Justin Trudeau knows that he's damaged goods when it comes to having any credibility in the fight against climate change.
He and his finance minister, Bill Morneau, thought it was a good idea to spend $4.5 billion to buy Kinder Morgan's aging Trans Mountain pipeline system.
Then Trudeau proceeded with a $9.3-billion expansion that would triple shipments of diluted bitumen from Alberta to the Lower Mainland.
The Trudeau cabinet also approved the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline and strongly supports the Keystone XL pipeline project.
And the Liberals gave a green light to a giant LNG plant in Kitimat that will rely on fracked gas from northeastern B.C.
They've been carbon kingpins in their first term—going way beyond anything that Stephen Harper's Conservatives ever accomplished for the fossil-fuel sector.
No wonder Trudeau stayed away from the UN Climate Action Summit in New York City.
Canada is one of the world's worst laggards when it comes to reducing its per capita carbon footprint.
But despite this sorry record, the Liberals are asking environmentally minded Canadians to trust them in the October 21 election.
Today, three candidates, including two cabinet ministers, have pledged that if they're elected, they'll work to make Canada net-zero emitters of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2050.
Catherine McKenna, Jonathan Wilkinson, and Steven Guilbeault made this promise to join 65 other countries and the European Union. Guilbeault is one of the most famous environmental activists in Quebec.
"Our children are counting on us to fight climate change, and you can count on the Liberal team to step up," the party proudly declared.
In a typical Trudeau-style way, the party also stated: "We’re setting this ambitious goal because we believe we don’t have to choose between protecting the environment and growing our economy. We can and will do both."
Trudeau has also often said that there's no need to choose between growing the economy and protecting the environment. That's how he's justified pipeline projects and the LNG plant.
At least Trudeau, Morneau, and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr had the good sense to keep their names off this announcement.
For any Liberal supporters who might have a problem with this article, I highly recommend The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks Are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada. In it, Burnaby-based author Donald Gutstein documents how senior Liberals worked with business leaders, think tank executives, and some in the environmental movement, including Trudeau's friend Gerald Butts, to "yoke climate change to the energy policy cart" through a carbon tax.
This carbon tax has been a useful fig leaf to allow continued expansion of the fossil-fuel sector even though Canada hasn't come close to meeting weak emissions targets set by the previous Conservative government.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers forecast an increase of 1.27 million barrels per day of crude oil being extracted in Canada by 2035.
Today's promise from the Liberals says nothing about reducing fossil-fuel production.
"For businesses and industry, net-zero means they can still emit carbon pollution, but they must offset it with actions—actions like planting new trees," they stated.
This from a party led by a man who brought a heartwarming message to oil executives in Houston, Texas, in 2017.
"No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave them there," Trudeau said.
Perhaps it's time for Gutstein to write a sequel to his last book and call this one The Big Stall 2.0.