Justin Trudeau’s grand bargain with Big Oil exposed

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Justin Trudeau’s grand bargain with Big Oil exposed

Justin's not quite the chip off the ole block!


 Justin Trudeau’s grand bargain with Big Oil exposed in Donald Gutstein's The Big Stall


  • Donald Gutstein's <em>The Big Stall</em> shows how Canadian CEOs and their political allies have staved off serious action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Retired SFU communications professor Donald Gutstein is an old hand when it comes to dissecting the activities of neoliberal think tanks.


His last two books—Harperism: How Stephen Harper and His Think Tank Colleagues Have Transformed Canada and Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy—made a convincing case that there needs to be far more scrutiny of the funding of the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute and other organizations like it on both sides of the border.

So it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that he has zeroed in on these public-policy hawkers in his new book, The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks Are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada.

But in an interview in the Tangent Café on Commercial Drive, Gutstein conceded that when he began researching this topic two years ago, he had no idea of the extent to which they’ve influenced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s policies in the wake of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

“I didn’t know too much about the subject when I started,” Gut­stein told the Straight over a bowl of soup. “Through the research and reading good stuff, gradually it all kind of emerged.”

The book opens with an examination of the National Energy Program, which was introduced by Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, after the Liberals were returned to power in 1980.

The NEP’s made-in-Canada oil-pricing formula was vehemently opposed by the Business Council on National Issues, which had been founded by resource-company CEOs in 1976 in response to a decision by Trudeau senior to introduce wage and price controls.