Liberals have failed to deal meaningfully with climate change for 20 years and actually increased emissions

27 posts / 0 new
Last post
Liberals have failed to deal meaningfully with climate change for 20 years and actually increased emissions

Since the Liberals signed the Kyoto Accord in 1997, although they have continued to put forward a climate change agenda, they have failed over more than 20 years utterly to meet their own climate change targets or even come close. This was true under the Chretien and Martin Liberals and remains true today with the Trudeau Liberal government and their greenhouse emission reduction targets and the Paris Agreement. 

Canada was active in the negotiations that led to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, and the Liberal government that signed the accord in 1997 also ratified it in parliament in 2002.[2] Canada's Kyoto target was a 6% total reduction by 2012 compared to 1990 levels of 461 Megatonnes (Mt) (Government of Canada (GC) 1994). However, in spite of some efforts, federal indecision led to increases in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) since then.[citation needed] Between the base year (1990) and 2008 Canada's GHG increased by around 24.1%.

For those who argue that this the Conservatives fault, the data below shows that the Liberals clearly failed to have their actions match their words on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 1997 through the terms of the Chretien and Martin governments.

Canada is "one of the highest per-capita emitters in the OECD and has higher energy intensity, adjusted for purchasing power parity, than any IEA country, largely the result of its size, climate (i.e. energy demands), and resource-based economy. Conversely, the Canadian power sector is one of OECD's lowest emitting generation portfolios, producing over three-quarters of its electricity from renewable energy sources and nuclear energy combined." Canada GHG emissions increased from 1997 through 2001, dipped in 2002, increased again, then decreased in 2005. During the periods the Liberals were in power from 1997 to 2005 (they were defeated in January 2006 so it is not fair to look at the brief time they were in office that year) emissions increased on an almost continuous basis. Emissions actually declined somewhat for a couple of years under the Conservatives, but that was primarily due to the recession reducing economic activity rather than any climate action on their part. 

  • 1990 (461 Mt) (GC 1994)
  • 1997 (671 Mt megatonne)
  • 1998 (677 Mt)
  • 2000 (716 Mt)
  • 2001 (709 Mt)
  • 2002 (715 Mt)
  • 2003 (738 Mt)
  • 2004 (742 Mt)
  • 2005 (747 Mt) 33% higher than the Kyoto target
  • 2006 (719 Mt)
  • 2007 (748 Mt)
  • 2008 (732 Mt)
  • 2009 (690 Mt)



Issues Pages: 

Even when Trudeau reached the Paris Agreement in December 2015, it was clear they could not meet the targets it had signed onto. Even when all he was doing was adopting the Harper Conservative goverment's targets, as the following article illustrates. However, it all sounded good and made it look like the Trudeau Liberals were dealing meaningfully with climate change. 

Now that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has adopted former prime minister Stephen Harper’s targets for reducing greenhouse (GHG) gas emissions linked to climate change, here’s why he’s not going to achieve them.

It’s called math. Earlier this year, the federal government estimated Canada’s total industrial GHG emissions will be 768 megatonnes annually in 2020 (a megatonne, or Mt, is a million tonnes) and 815 Mt annually in 2030. In order to achieve the Trudeau/Harper target of 17% below Canada’s 2005 emissions by 2020 and 30% by 2030, our emissions would have to drop to 622 Mt annually by 2020 and to 524 Mt by 2030.

Therefore, to meet Trudeau’s 2020 target, his Liberal government has less than five years to reduce Canada’s forecast emissions by 146 Mt (768 Mt-622 Mt) annually. It (or any future federal government) has less than 15 years to reduce Canada’s forecast emissions by 291 Mt annually by 2030, (815 Mt-524 Mt).

For Trudeau to reduce Canada’s emissions by 146 Mt in less than five years would require the equivalent of shutting down Canada’s entire electricity sector, which emits 78.2 Mt of GHG annually, along with most of the agriculture sector, which emits 72.9 Mt of GHG annually. For Trudeau to reduce Canada’s emissions by 291 Mt by 2030 would require the equivalent of shutting down the entire oil and gas sector, which emits 192.3 Mt of GHG annually, along with more than half of the transportation sector, which emits 171.3 Mt of GHG emissions annually.

If you believe any of this is going to happen, I have some oceanfront property in Alberta to sell you.



