So, two things caught my eye the other day:
- First, TVA Nouvelles reported that “l’écologiste Steven Guilbeault serait nommé à la tête du Patrimoine canadien” (roughly: environmentalist (anti-pipeline activist) Steven Guilbeault will be appointed Minister of Canadian Heritage) which did happen; and
- Second, Kelowna Capital News reported that “Two First Nations in B.C.’s Interior that had been part of a court challenge against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion have reversed course and signed deals with the Crown corporation … [and] … The Upper Nicola Band and Stk’emlupsemc te Secwepemc dropped out of the Federal Court of Appeal litigation, leaving four B.C. First Nations to fight the case.” The odds are stacked against the anti-pipeline people. Trans Mountain notes that 43 First Nations have joined their team while only four are opposed ~ even judges who are inclined to do whatever it takes to ensure that First Nations‘ interests are protected will wonder about that 10:1 ratio.
I expected both bits of news. I think that Prime Minister Trudeau has to appease the more extreme wings of the climate-change believers ~ those who are embarked on something akin to the 13th-century children’s crusade ~ and M Guilbeault is one of their heroes. Appointing him to the cabinet, even to a third-tier post like Canadian Heritage is one way to do it. It will play well, politically, across Québec and in urban centres in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver, too. Second, as I have discussed, a couple of times, many (most?) First Nations are not opposed to pipelines, they just want a full and fair share of the profits that might come from a pipeline traversing the lands to which they lay claim.
What Justin Trudeau needs to do is simple:
- First, treat First Nations fairly ~ sell them a major share, maybe even 51% of the Trans Mountain pipeline, at a
fairfiresale price and then use every legal and political tool available to push the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) project through; and
- At the same time, persuade the green voters, including the extremists that he is doing all he really can to keep Alberta’s oil landlocked if not actually locked in the ground.
The tasks are simple, even Justin Trudeau can grasp them, but totally contradictory ~ but that’s why he has smart people like Kate Purchase, Katie Telford and Gerald Butts in his inner circle: they have to square the pipeline circle for him. It’s not impossible, I suspect, but it will require a Janus like response, looking both forward, towards a prosperous future for First Nations and Western Canada ~ big parts of New Canada in the late Professor Michael Bliss’ terms ~ and, simultaneously, backwards at the anti-pipeline children’s crusaders who are especially strong in Québec ~ the very heart of Professor Bliss’ Old Canada. My guess is that Team Trudeau will want to do it backwards: lie to the First Nations and Western Canada and appease Québec, the greenies and the Laurentian Elites, but the only correct answer is to serve the best interests of the West and the First Nations, which are, in fact, Canada’s best interests, and then lie to Steven Guilbeault, Greta Thunberg and so on.