Normally I’d have a smidgen of sympathy for someone suggesting we stop swooning over our prime minister.
But, in the case of Bill McKibben, the reigning poster child for the more radical elements of the North American environmental movement, such nodding acquiescence sails out the window.
Writing in the British newspaper the Guardian — an outfit that loves a moral crusade to beguile and instruct us lesser mortals — McKibben describes Justin Trudeau as a “stunning hypocrite” on global warming.
“When it comes to the defining issue of our day, climate change, he’s a brother to the old orange guy in D.C.,” wrote the American author and environmentalist. “The reason for this comparison to Donald Trump is the recent federal approval of a couple of pipelines designed to carry Alberta crude.
“He is hard at work pushing for new pipelines through Canada and the U.S. to carry yet more oil out of Alberta’s tarsands, which is one of the greatest climate disasters on the planet,” wrote McKibben.
Ranking global warming as the No. 1 issue is fine for McKibben, but us poor rubes, wearily trudging around in Wild Rose Country, our knuckles dragging heavily on the bare, parched earth, are obviously oblivious to this fact.
But, really, is global warming your defining issue of the day? Is it in North Korea, Syria, Ukraine or Yemen? Is it even the issue of the day in, well, Edmonton? (I bet hockey might be this morning.) I’ve a suspicion it might not even be McKibben’s — the one issue he thinks of when opening his eyes each morning.
As a child, McKibben lived for a while in Ontario. He once waxed lyrical about sticking out his skinny arm and cars would stop so he could cross the road. Golly, he’d love to experience that again — during a two-week vacation, of course.
You see, what we should morph into to appease the now-grown McKibben is a green backwater, a sacred place to be visited and enjoyed by such modern day, southern-based Gatsbys. Shoot, when it gets to minus 10 C with a headwind they can flee to Florida. Cuba was once like that — an American playground, where natives didn’t cause a fuss. I always had a soft spot for Fidel.
But, let’s journey back to reality. It arrives with the latest National Energy Board stats on crude imports and exports.
McKibben would stop us extracting another single barrel of heavy oil right now, before even settling down to eat his eco-breakfast. But hold on, folks. Here’s why even our own prime minister understands that extracting those resources is paramount to this vast land and, incidentally, his party’s re-election hopes.
NEB stats show we exported a record 180 million barrels of oil last year. Of that, 133 million were heavy oil with the rest being the lighter variety. The heavy stuff — think oilsands — is growing while the Leduc 1947 variety shrinks.
So, apart from economic armageddon, if we closed this tap, what would actually happen if the oilsands were closeted? Where would we…