Bill Henderson: Blackface fun or climate tragedy?

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      Putting on a blackface numerous times in his past doesn't make Justin Trudeau a racist but it does call into question his character and his brand. The PM really likes to dress up and play act; his judgment seems to fail him in such circumstances but his actions were in the spirit of fun and games and never intentionally hurtful.

      But the blackface revelations are minor compared to the previously known examples of Trudeau duplicity. Our PM promised proportional representation. He promised First Nations real reconciliation and he told us that he would govern differently than past Canadian governments, that he would govern ethically, and that women and their values would have a strong presence in his government.

      But these are small matters compared to his pretend leadership and duplicity regarding the most important issue facing his government and by far the most important issue for all Canadians: the climate crisis.

      The Trudeau government pretended to be climate leaders at the Paris UN climate summit right after the Liberals were elected in 2015. But then they kept the Harper-era emission reduction targets which are less than half of the emission reduction required of Canadians if we were to do our share in staying even under an average 2 C global rise in temperature since the start of the Industrial Revolution.

      The Trudeau government then failed miserably to introduce effective policies to reduce emissions to reach even these insufficient targets (while polarizing the whole climate mitigation issue instead of showing the necessary leadership to get all parties on side). A study released last year found Canada in the very bottom tier of action taken on climate change—if every nation followed our example there would be a 5 C global temperature rise this century for those that have to live with the consequences of our continuing failure. The PM should have been forced to resign for gross incompetence on this his most important file.

      But even more damaging to potential global mitigation (and to those now at risk and future generations of Canadians) was Trudeau's "leadership" in arguing that we had to continue to expand fossil fuel production in order to pay for a transition to a renewable-energy-based economy in the future. Canada is the world's fourth-largest producer of fossil fuels. We live in a world where denial and predatory delay already projects increasing fossil fuel production and use far into the future when the climate science tells us that we have to reduce fossil fuel use urgently. Trudeau helped keep us in a worldview where supposedly being the producer country was okay. It is not by any stretch of the imagination okay. Given what is at stake, it is unconscionable.

      The Conservatives' "not as advertised" critique of Justin Trudeau is sadly true, particularly when it comes to showing climate leadership. With time for effective mitigation running out, our pretend climate leader used his power to continue to expand fossil fuel production, including buying a controversial pipeline. His penchant for playing dress-up should be the least of our concerns.

      Justin Trudeau wasted four years of precious, precious time when we should have been doing the right thing and winding down fossil fuel production and his legacy is misinformation and division.

      Considering what is at stake, Justin Trudeau, how dare you.