British Columbians have made extraordinary adjustments in their outlook in the last several decades. When I was a boy and a young man there was always another valley to log, another run of fish, more farmland around the corner, more rivers to dam or even reverse. This was considered our birthright. But though it took us a long time to realize it, we saw that we no longer had those luxuries.
Back in 2011, Canada made history by being the first country to formally pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. It was a bold move, but yesterday, Justin Trudeau actually managed to one up the feat, albeit in different style. On Tuesday, he approved the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 tar sands pipelines making Canada the first country on the planet to, in effect, promise to break the commitments they made to under the Paris Climate Agreement.
According to Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, phasing out coal will reduce emissions in Canada by five megatonnes. That's great news, but it's soured when you remember that the government just approved the Pacific Northwest LNG project, which is expected to add 11.5 to 14.0 megatonnes worth of emissions each year.
Ninety-nine young environmental activists achieved their goal on Parliament Hill on Monday by carrying out acts of civil disobedience. As conditions worsen, civil disobedience is a growing response to the lack of government action on climate change and the full-speed-ahead attitude of the fossil fuel industry.
It has been 14 years since Southern Resident killer whales were listed as endangered under Canada's Species at Risk Act. Today, less than 85 of these whales remain. Despite their legal obligation to act, the federal government has failed to take measures to further recovery of the Southern Residents. As one of Canada's most endangered group of animals, actions for their survival cannot wait any longer.
During the 2015 election, the Liberal Party promised to listen to Canadians in an unprecedented way, and as we get closer to marking the first year of their government, signs have been good that they're trying to follow through. So much so that when it comes to climate change, it can feel like the government is trying to consult us to death. When it comes to climate consultation, the federal government is great at asking questions, but are they actually listening to the answers? The truth is, I don't know. The government of Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr in particular, have made no secret that they want to approve a pipeline.
Trudeau's apology is illustrative of the behaviour of a child being caught with his hand in the cookie jar, then arguing it wasn't his fault because someone else put the jar there in the first place. His so-called apology was not so much about an acknowledgement of a wrongdoing, it was more about trying to put a spin on his indefensible actions.