Justin Trudeau’s depressing perspective on the oil sands


in Canada, Economics, Politics, Rants, The environment

Now running for the leadership of the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau said something especially depressing today:

“There’s not a country in the world that would find 170 billion barrels of oil under the ground and leave them there. There is not a province in this country that would find 170 billion barrels of oil and leave it in the ground.”

Days after Thomas Mulcair expressed support for an east-west oil sands pipeline, Trudeau’s comments demonstrate how virtually the entire spectrum of Canadian political opinion favours imposing dangerous and potentially catastrophic climate change on future generations, because today’s politicians cannot bear to forego the short-term profits associated with oil sands extraction. At a time when climate science is making it increasingly clear that we are putting humanity’s very existence at risk, our politicians lack the courage or the imagination to propose much other than the status quo: banking fossil fuel profits while ignoring the long-term consequences of our choices.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

. October 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm
mek October 4, 2012 at 1:22 am

This is good news…. for the Green party.

Milan October 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

In a first-past-the-post system, the Greens will never be able to do much beyond alter the content of the debate.

We really need the major federal parties to start taking climate change seriously.

alena October 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

That is too bad; I was hoping that Trudeau as a new face in politics would make a paradigm shift regarding the environment.

anon October 5, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Canadians won’t accept the possibility that the oil sands bounty cannot be monetized. No matter how environmentally harmful it will be to extract, Canadians will do it anyway.

Milan October 17, 2012 at 10:22 pm

This is also super depressing: Raw Video: Obama and Romney square off on energy

Both candidates are desperate to stress how strongly they favour unlimited fossil fuel production.

Romney: “The right course for America is to have a true all-of-the-above policy. I don’t think anyone really believes that you’re a person who’s going to be pushing for oil, and gas, and coal… I will fight for all coal and natural gas.”

No mention of climate. We can only hope they are both telling the kind of lies they believe to tell in order to win the election.

. October 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm
Jessica Faries December 26, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Oh yes there is! We would just leave it! Only because money isn’t our God! Justin you are just another money hungry lying politician! Remember the name!

. February 16, 2014 at 7:28 pm

In the interview, Mr. Trudeau chastised the Conservatives for failing to persuade the Americans to approve the Keystone XL pipeline or to reassure British Columbians about the prospect of shipping bitumen through the province on its way to Asia. While Mr. Trudeau opposes the Northern Gateway project in B.C., he is “open” to the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, as long as Ottawa improves its approval process.

“These are key drivers of economic growth, but right now the Conservative government’s approach has not been to reassure people that trade is good for us and to reach out and build those relationships,” Mr. Trudeau said. “Mr. Harper has demonstrated that he is not very good at working with anyone who doesn’t share his ideology. That is limiting the kind of growth that Canadians can have.”


. May 6, 2016 at 6:27 pm

NDP lost the left to Justin Trudeau before rejecting Tom Mulcair – Politics – CBC News

Polling by the Innovative Research Group conducted at the end of March suggests core constituencies of the New Democrats have abandoned the party in droves, swinging over to the Liberals in massive numbers.

Innovative’s polling divides the electorate into a group of voting segments, three of which are of particular importance to the NDP. These are what Innovative calls the “core left,” “left liberals” and the “populist left.”

The core left is the largest segment for the New Democrats, and believes that government spending should be based on public need and not affordability, that the main role of government is to redistribute wealth and that the environment should be favoured over the economy.

Left liberals also feel that public need and the environment should be paramount, but that the government’s role is to create equal opportunity.

The populist left believes in the importance of redistribution and public need, but prefers government policy to be based on common sense rather than expert opinion, is more split on whether to value the environment over the economy, and is more likely than other Canadians on the left to want the government to stay out of the way of business.

Altogether, Innovative estimates that these three segments represent 30 per cent of Canadian voters.

In July 2015, when the NDP was leading in the polls nationwide, the party dominated these groups. It had 60 per cent support among the core left, 46 per cent support among the populist left, and 43 per cent among left liberals. The New Democrats were beating the Liberals among all of these segments, with the widest lead being among the core left. The Liberals had just 29 per cent support in this group.

The NDP lost all three of these segments to the Liberals during the campaign.

And the Liberals have deepened their lead among these groups in the months since. They lead the NDP by 24 points among the populist left and by 42 points among left liberals. The Liberals have the support of 64 per cent of the core left, against only 23 per cent for the New Democrats.

