Justin Trudeau – Trudeau is more of a climate Chamberlain than a climate Churchill
So there is probably going to be a spring federal election. Three provincial leaders have won majorities in recent elections during the COVID-19 crisis as good housekeeping, capable governments.
Supposedly the recently announced future ramp up of the federal carbon tax is an attempt to portray Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as tough on climate because Canadians desire a tough, competent leader in what promises to be a difficult economic recovery from COVID. Or so the Liberal election strategy believes.
Trudeau is generally viewed as an effective leader on COVID and the significant carbon tax increase will position him as a climate Churchill versus other party leaders’ lacklustre if not tepid climate leadership.
There is just one small problem with this strategy — Trudeau is much more of a climate Chamberlain than a climate Churchill.
In his five years in office, GHG emissions have continued to rise, his government’s climate policies have been ineffectual and have wasted incredibly precious time, and the increased carbon tax — even if enacted and maintained for the decade which is doubtful — won’t be enough to even meet the too weak by half present 2030 target.
Meanwhile, the Trudeau government still does everything in its power to increase fossil fuel exports; coal, oil and natural gas.
Isn’t this “Climate safety in our time” while doing everything to appease the fossil fuel producers?
The Liberal strategy looks risky, especially in the southern Ontario 905 ridings that are key to electoral success. Canadians are becoming better informed and much more serious about mitigating climate and the Trudeau government has a poor record on climate that will be hard to defend. By any metric the Trudeau government has been bottom of the table in climate performance:
Canada fell three places to 58th (out of 61) in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2020 ranking: emissions continue to rise; Canada’s per capita emissions and overall use of energy are still going up, and there is a very low growth rate for renewable energy.
In a 2019 report the international Climate Action Network described Canada as “amongst the worse of the already bad G7 bunch.”
Despite repeated Liberal promises, Canada ranked last among 11 OECD countries on progress in ending subsidies. “With COVID-19 stimulus spending, since spring 2020, fossil fuel subsidies have been going up.”
The dominant election issue will be recovery from COVID, but the increasingly dire news about climate dangers combined with the poor Liberal record does not bode well for Trudeau and a government that has earnestly posed as climate leaders while doing next to nothing effective on reducing emissions.
O’Toole and the Conservatives might have an even more ineffectual climate mitigation plan and the NDP and Greens might be out of contention minnows, but running as a Churchill when you are a Chamberlain could really blow up in Liberal faces.
Globally Trudeau has done great harm in the key Paris moment by pretending to be a climate leader and then not only dividing the country with his carbon tax policies while emissions continue to rise, but also buying a pipeline and supporting a dying industry with COVID relief funding.
Greta and the kids have been pointing out the yawning gap between words and actions and this coming election campaign could be a real wake up call for Canadians. Canadians might demand more than a continuing climate mitigation plan to fail.
And it just might be a final curtain for an appeaser who pretended to be a climate leader.