Trudeau Plays The Long Game

I have made it abundantly clear in past writings that I consider Justin Trudeau to be not only a friend, but a man I admire. So it came as a shock to some when I wrote my last two political articles detailing his political missteps over the past session of Parliament. “Is the bromance over?” I was asked. “Jamais!” I responded.

You don’t spend fourteen days at sea with a guy exploring the Arctic with  students and not make a lifetime bond. But considering someone to be a friend doesn’t mean that you agree with him all the time. He would have no hesitation in advising me to slow down before I “Ready. Fire, Aim!” and I have no problem in advising him to try his  best to avoid a repeat of the three K’s – Khan, Khalistan, and Kinder.

To be fair, none of these events was of his doing. A senior staffer should have caught the Khan vacation and taken it to the Ethics Commissioner before the trip, and similarly with the Khalistan connection on his recent trip to India. However, the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline is a lot more com[plicated.

  It is easy for those of us in the environmentally pure peanut gallery to cast aspersions about bitumen as we drive our SUVs to the shopping mall. People who drive fossil fuel powered vehicles shouldn’t throw tarbits. If a scientific approval process and full community participation are overseen by an environmentally literate Energy Board, all is well. We will still need pipelines into the foreseeable future, at least until Elon Musk straightens out the Tesla 3 production problems.

Until then, Canada, we have a problem, and that problem is the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. Without Alberta, that initiative could collapse. and Alberta is still a fossil fuel economy. Until Albertans can get their hands out of the oilsands and reach for the sun and the wind, we’re all stuck in the tar.

Justin Trudeau is waking along the edge of a sword with environmental purists like me on one side and corporate shareholders from Kinder Morgan on the other, each screaming for satisfaction. If you cancel the pipeline, you’re damned, if you approve the pipeline you’re damned. Trudeau is taking all of the heat right now for keeping his eye on the long game, trying to hold together The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change for the good of all Canadians well into the future.

With Saskatchewan and Manitoba resistant, and B.C. and Alberta locked in mortal combat, our Prime Minister is in a very difficult spot. Perhaps we should all just backoff a little and give him room to negotiate. A new and improved National Energy Board is a good place to start. Certainly, build us the best, most secure, most efficient pipeline you can, complete with a banked insurance coverage for any unforeseen disasters. And continue on that transition into clean renewable energy, Alberta. We stopped burning whale oil when we saw the consequences, and we can surely see the consequences of accelerating climate change unfolding.

Let’s all give those we have elected to run this country a little more understanding and some breathing room to do their jobs. My dad used to say that until you have walked a trail in someone else’s shoes, you cannot understand their journey. I have no idea what the pressures of being a Prime Minister must be like, but I can imagine. And I can’t imagine anyone else who I would rather lead the way into the next decade. Carry on Prime Minister, carry on!

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