Mr Gérard Montpetit, from La Présentation, compares Donald Trump and Jason Kenney to a child who pouts because he cannot have his way. Just like a naughty child, Mr Kenney wants his pipeline, even though it will cause catastrophic climate change.
The nightmare of every parent is to see their three year old make a scene in public. For our southern neighbours, the murderous assault on the Capitol on January 6th was the final traumatic event that the tantrums of the ‘Infant Donald’ inflicted on them because the ‘ spoiled brat ’ refused to recognize the results of the November 3 election. His bad temper and his sullen, contemptuous scowl are legendary.(1)
According to the fact checkers (2) of serious media, his lack of contact with reality has led him to tell, on average, about 20 ‘alternative facts’ (usually known as lies) per day. In the spring of 2020, he prophesied that the coronavirus would ‘go away!’ Only his fairy godmother could allow him to make such a declaration. But Covid-19 was real; the magic wand of the good fairy did not prevent the death of more than 450,000 Americans. Living in a world divorced from the reality of climate change led him to withdraw from the Paris Accord (3) and to eviscerate numerous environmental measures. The Guardian counted 75 measures adopted by the Trump administration that are detrimental to a sound environment.(4)
On the 20th of January, the inauguration of Mr Biden signaled a departure from the unhealthy imaginary world of his predecessor. Among his first official acts, the new President has decreed the re-integration of the Paris Accord and has revoked the permission to built the Keystone XL Pipeline designed to bring tar sand petroleum to the southern United States. These two gestures have repercussions on Canadian politics. For Mr Kenney, premier of Alberta, and champion of the tar sands, this cancellation is a blow below the belt. (5)
For his part, Mr Trudeau regrets this decision while at the same time giving lip service to the principles of the Paris Accord. According to him, ‘...Canada has, in the intervening few years, become a global leader on the fight against climate change and is moving forward on transforming our economy in positive ways to reduce carbon emissions...’ (6) Great words, but we must not forget that the purpose of the construction of all pipelines, is to permit the production and sale of more and more petroleum products. So, could Mr Trudeau please explain how the construction of Keystone XL and Trans Mountain would help us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) as required by the Paris Accord? How can the growth in the production of petroleum be an appropriate response to the exhortations of the experts of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) who affirm that 80% of fossil fuel should remain in the ground if we wish to avoid the catastrophic effects of a climate that is becoming completely out of control.?
For his part, Mr Kenney is still sulking. In addition to his ‘war room’ whose objective it is to vilify all those who oppose the tar sands, he has invested 1.5 billion dollars of Alberta’s taxpayers money in Keystone XL, on the bet that Trump would be re-elected. He ignored the reality of the CO2 emissions of the tar sands; according to the analysis of Rystad Energy they would produce 73kg of CO2 per barrel while other sources of petroleum would only produce between 12 and 19 kg/barrel. In addition, he ignores the scenario of the marked reduction in the demand for oil following the worldwide fight against climate change. According to Andrew Nikiforuk of The Tyee, he has ‘… showed no respect for reality, let alone his province’s main market. He violated the precautionary principle, insulted Americans and exercised the poorest of political judgments….. ’ (7)
Since heavy crude such as WCS (Western Canadian Select) is an expensive energy to produce while being of poor quality, Mr Peter Lougheed, former premier of Alberta, anticipated the price volatility of this product on international markets by imposing high royalties plus the creation of the ‘Heritage Savings Trust Fund’. This was a good insurance policy. By dismissing these wise ‘safety nets ‘, the successors of Mr Lougheed have imprisoned Alberta in a 19th century mono-industrial economy! (7)
During the 2019 electoral campaign, Mr Trudeau promised ‘ a just transition ’ so that the workers in the oil sector might be financially supported and thus become key players in a new green economy. Today, he must make a decision : should he go ahead with the fight against climate change; or should he desperately try to appease the poutings of Mr Kenney (and the oil lobby) by wasting public funds to support an oil industry in its death throes. Let’s try to imagine what a just transition could do with all the billions that Mr Trudeau is preparing to spend on TransMountain, without forgetting the waltz of billions that Alberta and the federal government inject annually in this industry. (8)
February 3, 2021
1] The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary. 1960: For the definition of ‘to pout’ see p.561 « To thrust out the lips, as in sullenness, contempt, or displeasure; hence to look sullen….’ »