Garnett Genuis, the Conservative MP for the Alberta riding of Sherwood Park-Fort Saskatchewan and the deputy (to Erin O’Toole) critic for foreign affairs, is featured in a brief (supplied by him?) opinion piece for the Sherwood Park-Strathcona County News (for which he wrote a column, off and on, since he was 15) in which he suggests that “On paper, the current government still says that they support the expansion of Trans Mountain … [but] … They have not been able to meet any of their targets for starting construction, despite now owning the existing pipeline … [and] … They have passed tough anti-pipeline legislation like C-69 and C-48. But they still profess support for the expansion … [that brings him to Steven Guilbeault, left, who is a well-known anti-pipeline and anti-oilsands activist, and who is going to be the Liberal candidate in the Montreal riding of Laurier-Sainte-Marie, and, he says] … Guilbeault has not had a change of heart on energy issues. He wants to get into government to advance his agenda. He has decided, apparently, that running as a Liberal is the most effective way to oppose pipeline progress … [Mr Genuis adds] … Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apparently has no problem with this … [because] … When asked about it, he said; “Canadians have a broad range of views on a lot of different issues and one of the important things for us is to make sure that we’re listening to the voices of Canadians, to the preoccupations of Canadians” .. [but, he says] … That seems to me, though, to miss the point. Of course, government should listen to different perspectives and should hear arguments made by other parties and by all Canadians. But listening to someone is one thing, and endorsing them for Parliament to sit as part of your party is something very different. No party would endorse a candidate who disagrees with them on foundational issues.“
He goes on to show how being a Liberal MP means toeing the party line fully 98% of the time ~ I don’t know how often or how many CPC MPs voted against their own government in 2006-2015 but I know some MPs did on some “free vote” issues. One can argue that Stephen Harper allowed those “free votes” (which cannot bring a government down) because he needed to pacify his social conservative wing and, therefore, one should concede that Justin Trudeau allows some of his anti-pipeline and anti-Alberta oilsands MPs and candidates to express themselves, too, for a similar reason. Despite the views of some of his MPs and of some Conservatives, Prime Minister Harper never came close to e.g. reopening the abortion issue or disallowing gay marriage so we should assume that Justin Trudeau will keep his promises about building a pipeline to Burnaby despite the views of some of his MPs, shouldn’t we?
Garnett Genuis concludes that “People are, of course, entitled to their own opinions on these issues. But the failures to move forward with new pipeline infrastructure should come as no surprise when the most vocal opponents of progress continue to be recruited into the heart of the Liberal government.“
According to a recent (late May 2019) report in the Calgary Herald, “Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer renewed his vow to establish clear guidelines for project approval and restore investor confidence as he outlined his energy vision for Canada during a visit to Calgary on Saturday … [saying that] … If elected in a federal election expected this fall, the leader of the Opposition said his party’s first order of business would be to cancel the carbon tax and subsequently repeal Bill C-69, end the B.C. shipping ban, establish clear timelines for regulatory approvals to ensure investor confidence, eliminate foreign interference in the approvals process and, finally, invoke federal jurisdiction when necessary.” Given that, I suspect that most Canadians can see and believe that there is a real choice between Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals when it comes to pipelines. I guess Mr Scheer doesn’t need to reemphasize that choice. But I wish he would … I wish he would go father and promise to undo Justin Trudeau’s sabotage which forced the Energy East pipeline to be cancelled. I hope he will renew the promise of a coast-to-coast energy corridor. I also wish that Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives will get behind the notion of First Nations ownership of some major energy and transportation projects that infringe upon their land-use rights. Giving First Nations ownership and control of some of these projects is no different, fiscally, than giving First Nations cash. In fact, First Nations would be more accountable in most respects (stock market rules, etc) than many are now.
I want a coherent Conservative economic-environmental policy that works for Canada and, by exporting clean, ethical Canadian petroleum and nuclear technology, that works for the world, too, by reducing the global carbon footprint. I assert that Canadians can be free and fair traders and major energy exporters and good environmentalists all at the same time. I think Andrew Scheer is on the right track, but I want the CPC to go farther: to protect marine life and habitat on all three coasts and in Canada great rivers and lakes by, inter alia, reducing inbound (from the Middle East) tanker traffic and helping to build infrastructure aimed at stopping the dumping of raw sewage from e.g Victoria, BC to St John’s, NL, and in several Quebec municipalities.
My guess is that Justin Trudeau’s Liberals continue to favour an incoherent, focus-group-created environmental plan that favours one region over the others and does little to help Canada or the world. But, that’s precisely why Steven Guilbeault is a Liberal candidate. Birds of a feather, and all that. And that’s why the good people of Laurier-Sainte-Marie should vote for Lise des Greniers, and why all Canadian should vote for men and women like her all across Canada, in October. National polices ought to be in the national interest, they ought not to divide Canadians.