Justin Trudeau is caught between a pipeline and a hard place. Tim Harper writes:
For Trudeau, a major hit to his self-styled progressive climate change policy looms.
In essence, a prime minister who wants to be known as environmentally aware is touting an unpopular pipeline project as a means to combat climate change.
He has accused an NDP premier in B.C., who has formed a coalition with Green leader Andrew Weaver, of trying to “scuttle” a national climate change plan by blocking an increase in tanker traffic.
Trudeau has always tried to thread the needle on the balance between the economy and greenhouse gas targets, but it is getting more difficult.
Trudeau has said that he needed Rachel Notley on side to make his climate change policy work:
“In order to get the national climate change plan — to get Alberta to be part of it, and we need Alberta to be part of it — we agreed to twin an existing pipeline in order to get to work,” he said.
“It was always a question of, if we could move forward responsibly on the Kinder Morgan pipeline, then Alberta would be able to be as ambitious as we needed Alberta to be and get on with the national climate change plan... they were linked to each other.”
Politically, this is accurate. Without Notley in Alberta, Trudeau risks having his national climate plan unravel, and, at least, he will be fighting with Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and possibly Ontario as he imposes carbon pricing on resistant premiers.
But a shorthand rallying cry of “Save the planet, expand a pipeline,’’ is a difficult sell.
And that's just the point. Trudeau's charm makes him a good salesman. But what he is selling is a flawed policy.
Image: The National Post