Teck Frontier Mine: Trudeau at a crossroads
To the editor:
By the end of February, the Trudeau government is scheduled to announce a decision on approving or denying the largest ever open-pit mine in Canada’s tar sands.
This decision, more than any other, will clarify Trudeau’s rhetoric on the environment. Has it been spoken from the heart and soul of his government or has it simply been a means of holding voter support to remain in power?
In 2017 Trudeau said, “You can’t make a choice between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy.” He went on to state that we need to gradually phase out tar sands operations.
Canada, by signing on to the Paris Accord, has committed to significantly reducing carbon emissions. If they now approve this proposed new tar sands mine, they will make it impossible to keep these commitments and will add greatly to Canada’s very poor record on environmental protection.
Tar sands operations, in total, are recognized as the world’s worst contributor to environmental destruction and destabilization. Adding another huge mining operation atop the already incredible scope of this ongoing attack on the environment will forever brand Canada as a climate rogue nation.
Powerful energy interests have great influence on government. They have resources that allow them to sway public opinion through the promise of more jobs or threats of lost employment opportunities.
Making difficult decisions is what politicians sign on for when they ask for our votes. We should expect them to follow through on promises to protect the environment first, because everything else is dependent on maintaining a livable planet.
It is not as though we have insufficient evidence that our environment has been severely damaged. Climate scientists have repeatedly shown that human activities are a main driver of climate change. They have delivered strong warnings that we are virtually guaranteed ever greater disruption of climate if we maintain our current path.
“You can’t have your cake and eat it too” is an old cliché that seems very appropriate now. Either we take the necessary steps to rein in climate-destabilizing human activities, or we will commit future generations, including those young people living today, to a very stark existence.
This second iteration of a Trudeau government finds itself at a crossroads. The decisions they make will be with us for generations. They will wear the burden of responsibility far longer than the short term of their current government. Will we remember them as saviours or destroyers? Orland Kennedy, Brookfield