Once again the Liberals kept repeating that they were "absolutely committed" to their 2020 targets. When the auditor general told them they cannot meet their 2020 targets, their answer is they are "absolutely committed" to their 2030 targets. Considering the fact that emissions are continuing to rise even before their Trans Mountain pipeline that they did not have to buy comes online to further increase emissions, these reassurances are laughable. 

Despite years of lofty promises from government officials, a recent Auditors General report shows that Canada has made little progress towards its climate action goals. This follows a United Nations (UN) report that says Canada is in danger of missing its 2030 Paris Agreement targets by a wide margin. ...

Canada’s auditor generals came together in 2016 to begin a collaborative investigation into our country’s progress on climate change action, looking back over recent decades and projecting ahead towards international climate goals. 

Their report, Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada—A Collaborative Report from Auditors General, was released in March 2018 and the results are concerning. 

The report details a lack of cohesion and implementation of climate action both within the provinces and territories and at the federal level, which has led to a series of missed climate action targets. Several provinces and territories still don’t have any set goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020, or even 2030. 

States the report: “Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.”


The annual UN Emissions Gap Report monitors the progress countries are making in reducing their carbon and equivalent emissions in relation to their respective 2030 targets, as agreed upon in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement on climate change, signed onto by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016, is to reduce annual emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. 

Released last November, the report states that Canada is well above its pledged target and that gap is expected to widen even further by 2030. ...

In response to the auditors general report, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told the CBC the federal government is “absolutely committed” to its 2030 target.


While the NDP needs to answer some serious questions about their climate change plan, the track record of failure on climate change for the Liberals for more than twenty years was once again brought home by the Environment Commissioner Gelfand's report just last month. As Gelfand notes, the failure to meet targets has been common to both Liberal and Conservative governments.

Why would anyone believe anything the Liberals or Conservatives say on global warming given their track record? 

Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says Canada is not doing enough to combat climate change.

Gelfand delivered her final audits Tuesday before her five-year term expires, looking at fossil-fuel subsidies, invasive aquatic species and mining pollution.

But her final conclusions as the country's environmental watchdog say it is Canada's slow action to deal with the warming planet that is most "disturbing" to her.

"For decades, successive federal governments have failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and the government is not ready to adapt to a changing climate," she said in a statement Tuesday morning. "This must change."

Gelfand's rebuke came a day after Environment Canada scientists sounded an alarm that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate. ...

Gelfand said neither Liberal nor Conservative governments have hit their own targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target, despite policies like the national price on carbon that took effect this week. ...

Gelfand's audit says the Liberals are not keeping a promise to get rid of "inefficient" fossil-fuel subsidies, which are undermining efforts to combat climate change, encouraging wasteful consumption of fossil fuels and discouraging investments in cleaner energy sources.

Canada has pledged to eliminate inefficient subsidies by 2025 as part of both the G20 and G7 economic groups of nations, and the Liberals also campaigned on a promise to get rid of them. Gelfand concludes that both Finance Canada and Environment Canada have defined "inefficient" so broadly they can't decide what subsidies fall into that category.

Finance Canada's work on the subsidies focused exclusively on fiscal and economic considerations without giving any attention to the social and environmental issues at play. For its part, Environment and Climate Change Canada only looked at 23 out of more than 200 federal organizations when it compiled an inventory of potential subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry, Gelfand found. ...

Philip Gass, a senior energy researcher for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said Tuesday using the World Trade Organization definition of subsidies, his organization found several that could or should be phased out. The IISD list shows more than $1.2 billion in fossil-fuel subsidies from the federal government.




In 2017, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions went up once again under the Trudeau Liberals. A november 2018 report notes that Canada is the world's largest per capita greenhouse gas emitter in the G20. What a Liberal greenhouse gas emissions reductions plan!

The Trudeau Liberals saw greenhouse emissions go in 2017 under their watch. "The latest national inventory report on emissions, filed this week with the United Nations climate change secretariat, showed 716 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were produced in Canada in 2017, an increase of eight million tonnes from 2016.

Canadians produce more greenhouse gas emissions per person than any other G20 economy, according to a new analysis.

Canada is the 38th country in the world by population, boasts the 11th largest economy and is the seventh biggest emitter.

The Climate Transparency analysis said, on average, each Canadian produces 22 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year — which is the highest among all G20 members and nearly three times the G20 average of eight tonnes per person.

