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South Niagara chapter protests Liberal climate and trade policies

The Council of Canadians South Niagara chapter and allies protested outside a Liberal Party of Canada meeting last night.

The Liberal Party event took place at the Fallsview Casino Resort in Niagara Falls. Their promotion highlighted, “This will be the first gathering of Liberals in Ontario since our historic victory last October and is an event not to be missed.” The regular registration fee was $350 with sliding scale rates down to $115 for “Youth and Indigenous”.

The outreach for the rally noted, “Citizens are calling on Justin Trudeau to honour his environmental commitments laid out in his party’s election platform. With starting to end destructive projects that fuel Canada’s contribution to climate change. Divesting from fossil fuels! And for him to establish a Lake Tonawanda wetlands national park, that would rescue the Thundering Waters Forest.” The Thundering Waters Forest is threatened by a plan to build the $1 billion ‘Paradise’ development project, which includes a hotel, entertainment facilities, apartment housing, and a private school.

Among the other placards at the protest last night were signs opposing the 1.1 million barrel per day Energy East pipeline and the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), as well as a sign calling for the government to adopt into law the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). If UNDRIP were to be enacted, First Nations would need to be consulted on CETA and the TPP, would have greater power to say no to pipelines on their territories, and could refuse mega-projects like the Site C and Muskrat Falls dam.

Niagara This Week reports, “It was Trudeaumania at Fallsview Casino where Justin Trudeau addressed a crowd of Liberal delegates. There, he addressed the loyal followers of his party and thanked them for the work they did in helping him become leader of the country.” The Niagara Falls Review adds that Trudeau told those assembled, “In three years time, we’ll have another federal election. In three years time, Canada will vote for the party that connects with them, reflects their values and, most importantly, listens to them and we need to make sure that that party is us.”

The Liberals continue to ride high in the polls one year after their election.

Global News reports, “46 per cent of Canadians polled said they ‘somewhat agree’ with the notion that Trudeau’s approach to politics has been good for Canada; another 19 per cent ‘strongly’ agreed, for a combined 65 per cent. …[But] 6 in 10 Canadians [also] either strongly or somewhat agree the Trudeau government is more ‘style’ than ‘substance’. …[Significantly] 45 per cent of respondents either couldn’t think of what the government’s greatest accomplishment was or said, ‘nothing’, [while] 45 per cent also responded positively when asked, on an open-ended basis, to identify the first thing that came to mind when thinking of the Liberals under Trudeau.”

The Canadian Press reports, “The Trudeau government has made climate policy a central motif since taking office last November but is now trying to pivot to resource development amid slumping economic numbers.” Since their election, the Liberals have approved the Woodfibre and Pacific Northwest LNG terminals, granted permits for the Site C dam in northeastern British Columbia, have not responded to requests to review federal permits for the Muskrat Falls dam, and are expected to approve the 890,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline on December 19.

This past Thursday, Environment minister Catherine McKenna said, “[I’m] as much an economic minister as I am an environment minister” and admitted, “I’m going to lose some people on the way.” On Friday, Natural Resources minister Jim Carr stated, “We’re not going to make everybody happy. …People say, ’Leave the oil in the ground’… Our view is we use the wealth of the old economy to finance the new energy economy.”

In March, Trudeau stated, “We want the low-carbon economy that continues to provide good jobs and great opportunities for all Canadians. To get there, we need to make smart strategic investments in clean growth and new infrastructure, but we must also continue to generate wealth from our abundant natural resources to fund this transition to a low-carbon economy.”

That all said, British researchers at University College London have concluded that 85 per cent of the tar sands would have to be left in the ground to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.