August 4, 2022
According to the NASA space agency, global temperatures this June were the second hottest since records were first kept in 1880. Alongside the sweltering heat, the climate catastrophe has brought forest fires, droughts, and record floods – among other extreme weather events that threaten all of humanity and disproportionately target the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized people.
Massive oil and gas corporations, and the government’s that enable their destruction, are responsible for the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions and incalculable environmental ruin that has brought about the climate crisis. These same corporations – Exxon Mobile, Shell, and Chevron to name a few, have continued to bring in record profits despite their complicity in the destruction of the planet. Aviel Verbruggen, an energy economist at the University of Antwerp, recently analyzed that these corporations have been raking in an outrageous $2.8 billion USD per day in profits for the last 50 years at the expense of people and the planet.
While claiming to be a “climate champion,” the Liberal government of Canada has continued to line the pockets of these same oil and gas company executives with tax-payer money. According to Environmental Defence in 2020 the Liberal government handed out $18 billion in subsidies alone. In 2018, the Trudeau Liberal government also bought the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) project for $4.5 billion in tax-payer money.
Trans Mountain is now a Crown corporation, and costs for TMX have sky-rocketed more than 70% to at least $21.4 billion. In February 2022, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland stated that no more public money would be spent on TMX, but according to renowned economist Robyn Allen, this is a complete lie. As long as construction of TMX continues, people in Canada are on the hook for the interest on accumulating debt – which as of now is $700 million a year. In June 2022, the Liberal government passed further costs on to people in Canada, announcing $10 billion in loan guarantees, to try to attract private investment in the project.
If constructed, the TMX pipeline with triple the amount of dirty-tar sands bitumen (an especially toxic form of crude oil) travelling from Edmonton to the Westridge Terminal in Burnaby, B.C. daily. The destruction of vital ecosystems is already apparent, including the loss of vital salmon and bird habitat. Increased tanker traffic in the Vancouver harbour is also projected to cause severe harm to the already endangered Southern Resident orcas.
The Coastal GasLink (CGL) pipeline, a fracked-gas pipeline under construction in British Columbia also faces rapidly rising costs. Some of the cost over-runs have come from fines imposed on them for flagrant violations of environmental regulations. Although often referred to as “natural” gas – the fracked-gas that the CGL pipeline is supposed to deliver to the LNG Canada facility in Kitimat, BC is anything but natural. As reported by Sarah Cox in the Narwal, if completed, Phase 1 and 2 of the LNG Canada project, which has been subsidized by the BC NDP government, will emit the same amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as 1.7 million cars, yearly.
The CGL pipeline is also opposed by the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs whose land it crosses. Instead of upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, which was passed into law in BC in 2019, the B.C. government has worked hand-in-hand with the RCMP to attempt to force the pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory. Indigenous land defenders and their allies continue to face police brutality, unjust arrests and detention, harassment, and intimidation for their peaceful defense of the land.
Together we can confront the climate crisis and win!
The Trudeau Liberal government and B.C. government continue to give lip service to environmental concerns and Indigenous rights — while pressing ahead with massive resource extraction projects which completely disregard both. They don’t care about people and planet, and neither do the oil and gas companies that they subsidize.
It is time for poor, working and oppressed people in Canada to hold the government of Canada accountable for the destruction that they have brought upon Mother Earth and their trampling of Indigenous rights. Everyone who believes that a just and sustainable world is possible must unite in the struggle for climate justice – and come together to demand:
System Change, Not Climate Change!
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