“It’s because of the oilsands and because of transportation,” said Abreu. “Oil and gas and transportation are the two largest and fastest growing sources of emissions in the country.”


The Liberals have also increased the greenhouse emission exemptions for Canada's largest emitters, thereby shifting more of the financial costs of dealing with reducing emissions onto middle and working class Canadians. 

Most firms that produce 50 megatons of carbon dioxide or similar levels of pollution a year won’t face any penalties until their emissions reach 80 per cent of the average within their specific industry. The previous limit was 70 per cent, according to a framework published July 27 by Canada’s environment ministry.

The limit will rise to 90 per cent in four industries facing “high” competitive risks — producers of cement, iron and steel, lime and nitrogen fertilizers. Details of the revised policy were reported earlier Wednesday by the Globe and Mail newspaper.


The Trudeau Liberal government in giving the exemptions to the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Canada have once again subsidized the fossil fuel industry, something that has continued on an ongoing basis under both Liberal and Conservative governments. As the following article shows, the Liberals' carbon tax will only go a very small way toward reducing emissions. 

Furthermore, tar sands production under current plans is set to almost double by 2038, as noted below!

So why is a carbon tax one of the cornerstones of the Trudeau government’s plan? Some believe it’s because Liberals have no desire to force the powerful oil and gas sector to clean up its act. In fact, by supporting the construction of pipelines like Trans Mountain and Keystone, tar sands production in Alberta is set to almost double by 2038. 

At the moment, Canada is producing 722 megatons of carbon dioxide  per year – of which 26 per cent (190 megatons) comes from Canada’s oil and gas sector. In order to reach the Paris climate target of 517 megatons by 2030, Canada must cut more than 200 megatons over the next 12 years. The proposed carbon tax will cut only 60 megatons

Yet the Liberal government is imposing weak emission restrictions on the oil and gas industry, while projecting the sector will grow. Instead, the plan is almost entirely on the backs of consumers, says Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Ottawa-based Climate Action Network. She says “It’s absolutely unfair the rest of the economy, and therefore Canadians, are expected to compensate for the lack of action happening in the oil sands.”

But the coddling of the oil and gas sector is not only undermining Canada’s efforts to meets its Paris obligations. It’s also bad economics given the growth in renewables. The energy sector accounts for less than seven per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP), of which the tar sands accounts for no more than two to three per cent. As Green Party leader Elizabeth May notes, “roughly the same size as tourism.” 

Today, 190,000 people are employed by the oil and gas sector. And something like 60,000 to 65,000 of those work directly in upstream oil and gas extraction, according to Jordan Brennan, an economist with Unifor, a trade union that represents some 12,000 workers in the oil industry.  By comparison, the financial services sector, which also accounts for seven per cent of GDP, employs some 800,000 people. 

Unifor has lobbied against the building of new pipelines on the grounds they ship raw, unprocessed bitumen to be refined outside of Canada – in Asia or the U.S. – costing jobs here. Far more jobs are created in refining than in extraction, yet 23 refineries have been shuttered in Canada since the early 1980s.  “We are shipping bitumen down pipelines but shipping thousands of jobs with it,” says Steven Shrybman, an Ottawa lawyer who’s represented Unifor before the National Energy Board. 

And then there’s the myth that the tar sands have developed due to free market forces. In reality, they’re a creation of massive government intervention.  Even though Alberta is the third-largest deposit of oil in the world, separating oil from tar is prohibitively expensive, and Alberta is landlocked. 

When Peter Lougheed became premier in 1971, there was only one tar sands operation producing a mere 30,000 barrels a day.  But as a 2017 report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives notes, Lougheed’s Alberta government, “used all the power and money it had at its disposal in the 1970s to kick-start tar sands development” – which meant subsidies, tax breaks and gutting environmental regulations to let companies off the hook when it came to paying for ecological damage. Today the industry continues to receive $3.3 billion annually in taxpayer-funded subsidies. 

Another myth is that the energy sector fills government coffers.  In fact, it generates modest tax revenue, comparatively speaking. Back in the 1990s, royalties paid by the oil companies to Alberta were chopped to one per cent and remain low compared to other countries.


