Friday, February 09, 2018

The Beat Goes On

Canadians are polarized between the economy and the environment. Justin Trudeau says we can have both. And, to that end, Catherine McKenna has introduced a new set of rules which she says will put the economy and the environment in harmony. Tim Harper writes:

In unveiling a new environmental regulatory process McKenna was dealing with one of the defining dilemmas of this Liberal mandate, the crowded intersection between jobs, investment, climate change and Indigenous rights.

That's a Gordian Knot to be sure. And untangling that knot will always involve politics:

Elected politicians have to make hard decisions based on the national interest, the minister said, and streamlining and simplifying the regulatory process and explaining decisions simply and promptly to Canadians will not purge the process of politics.

The most prominent example of  that fact is the Kinder-Morgan pipeline:

It was approved under the discredited process under Stephen Harper that McKenna would dismantle with her legislation, not given the full review Trudeau had promised during a campaign stop in British Columbia in 2015.
It would have been approved under the new regulations she announced Thursday, and she echoed the prime minister in stating bluntly that the Kinder Morgan expansion would go ahead.
While accusing Harper of favouring politics over science in gutting environmental regulations, McKenna went on to explain the political considerations in the Kinder Morgan approval.
Without Notley’s initiatives in Alberta there would be no national climate plan, McKenna said, and in that context the Liberals gave the go-ahead to the Kinder Morgan expansion Notley so desperately wanted.
In other words, the political equation meant that the Liberals needed a supportive NDP government in Alberta more than the seats it may lose in B.C.’s Lower Mainland in 2019.
The Kinder Morgan expansion may have been in the national interest, but it was also in the Liberals’ interest, particularly with a nemesis, Kenney, ready to challenge Notley at the polls next year.

Kenney is waiting in the wings. And Ontario's PC's are planning to ditch the carbon tax that Kathleen Wynne's Liberals -- and the former PC leader Patrick Brown -- supported.

The beat goes on.

Image: Green Lifestyle Magazine


Toby said...

When Trudeau and McKenna try to promote the Tar Sands and the environment, when they try to insist that the pipeline will go through whether BC likes it or not, whether first nations like it or not, when they push their trade deals, somehow I wind up feeling that BC is not part of Canada.

The Mound of Sound said...

And, besides, it's win-win for Notley and Trudeau. After all, British Columbia gets to carry the risk and loss of their dealing.

Let's wait and see how social unrest unfolds among British Columbians and our First Nations. Trudeau may have to jail hundreds, perhaps thousands of life-long law abiding British Columbians, many of them grey-hairs.

Grievance, especially when it's well founded, can be a powerful and volatile thing. It rarely happens overnight but it can build. Once it reaches a critical mass it can be unstoppable.

Owen Gray said...

My hunch, Toby, is that the voters of B.C. are going to tell Justin to take a hike. You can hear the air coming out of his balloon.

Owen Gray said...

I can't see British Columbians taking this laying down, Mound.

opit said...

I see no advantage in a pipeline carrying tar to market at less than cost. That is without even looking at ridiculous environmental despoilation including ruining water supplies to indigenous tribes. Native kids have been publishing stories about the incidence of cancer being so high that one parent or grandparent families are the norm.
Another fun factoid was the ignoring of hazards to navigation in the Inside Passage and of the storms which almost literally expose the seabed, a fine method of destroying tanker hulls in a tidal basin.

Owen Gray said...

Those who bring up the hazards connected to the pipeline aren't alarmists, opit. They are simply projecting past experience into the future.

opit said...

Owen, I see no way you would think my comment decries caution over an ill-conceived plan. Yes, I do believe we ignore pipelining infrastructure - not just as the historical best option compared to overland transport - at peril of worse results from rail transport, for instance ; but as instituting chronic shortfall to requirements of stable infrastructure. Not all costs and programs are acceptable. Trans Mountain has a long way to go to sell itself as a necessary and prudent option. Tar sands in general are just not smart initiatives compared to the alternatives.

Owen Gray said...

I agree particularly with your final sentence, opit. It's hard for Albertans to accept, but the days of tar sands oil are over -- just as the days of mining asbestos in Quebec are over. I used to teach near Asbestos, Quebec. It was the home of the largest open pit mine in the world, and it used to be a booming place. That is no longer the case -- and it is one of the reasons we no longer live in the Eastern Townships -- which we loved.