Thursday, May 23, 2013

Justin Gives West/East Pipeline Yellow Light

After the B.C. election there was some speculation that Adrian Dix's sudden thumbs-down to the Trans Mountain Pipeline after a year or so of fence-sitting cost him votes.  I think that's wrong, but since the B.C. polls all turned out to crap, they can't tell us anything one way or another and we are therefore free to speculate as we please.  My opinion, FWIW, is based on the behavior of the B.C. Liberal campaign, which toughened its own anti-pipeline rhetoric in the last week of the race with Christy Clark's "we don't need Alberta, we don't need Canada" speech. In other words, the BC Libs worked to narrow the distance between the Liberal and NDP positions, not increase it.

Nevertheless some people seem to feel that a softer line on Alberta pipelines has become the politically expedient move.  Thankfully, Justin Trudeau is not among them:

The federal Liberal leader told the CBC’s Information Morning Fredericton on Thursday he has specific questions about potential toxins that may be used in the pipeline.

“I think it is a proposal that is extremely interesting. We are waiting to look at how they are going to deal with both the community, local, aboriginal concerns and the environmental concerns,” Trudeau said.

“The [substance] that they put to make that thick crude, thick bitumen run through those pipes can be very toxic. I want to see the plan for being environmentally responsible on it because it won’t go ahead if it will cost us on pollution, in degradation and in inefficiencies in the coming years.”

Now Trudeau is hardly going so far as to suggest that he will kill the proposal when he becomes PM (and its starting to look like he may).  He might simply be commenting on the general lay of the political landscape. Moreover, I think the line nine reversal will ultimately fail due to market disinterest rather than political machinations.  But its good to see that Justin is not simply abandoning the field to the pro-oil-patch forces on environmental issues.  He's showing a little bit of sand on the topic, and that's a good thing.


Robert McClelland said...

Trudeau is playing catch up to Mulcair.

marie said...

IT appears he already has.Most of us remember Jack Layton selling his soul to Harper to gain a few votes. Mulcair is doing the exact thing. I am guessing he is very afraid of losing most of his Quebec MP's leaving him in the dust and in 2015 going back to last place where he deserves to be.

Steve Bloom said...

But this didn't sound very soft. Is it that he's pro-pipeline except when it comes to potential environmental impacts on Canadian population centers?

Robert McClelland said...

Most of us remember Jack Layton selling his soul to Harper to gain a few votes.

Liberals have learned nothing in 7 years.

bigcitylib said...

Steve, I think the Keystone Xl is the easiest pipeline to support for a Canuck politician because it isn't really up to us and, you're right, makes most of the line a U.S. problem. So it is opportunistic on JTs part, but also a fairly easy call. Supporting a line that crosses provincial boundaries is a lot tougher.