And this is why the carbon tax is doomed to failure


The title of the following article says it all when it comes to determing how effective the Trudeau Liberal's climate change policies have been : "Canada on pace to meet climate change targets ... two centuries late"

The following graph illustrates how Conservative and Liberal governments have increased greenhouse gas emissions over 30 years, while others such as the UK have decreased emissions by 38% in the same period. 

Image result for barry saxifrage

UK v Canada emissions past and projected




Canada under the Trudeau Liberals continues to tax the fossil fuel companies at much lower rates than the vast majority of other countries, even autocratic corrupt states. This means that that tax money is not available for social programs or for converting Canada from fossil fuels to green renewable energy, leading Canada to be called a tax haven for oil companies by one expert. At the same time, the fossil fuel industry has been lobbying for even more tax breaks, which is exactly what they got when the Trudeau Liberals uped the exemption on greenhouse gas from 70% to 90%.

Canada taxes its oil and gas companies at a fraction of the rate they are taxed abroad, including by countries ranked among the world’s most corrupt, according to an analysis of public data by the Guardian. 

The low rate that oil companies pay in Canada represents billions of dollars in potential revenue lost, which an industry expert who looked at the data says is a worrying sign that the country may be “a kind of tax haven for our own companies.”

The countries where oil companies paid higher rates of taxes, royalties and fees per barrel in 2016 include Nigeria, Indonesia, Ivory Coast and the UK. ...

Companies like Chevron Canada paid almost three times as much to Nigeria and almost seven times as much to Indonesia as it did to Canadian, provincial and municipal governments.

Chevron used to run its Nigeria and Indonesia projects out of the U.S., but after allegations that they evaded billions in taxes, their operations were moved to Canada.

According to data collected by the Guardian, Suncor also paid six times more taxes to the UK, and Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) paid almost four times more to Ivory Coast. ...

Even with the low rates, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has been lobbying the federal government for more tax breaks to improve their “competitiveness.”

The Guardian used a new extractive sector database launched in June, 2017, after a law passed by Stephen Harper required oil, gas, and mining companies in Canada to disclose for the first time payments they make to governments around the world. The Guardian compared payments figures for 2016 to oil production levels. ...

According to resource governance expert and UBC geography professor Philippe Le Billon, neoliberal policies in Canada and across OECD countries have resulted in lower taxes and royalties for companies.

“Companies in Canada will point to the jobs they are creating rather than acknowledge they could be sharing more of their profits, which mostly goes to shareholders who are not even in the country,” he said. “In key jurisdictions like Alberta, this has come about after decades of rule by Conservatives who are very cozy with oil interests. The numbers reveal a poor tradeoff: high emissions for not much revenue. It’s long-past time for Canada to follow a model like Norway’s, which captures far more revenue from oil production.” ...

Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government and the provinces also continue to give $3.3 billion in yearly subsidies to fossil fuel producers in the country, despite having pledged to phase them out.



A group of young Quebecois are taking the Trudeau federal Liberal government to court in an attempt to launch a class-action lawsuit for its failure to effectively fight global warming. 

Image result for Picture   In Montreal and around the world, students have been staging weekly protests demanding action on the climate crisis. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)In Montreal and around the world, students have been staging weekly protests demanding action on the climate crisis. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Lawyers representing a Quebec environmental group are in court today trying to convince a judge to allow a class-action lawsuit against the federal government for its failure to combat climate change.

The class action would be on behalf of all Quebecers aged 35 or younger, whom lawyers argue are being deprived of a right to a healthy environment and will suffer the effects of global warming more than older generations. Lawyers for a well-known Montreal law firm that specializes in class actions argued on behalf of the group Environnement Jeunesse that the Canadian government is violating the fundamental rights of an entire generation.

Zy St-Pierre-Bourdelais, a CEGEP student who's part of the group, was in court for the hearing. "Climate change is going to be a big part of our collective future. We're living a lot of doubts, and we don't know how it's gonna be, so it's really stressful," St-Pierre-Bourdelais told CBC News. "I'm here for the future generations, and also my children."

The group's lawyers argued inaction on climate change violates young people's charter rights to to life, security and equality. ...

The group is seeking $100 from the Canadian government for each Quebecer in that age bracket — with a catch. Because doling out an award estimated at $340 million would be complicated and expensive, the action suggests the money be spent on measures to curb climate change. 

The goal of the suit is also to obtain a statement that the government has adopted greenhouse gas reduction targets that are dangerous, because they do not go far enough, and that it has failed take necessary steps to limit global warming to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.


What do you mean the Liberals aren't fighting global warming? Look what our Prime Minister has to say about combating the use of plastic water bottles.

Man's a genius if you ask me. Shakespeare level oratory skills right there.




Rachel Aiello, CTV News:

BREAKING: The House of Commons has just passed a motion declaring that Canada is experiencing a climate change emergency. It passed with support from the Liberals, NDP, Greens, and Bloc. Conservatives and Bernier voted against.


Low hanging fruit.


The Liberals declare a climate emergency yesterday and then announce the tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen to the coast bringing about a massive expansion of the fossil fuel production. Trudeau won the understatement of the year award today when he said "Not everyone will agree with this".  

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna called climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity,” requiring the government to make deep emissions reductions to meet its Paris commitments. The Liberals have failed previously failed to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals of 1992, 1997, and 2005.

In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (

Eugene Kung, lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, and lead on the First Nations case against the pipeline commented on Trudeau's announcement that profits from the pipeline would be used to promote green energy: "That’s like saying we need to keep selling cigarettes to have money to fight cancer". Former Liberal Environment minister point out "There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen". (

By the way "there are no refineries in Asia that can currently handle Canadian bitumen, which needs to be processed first into synthetic crude." ( So the line that we will be able to sell it for higher prices in Asia is a myth. 

The Liberal solution: declare a national climate emergency and immediately announce more pipeline and fossil fuel production. Does anybody see a pattern here?





jerrym wrote:

The Liberal solution: declare a national climate emergency and immediately announce more pipeline and fossil fuel production. Does anybody see a pattern here?

Much like signing on to UNDRIP and then building pipelines across unceded territories prior to receiving consent. Of course they do argue that the brother of one of the hereditary chiefs supports it so that is consent, right?


Trudeau & the Liberals will have to explain to progressive & green voters why they have chosen to approve the pipeline.  But they did commit to investing billions from the pipeline profits back into green energy projects.  That's probably not something we would see from the Conservatives.


It's also interesting that Trudeau has attracted Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault to run for the Liberals as a star candidate in Laurier-Sainte Marie.

Alec Castonguay reported today that Trudeau & Guilbeault will make an announcement in Laurier-Sainte Marie on Friday:

Steven Guilbeault se lance en politique aux côtés de Justin Trudeau

L’écologiste bien connu Steven Guilbeault annoncera vendredi matin qu’il brigue l’investiture libérale fédérale dans la circonscription de Laurier-Sainte-Marie, à Montréal.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Debater wrote:

Trudeau & the Liberals will have to explain to progressive & green voters why they have chosen to approve the pipeline.  But they did commit to investing billions from the pipeline profits back into green energy projects.  That's probably not something we would see from the Conservatives.

So, if anyone is wondering whether to vote Liberal in order to stop the even-worse Conservatives, the answer is YES. Thanks, Debater.


Debater wrote:

It's also interesting that Trudeau has attracted Quebec environmentalist Steven Guilbeault to run for the Liberals as a star candidate in Laurier-Sainte Marie.

Once again you are taking about image, not action. "Star" candidates do not mean one has effective policy or effective action on an issue. I prefer to go on a government's record, rather than its "stars" or its campaign rhetoric. In that regard the Liberals, like the Conservatives, have been failures when it comes to climate change over the last 25 years. In March 218, the auditor general commented: 

“Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.” (

Instead of working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 461 Mt as the Chretien Liberals agreed to do in the 1997 Kyoto Accord, greenhouse gas emissions had increased from 671 Mt during the year of the signing of the Kyoto Accord had risen to 747 Mt in 2005 under the Chretien and Martin governments. (

The terrible Liberal record on greenhouse gas emissions reductions continued under another 2015 "star" candidate, the currentEnvironment and Climate Change Minister, Catherine McKenna. First of all, the Liberals simply adopted Harper's greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, which they continually quote as those of the Paris Agreement, when the Paris Agreement says we need to keep the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees celsius, something scientists now agree will need to involve more than the 30% Conservative/Liberal proposed reduction goals by 2030. 

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target". (



Debater wrote:

Trudeau & the Liberals will have to explain to progressive & green voters why they have chosen to approve the pipeline.  But they did commit to investing billions from the pipeline profits back into green energy projects.  That's probably not something we would see from the Conservatives.

I have some swamp land, I mean nice scenic land overlooking a wetlands, I can sell you. How stupid are you to think that this project is going to turn a profit let alone return billions of dollars. After that spin I must say, GO to Directly To Jail Do Not Pass GO.


Scheer has called actions on climate change hypocrisy. Unfortunately, he's right. However, his climate change plan is another act of hypocrisy  Trudeau's  declaration of a national climate change emergency followed by the announcement of the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline the following day just compounds the hypocrisy. As noted above, there was no way Trudeau's 2030 targets were going to be met, and of course that is also the case with Scheer's plan. 

Scheer’s 60-page plan released Wednesday, which does not include a carbon tax, says the greenhouse gas reduction targets agreed to by Trudeau under the Paris climate accord in 2015, “are Conservative targets and our plan will give Canada the best chance at reaching them.”

Scheer has to say that because Trudeau’s targets used to be Stephen Harper’s targets and Scheer previously said he supports the Paris accord.

But in the real world Scheer’s plan, containing 50 initiatives, has as much chance of hitting the Paris targets as Trudeau’s, meaning somewhere between slim and none and slim just left town.

This as evidenced by the fact Scheer’s plan contains no timeline or deadlines for actually achieving the Paris target of reducing our emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

That means Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will spend the election denouncing Scheer for not having a plan to meet the Paris targets.

Of course, they will ignore the fact the federal environment commissioner, nine of 10 provincial auditors general, the United Nations, the federal government’s own studies and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, say the same thing about Trudeau’s plan.

After McKenna called climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity,” requiring the government to make deep emissions reductions to meet its Paris commitments and Trudeau declared a national climate emergency, the Liberals announced on the following day the building of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which cost $4.5 billion to buy and has already had its estimated construction costs rise 20% to $9.3 billion instead of being used to convert to renewable energy, which actually creates three times as many jobs on average per dollar invested. 

It was just six days ago that the Parliamentary Budget Office said that a doubling of the price on carbon or equivalent measures "will be needed if Canada is to meet its Paris Agreement targets for greenhouse-gas emissions." (

Eugene Kung, lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, and lead on the First Nations case against the pipeline commented on Trudeau's announcement that profits from the pipeline would be used to promote green energy: "That’s like saying we need to keep selling cigarettes to have money to fight cancer". Former Liberal Environment minister point out "There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen". (

Incidentally, "there are no refineries in Asia that can currently handle Canadian bitumen, which needs to be processed first into synthetic crude." (



The announcement of the Trans Mountain pipeline will generate more opposition both in the court and on the ground.

Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and a leader of the group Protect the Inlet said resistance to the pipeline will continue, starting with an impromptu demonstration in downtown Vancouver Tuesday evening.

“No matter who approves it, this pipeline will not be built,” he said. “People in British Columbia are the ones risking disaster from spills and we’re prepared to do whatever it takes to stop this pipeline.”

The executive director of the advocacy group Living Oceans, Karen Wristen, said the approval was a mistake for both the economy and the environment. “The facts are well known: it is impossible for Canada to meet its Paris climate commitments and build oil infrastructure with a 50-year lifespan as well.”

A Wilderness Committee statement said the expansion would increase carbon emissions from Alberta’s tar sands by 20 per cent. The group’s climate campaigner Peter McCartney asked, “How can Canada, as wildfires and floods rage all around us and our citizens are forced to flee their homes, choose to make the climate crisis worse?”

He predicted there will be new court challenges and further civil disobedience that could delay the project for years.



Another problem for the Trudeau Liberals is that despite their claims that they have put in place a "world class" spill response program, even the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation acknowledges "that even in ideal conditions in oceans around the world, only 10 to 15 per cent of spilled oil is likely to be recovered." Therefore, “The concept of world-class spill response is somewhat meaningless,” said Jay Ritchlin of the David Suzuki Foundation.

The 2015 oil spill in Vancouver Harbour, which was very small in comparison to what a large tanker spill would be, was a warning about what could happen and how poor the spill response measures were. 

Despite assurances from Canada's minister of transport that Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline is safe, environmentalists in B.C. fear the expansion is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. 

Christianne Wilhelmson, the executive director of the Georgia Strait Alliance, said that B.C.'s current spill responses is not effective even for the ships currently operating in the region. ...

When the cargo ship MV Marathassa spilled several thousand litres of bunker fuel into Vancouver's English Bay in April 2015, the emergency response was delayed for several hours due to troubles with communication. ...

In early November Trudeau unveiled a $1.5-billion ocean protection plan for responses to tanker and fuel spills in the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans.

Wilhelmson said the plan does not justify the risks associated with the expansion. "It is a needed investment for the threats that already exist. It does not in any way, shape or form justify 300 more tankers in the strait," she said.


The Trudeau Liberals have another credibility problem when it comes to addressing climate change. When the Liberal federal fisheries minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, says "he doesn’t know about the “gaps” B.C. keeps saying exist in Ottawa’s oil spill response plan, though the province insists it has been highlighting them for more than a year," it is hard to believe him. This is particularly so when BC Environment Minister George Heyman provides detailed descriptions of what the five problems that have been under negotiation for over a year actually are (described in the article below). 

B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman said he’s surprised Ottawa refuses to acknowledge B.C.’s concerns about marine response after almost two years of meetings among ministers, deputy minsters and provincial officials, as well concerns put into letters to federal departments.

“I honestly can’t explain why Minister Wilkinson would say they don’t know or are not clear,” said Heyman. “We were pretty clear in our written submissions.”

B.C. has identified five gaps. They include wanting a “transparent and comprehensive emergency towing strategy that has a clear requirement regarding response times to ensure that towing capacity is available,” said Heyman. “We think that should be completed and it hasn’t been and it’s not a condition of the recent decision.” The province also “needs some clarity on enhanced cost recovery provisions in the event of a spill” so that First Nations, local communities and the provincial government get “guaranteed fair and timely access to funds” and don’t have to wait for lengthy federal reimbursement procedures, said Heyman. He pointed to the Heiltsuk Nation’s frustrations getting compensation from Ottawa after helping to contain the Nathan E. Stewart diesel spill near Bella Bella in 2016. ...

Two other B.C. concerns were partly addressed by Ottawa as part of its approval announcement — support for co-developing community response plans to a spill in specific areas, and funding to train and purchase marine spill equipment for local communities and First Nations.

But Heyman said that doesn’t go far enough and B.C. wants specific geographic response plans instead of regional plans, and a long-term commitment to Ottawa’s equipment funding instead of the current five-year promise. B.C. also wants more transparent information from Ottawa on the types and volumes of substances being transported by rail, pipeline and marine vessels. ...

Jay Ritchlin of the David Suzuki Foundation said the foundation has modelled local winds, waves and currents and has concerns that a spill would drift up the Burrard Inlet into sensitive bird habitat, and into the Georgia Strait where orcas and the chinook on which they feed would be affected.

New federal rules introduced this month to protect southern resident killer whales off B.C.’s coast may not go far enough to protect that population, and an increase in tanker traffic will only increase their stress, Ritchlin said.

Meantime, he sees a number of potential threats: “The ongoing presence of additional ships, the noise they create, the possibility for hitting the whales and, of course, the very rare but incredibly catastrophic chance of an actual major spill.”

Chief Leah George-Wilson of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation is troubled by continuing scientific debate about the behaviour of diluted bitumen, or dilbit, when it is spilled in water.

A 2016 study funded by the federal government found that dilbit doesn’t sink as readily as conventional oil when spilled in fresh water. But a 2015 report by the U.S. National Academy of Science showed that dilbit tended to quickly sink after being spilled in fresh water. ...

Sarah Beuhler, a spokeswoman for Protect the Inlet, is also concerned about sinking dilbit.

“Regular crude oil — just light crude oil — (cleanup) has a 10 to 15 per cent success rate only,” she said. “That’s what they’re trumpeting as world class, and that’s not good enough for our coast.”

Beuhler said that beyond the environmental concerns a spill would bring, 100,000 tourism jobs and Vancouver’s brand as a green city depend on having clean beaches. She described the use of booms during cleanups as “theatre,” given their ineffectiveness in poor weather. “It dissipates, it sinks, it’s gone,” she said.


