The creepy double meaning of ‘Sunny Ways’

No consent from communities? Too bad, says Trudeau.

“Sunny ways, my friends. