Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's April 24 Earth Day statement reached incredible new levels of dishonesty:
“People around the globe are already facing the devastating effects of climate change. And from the IPCC report last fall to the recent Canada’s Changing Climate report, the outlook is clear: only with ambitious, concerted action can we safeguard the environment we all depend on, for our generation and the next. Today, we come together as a world to fight for our future.”
It looks like his media staff copied and pasted an announcement from one of the hundreds of rallies protesting the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Expansion Project, and then tried to pass it off as Trudeau's own words. The only issue is that they are still trying to build the pipeline, even when the reports they refer to prove they absolutely should not. Trudeau and the Liberal government have become experts in absurd political plagiarism – ripping of slogans like “climate justice” and “fight for our future” directly from the actual climate justice movement and using them to try and neutralize it or sell it as their own.
Another type of deception comes from United Conservative Party (UCP) new Premier-elect of Alberta, Jason Kenney. He promises Alberta workers he can threaten the Trans Mountain Expansion into existence – and that siding with big oil companies looking to make short term profits with no regard for the long-term prospects is in their interests.
A statement issued by the Union of BC Indian Chiefs (for complete statement see page …) sheds some light on the real cost benefits analysis at play:
“The pipeline is not as profitable as some people want you to believe. Last November Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters that “since the acquisition, the Trans Mountain entities have earned $70 million” if you annualize that figure the pipeline should make around $200 million a year. However, that figure is before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) and once you include interest payments, based on figures disclosed by Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV), which total around $240 million a year, you will quickly see that the existing pipeline is not a profit maker.
Construction costs have increased by 72% before they have even gotten a shovel in the ground and are likely to still go up. The original cost estimate in Kinder Morgan’s application was $5.4 billion. In 2015, the cost increased to $6.8 billion; in 2017 it increased to $7.4 billion, and in 2018 it was $9.3 billion. An independent analysis estimates the total cost at around $15 billion.”
Wouldn't that money just be better spent guaranteeing livable wages and retraining workers for jobs that are longterm, sustainable and don't involve wrecking the planet? Fifteen billion dollars could do this many times over.
Kenney has promised to spend $30 million to build a “fully staffed rapid response war room” to support the oil and gas industry against what he refers to as the“Green Left”. It's a convenient bogey-man, but all the pro-oil internet campaigns in the world don't change the science or the economics facing the Tar Sands right now. They also won't stop the growing wildfires, rising floods, or other extreme weather events which further jeopardize life and can be directly linked to an increasingly imbalanced climate.
The urgency more people feel was on full display during the Extinction Rebellion protests in London this month. In an April 26 article in the Globe and Mail, Zoe Cormier summarized a whirlwind week of protest which gained huge international attention, “It started on a busy Monday morning in April. Around 11 a.m., a pink boat emblazoned with TELL THE TRUTH was dragged into the middle of Oxford Circus – the busiest shopping district in all of Europe. It was swiftly followed by dozens of activists who glued themselves to the vessel and thousands more who swarmed around them, bringing the busy intersection to a grinding halt. It ended a week later with more than 1,000 people arrested in one of the biggest public demonstrations in British history.
Their demand? That the government take real action on climate change by 'declaring a climate and ecological emergency.'
A year in the making, the Extinction Rebellion protest set out to bring several of the British capital’s most important traffic hubs – Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Waterloo Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square and Canary Wharf – to a standstill. If a law-abiding march on clearly demarcated routes doesn’t get the government’s attention, then perhaps bringing transport to a grinding halt in the city’s most commercially crucial areas will.”
"I don't go to many marches, this isn't really normal for me, but this one is the most important thing that anyone could ever do," a woman carrying an infant told CBS News as she marched past Buckingham Palace.
1000 people willing to be arrested in one week with thousands more supporting multiple protest camps is no small feat and is a huge indication of the level of importance people are starting to feel about the climate crisis.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi also just announced the Trudeau government “isn’t satisfied” with its court-ordered consultations with First Nations on the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, and is pushing back its deadline from May 18 to June 18. This is after Sohi had also recently publicly stated that the government was “on track” to finish the controversial consultation – which has mostly been closed-door meetings with handpicked “representatives”.
Like everything else they do, it's just a show. The Liberal government has already repeatedly said they are committed to building the pipeline, and displayed that commitment by spending billions of dollars. Is a 30-day delay really going to change the rotten process and make the rubber stamp consultations more legitimate?
Kenney and Trudeau are two sides of the same coin. Both would be more than happy to build the pipeline regardless of the consequences. However, Kenney's $30 million and threats or even Trudeau's $4.5 billion and empty promises are becoming increasingly irrelevant and absurd to the many people who are seeing the climate crisis unfold real-time - many in their own lives. The original constructions plan had Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline being completed by the end of 2019. They are years behind schedule because of persistent organizing, where Indigenous, poor and working people have stepped up to defend their lives and the planet. We need to scale this up both in the size of the actions, but also the political understanding of the movement. So we can fight against specific projects while also understanding that they are symptoms of the rotten capitalist system which prioritizes corporate profits over the needs of people and the planet. So we can keep our demands clear and not be sidetracked or intimidated. So we can build a better, more just, and sustainable world.
No Trans Mountain Pipeline – Not Now, Not Ever!
Build Our Future – Not a Pipeline!
System Change Not Climate Change!
Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59
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