Last fall at the end of several processes, the decision about whether or not to approve certain new pipeline infrastructure projects that would expand the tar sands, increase tanker traffic on Canada’s west coast, and triple the amount of oil being transported per day fell into the hands of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Despite country-wide opposition in the form of protests, candlelight vigils, and sit-ins in the offices of various Ministers of Parliament, our Prime Minister decided to speak for Big Oil instead of Canadian citizens, and went ahead with the projects.
In approving both the Trans Mountain expansion and the Line 3 pipeline, the Trudeau government has abandoned its commitment to building a nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations communities. Although the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) requires free, prior and informed consent, and over 60 First Nations have signed a treaty opposing tar sands expansion, these promises of reconciliation continue to be ignored. The approval of these pipelines also abandons the Paris climate agreements of working to stave off serious effects of climate change by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions significantly before 2050.
We understand the purported economic benefits for Canada, but those benefits are short term and do not ensure environmental stability. We need to encourage a rapid transition to green and clean energy now in order to secure a livable future for our children and the rest of the biosphere. Prime Minister Trudeau needs to show that he cares about the people living on Turtle Island (North America), that he is committed to indigenous reconciliation, and that he will stand up and be a climate leader. Enough empty promises, time for our government to take action.