Teck Fron­tier Mine: Trudeau at a cross­roads

Truro Daily News - - COLCHESTER COUNTY -

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

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