As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
flees Canada heads off on another foreign trip which, we, Canadians, must all hope, will be less contentious than China and India, the media is seized with a different issue: the struggle between Alberta and BC and BC and the federal government over Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain Pipeline expansion.
In an opinion piece in the National Post, John Ivison quotes Yoda and says that “The consequence of failure [of Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to see the Trans Mountain project through] is the collapse of his entire economic and environmental framework, not to mention reputational damage from which he might never recover … [and] … That’s why I take at face value the contention by a number of Liberals that it is not a question of whether the pipeline will go ahead, but of how … [but] … nobody is placing bets on the mechanics of a resolution … [and] … The government did itself no favours by holding a two-hour emergency cabinet meeting Tuesday, after which ministers scurried off as if they were part of a witness protection program.“
Mr Ivison explores the options open to Alberta and BC ~ none good ~ and to the national government, which might involve using the “Emergencies Act, where the government could claim that a public order emergency threatens the ability of the government to preserve “the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity” of the country.“
John Ivison concludes that “However it plays out, the course of the Trans Mountain drama will determine whether Trudeau’s flagging reputation for fulfilling his promises is restored, or damaged beyond repair … [and, he says, and I agree] … For the country’s sake, may the Force be with him.“
In my opinion Justin Trudeau’s reputation was “damaged beyond repair” long before this brouhaha by a combination of broken promises, foolish personal and policy missteps and outright lies and insults (to veterans) but I really do hope that Team Trudeau, despite what I suspect are its own anti-pipeline sentiments, can screw up the courage to settle this.
This is a simple matter of leadership … the prime minister of Canada should be here, at home, this week, explaining, clearly, to all Canadians, why pipelines to take prairie oil to tidewater, on both coasts, are good for Canada, for all Canadians. He can and should send a team of ministers, headed by Foreign Minister Freeland, to Peru (our trade with the Mercosur nations matters but not as much as this domestic crisis does) and then make, himself, a very short trip to Paris, where he is required, and to London. It is unfair to criticize him for doing the nation’s business overseas, but it is not unfair to question his priorities. Going to Peru looks like he’s running away … and I believe that running away is what he is doing and he running because his team, Gerald Butts et al, cannot quite figure out how they are going to solve this problem without alienating a lot of people. But there are some good solutions out there, ideas that can be discussed, right now, today and tomorrow, ideas that might help solve a crisis. Leaders don’t run away; they face their foes and they do what’s necessary. It is often impossible to do hard things without making an enemy or two along the way; being universally adored is not the fate of real leaders.
It seems pretty clear that Premier Horgan knows he is riding a lame horse, and equally clear that Premier Notley is just shouting into the wind. The ball is in the national government’s court and it, not the provinces, must make decisions and take action … it must do something, it must lead, follow or get out of the way. As US Army General ‘Stormin Norman’ Schwarzkopf said, it doesn’t take a hero to order his team into battle, it takes a hero to go into battle himself … to “do,” as Yoda said, or to “not do.” Just trying, like just talking, and just giving orders isn’t good enough; Canada needs a leader … sadly it only has Justin Trudeau and he appears to want to run away rather than stand and fight and lead his team and his country.