no chance of an electoral reward in Alberta, let it be known I truly believe Trudeau is doing what is in the best interest of Alberta and Canada.
If I were him (and I had speculated he would), I would have made the approval contingent on the Alberta Government maintaining the emissions cap and dropping their opposition to the federal carbon tax, in addition to Indigenous involvement and offer of equity stake, participation in environmental monitoring, spill response plans, and the commitment to earmark all proceeds from the project towards funding clean tech and an energy transition strategy.
This would give him the ability to say he’s supporting Alberta’s ambitions while defending his climate credentials to the rest of Canada. It would also put Jason Kenney in the awkward position of having to truly demonstrate that he cares for both as well.
The problem Trudeau has is that he is attempting to navigate the narrowest of treacherous passages. So narrow, his Bill C48 should probably apply to it.
In trying to please everyone, Trudeau has truly pleased no one.