Sure, the US’ environment might be going to hell in a handbag, but we here in Canada need to make sure we don’t let that train wreck distract us from our own country. It might feel real good to live in a country where your leader understands that climate change exists, and believes in science, but that doesn’t mean that we should just stop scrutinizing his actions. So while everyone is talking about Trump’s inability to properly run a country and protect its environment, today I want to check in with how Trudeau is doing.
Let’s start with pipelines. In his platform, other than rejecting the Northern Gateway, pipelines were pretty much not there. Instead, he said that the pipeline review process would be overhauled. He said that Indigenous people would be consulted and that the review process by the National Energy Board would include more environmental reviews. For the Northern Gateway pipeline, that promise has been upheld, as the Canadian government rejected its proposal. In terms of revamping the review processes, specifically for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline, that promise has been broken. The Kinder Morgan Pipeline, along with Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline, have both been approved without a new, more robust, review process. This is unacceptable, and something we as citizens of Canada can’t forget, or ignore. The review process NEEDS to be overhauled. Plus, with Trump’s hard on for the Keystone XL Pipeline, we have to remain adamant that we, as Canadians, do not want this pipeline approved either.
Now, carbon and fossil fuels. As I’m sure everyone knows, a carbon tax has been proposed by Trudeau and his government, to an extremely mixed reaction. Will it affect the average person the most, will it affect companies more, will it lower the burning of fossil fuels, was it created in a vacuum and imposed on Canadians without much discussion in the House of Commons? At the end of the day, I’d like to think of this as a good thing, that will force corporations and companies in Canada to take a closer look at how they use energy. Whether it actually will is something we need to keep a close eye on. What’s definitely not a good thing is breaking the platform promise to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. In the new federal budget, the Liberals broke a campaign promise stating that they would phase out fossil fuel subsidies, instead keeping them in, possibly until 2025. We’re all up in arms as Trump does essentially the same thing, but where’s the outcry against Trudeau?
Finally, I want to talk about water, and his campaign promises as a whole. Where we should be happiest is with what the Canadian government has done for water under Trudeau. Majorly, they’ve restored $1.5 million in annual federal funding for freshwater research, and restored $40 million in funding for federal ocean science and monitoring programs- both of which were platform promises. Less exciting is that no progress has been made towards protecting 5% of Canada’s marine and coastal areas by 2017- time is running out! To a larger degree though, Trudeau has been pretty good at sticking to his overall environmental platform. The two broken promises mentioned above are the only two that he’s broken in terms of his environmental platform promises. This doesn’t mean we should just blindly be happy with him as a whole though, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and a lot of opportunities for more promises to be broken. A good tool for checking in on Trudeau would be the Trudeau Meter website. As Canadians it is our responsibility to hold our leaders to their promises, and to not get distracted by the flaming garbage heap that is the United States- and especially their environment- under Trump.