A recent poll by Abacus Data also hints at trouble for the New Democrats on the left flank. The Liberals were leading the NDP by a margin of 51 to 26 per cent among centre-left voters in the Abacus survey, and were also ahead among those who self-identified as being on the left by 47 to 23 per cent.

Might the adoption of the Leap Manifesto be the first step towards seducing this portion of the electorate back to the NDP?

But the Innovative poll also suggested that Mulcair was already losing the party’s left flank. At the height of his party’s popularity, his net favourability rating among the core left was +75, and +47 among the populist left. By the end of March, days before the leadership vote, that had fallen to +34 among the core left and to just +9 among the populist left.

By comparison, Justin Trudeau’s numbers ballooned to +47 from +13 among the populist left and to +77 from +25 among the core left.

Mulcair’s numbers held up better among left liberals, dropping from +33 to +24. With his positioning more among this group of the NDP, that might have been the only constituency he still had on his side on the convention floor on Sunday.

When Trudeau and Mulcair were pitted against each other on who voters prefer as prime minister, the NDP leader had also lost a lot of ground. He was beating Trudeau by 43 points among the core left last July. In March, he was being beaten by 55 points, with 70 per cent of this core NDP constituency preferring Trudeau. Left liberals preferred Trudeau by a margin of 74 to 9 per cent.

This is what may pose the biggest problem for the New Democrats going forward, as left-wing Canadians, and not just those more towards the centre-left, have been wooed by Trudeau’s Liberal government — though not necessarily for the long term. The good news for the NDP is that a majority of voters within these segments would still consider voting for the party.

But the New Democrats losing the last election and trailing badly in the polls today is not only the result of a failed bid to move to the centre — the shift under Mulcair’s leadership might have cost the NDP much of the left as well. That might explain why the party’s membership rejected him. The next leader will have to win over the party, but can he or she get Canada’s left back too?

. April 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm

Last month, speaking at a Houston petroleum industry gathering, he got a standing ovation from the oilmen for saying: “No country would find 173bn barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there.”

Yes, 173bn barrels is indeed the estimate for recoverable oil in the tar sands. So let’s do some math. If Canada digs up that oil and sells it to people to burn, it will produce, according to the math whizzes at Oil Change International, 30% of the carbon necessary to take us past the 1.5C target that Canada helped set in Paris.

That is to say, Canada, which represents one half of 1% of the planet’s population, is claiming the right to sell the oil that will use up a third of the earth’s remaining carbon budget. Trump is a creep and a danger and unpleasant to look at, but at least he’s not a stunning hypocrite.

This having-your-cake-and-burning-it-too is central to Canada’s self-image/energy policy. McKenna, confronted by the veteran Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki, said tartly: “We have an incredible climate change plan that includes putting a price on carbon pollution, also investing in clean innovation. But we also know we need to get our natural resources to market and we’re doing both.” Right.

But doing the second negates the first – in fact, it completely overwhelms it. If Canada is busy shipping carbon all over the world, it wouldn’t matter all that much if every Tim Hortons stopped selling doughnuts and started peddling solar panels instead.

. October 6, 2017 at 6:20 pm
. July 18, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Weber’s stern realism was not merely academic. He was contemptuous of Eisner, whom he numbered among the “literati”, and considered an exemplar of the type of leader guided solely by a determination to stay true to his principles, whatever the consequences. This “ethic of conviction”, Weber argued, was the hallmark of saints, pacifists and purist revolutionaries who could blame the world, the stupidity of others or God himself for the impact of their deeds, as long as they had done the right thing. He contrasted that with an “ethic of responsibility”, which demanded that politicians own the results of their actions, making moral compromises to achieve those results if necessary. Evil things can flow from good deeds, Weber knew, just as much as the other way round.

For Weber, the true political leader—one for whom politics is a vocation—is characterised by three qualities: passion, a feeling of responsibility and a sense of proportion. The leader has a cause; he or she is not a “parvenu-like braggart with power”, whose baseless policies lead nowhere. On the contrary, those marked out for political leadership have ethical backbones and an inner sense of purpose. But these are combined with sober judgment and a deep sense of responsibility. Together these qualities produce politicians who can place their “hand on the wheel of history”. It is “genuinely human and profoundly moving” when (like Martin Luther) such leaders say: “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Modern readers may wistfully agree.

. December 4, 2020 at 4:40 am

Denmark has brought an immediate end to new oil and gas exploration in the Danish North Sea as part of a plan to phase out fossil fuel extraction by 2050.

On Thursday night the Danish government voted in favour of the plans to cancel the country’s next North Sea oil and gas licensing round, 80 years after it first began exploring its hydrocarbon reserves.


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