What does Justin Trudeau really think about Alberta and the oilsands and the people who work there?
The real answer is he probably doesn’t think a lot about it — or any other policy area. Trudeau is more about looking dreamy. He leaves the grown-up stuff, like policy, to someone else. In this case, to Gerald Butts, his “principal adviser.”
Butts has quite a lot to say about the oilsands. For years, he was the boss of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, an environmentalist lobby group that took hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign interests to campaign against the oilsands. Never against OPEC oil; only against Canadian oil.
When he was at the WWF, Butts compared government oilsands defenders to tobacco executives. Here’s the first few lines of a column he wrote for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper: “Keep smoking, kids. We need the tax revenue. Trust us, we will cure cancer by the time you get it. So goes our national political leaders’ myopic view of the tar sands.”
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In 2012, Butts was asked about the Northern Gateway Pipeline. His answer was blunt: “Truth be told, we don’t think there ought to be a carbon-based energy industry by the middle of this century… The real alternative is not an alternative route, it’s an alternative economy.”
Canada is the second-largest country in the world, one of the coldest countries in the world. But Butts believes we should simply stop using oil or gas, and rely on expensive, experimental green technology to heat our homes and move around. It’s bizarre, it’s deeply unserious.
Yet is clearly animates Trudeau’s approach to the oilsands. Trudeau visited Calgary against last week and he outlined his plan for a carbon tax. He said we have to do it, because the oilsands have shamed our country internationally.
“You get a lot of people around the world who are worried about climate change who are looking for something that they can point to or something to do. And the lack of environmental responsibility on the world stage by Canada has led to people being able to point to our oilsands and make them, entirely unfairly, the poster child for climate change.”
You stupid, greedy Albertans. You have shamed us internationally. You have brought this carbon tax upon yourself.
“If we want to restore our international reputation, something we need to create jobs and spur investment, we must take action and we must do it now …And that starts with a mature and honest conversation about carbon pricing.”
It’s not true, of course. Canada is actually the most reputable country in the world, according to an international survey of 27,000 people done by the Reputation Institute.
And our carbon emissions – which have decreased under Stephen Harper’s government – just aren’t something other people care about. The liberal Pew Research Centre did a poll just last month asking Americans about their priorities. “Climate change” ranked 22nd out of 23 possible choices. No one cares. Global warming doesn’t even register in polls of Third World countries – that’s a made-up problem for rich white folks. Like Trudeau.
Trudeau says he’ll bring in a law requiring provinces to “price” carbon – that’s code for taxing it. When Sun News Network asked him three times if he would penalize a province that doesn’t go along with it, he refused to answer, three times.
But when you’re trying to end Canada’s international shame, and eliminate an entire carbon economy, what’s a little Alberta-baiting?