The Trudeau government's declaration of a climate change emergency within two days of approving the Trans Mountain Pipeline is a form of climate change denial in the sense that this denies the urgency of dealing with the problem. Global warming has resulted in all 20 of the warmest years on record occurring during the last 22 years with 2015- 2018 already the warmest four year ever and 2019 set to add to that record (; is raising alarm bells about a climate change induced global financial crisis of a similar magnitude to 2008 within the financial sector of the economy (; and in a United Nations July 1st report warns of the loss of 80 million jobs by 2030 and the death of 38,000 people a year due to global warming (

Meanwhile the Liberal carry on in the same manner as they have for 25 years, promising to introduce policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions greatly, while allowing them to grow and subsidizing the fossil fuel industry. 

The Trudeau government’s recent actions — declaring a climate emergency and re-approving the Trans Mountain expansion project within two days — aren’t just hypocritical: they’re morally equivalent to climate change denial. ...

The United Nation’s authority on climate change recently recommended“rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” to counter an imminent crisis, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent decisions have flagrantly ignored the UN’s counsel.

He’s bent over backwards to ensure the Trans Mountain pipeline’s expansion, propping up the project with extensive financial and rhetorical support. In the process, the Trudeau government has perpetuated the prerogatives of an industry that has funded climate change denying research and (knowingly) pollutes the planet. 

Make no mistake: Trudeau’s actions represent climate change denial “with a human face,” a darker version of Czech communist leader Alexander Dubček’s 1968 description of his ill-fated liberalization program as “socialism with a human face.”

Trudeau and the Liberal party affirm the reality of global warming in theory, but they effectively deny the phenomenon in practice by facilitating a harmful status quo and belittling the urgency of radical change. ...

This is how climate change denial will increasingly look in the future: a mixture of symbolic proclamation and strategically inadequate policy. 

With flooding, suffocating wildfires and abnormal temperatures across much of the country, the climate crisis isn’t just a theoretical concern for most Canadians. Global warming’s impacts are now apparent, a fact that’s reflected in a recent poll showing that over two-thirds of Canadians consider stopping climate change “a priority.” 

Given an increasingly green electorate, politicians like Trudeau or Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer risk their electoral viability if they deny climate change outright, or fail to deliver convincingly effective climate policies. But the energy sector is a powerful constituency, too. ...

Half measures such as the current carbon tax sustain the illusion that our governments are preventing global warming, and so placate those with tree-hugging tendencies. And unlike more ambitious proposals, a carbon tax does not fundamentally threaten corporations’ perceived right to destroy the environment for profit (which probably explains the carbon tax’s popularityamongst oil barons) and leaves the fossil fuel industry contented.

This is Trudeau’s environmental policy: strategic inadequacy. Nothing effective enough to actually stop climate change and offend Husky’s shareholders; nothing ineffective enough to anger worried voters.

As the UN report shows, tackling global change will involve a significant shift in our modes of production and consumption. Our prime minister is attempting to facilitate the comforting illusion that half-hearted carbon taxes, non-binding emergency declarations and wishful thinking will reduce global temperatures — but that’s not effective climate change policy.


The Trudeau Liberals have kept secret the $5 million in bonuses that its hand-picked board have designated for Trans Mountain execs in 2018. Another sign of the lack of transparency that has existed over the environmental reviews, purchase and construction of this pipeline, and, most important of all, the risks to the enviroment. 

Months before the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was approved a second time, the leadership of the new government-owned pipeline company approved $5 million in future bonuses for top executives and employees to keep them onboard.

At a 2018 board meeting a week before Christmas, while the fate of the Trans Mountain expansion project was still up in the air, the board of Trans Mountain Corporation unanimously approved a package of bonuses for its executives and non-executives as an incentive for them to remain with the company through 2021. ...

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh condemned the "hypocrisy" of paying bonuses to pipeline executives.

"This really shows who will profit from this project. Once again, the richest and the powerful will receive bonuses while the rest of Canadians will pay the price of (Justin) Trudeau's climate hypocrisy," Singh said in an emailed statement. "Not only will Canadians have to pay the price of the impact on the environment of this pipeline, but now they will be on the hook to pay for those bonuses." ...

The Trans Mountain expansion will triple existing pipeline capacity to carry almost 900,000 barrels per day of bitumen from Alberta to B.C.'s coast. It will increase tanker traffic off B.C.'s coast from five to 34 tankers a month. The pipeline will directly produce 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, which has been factored into Canada's and Alberta's oilsands emission caps.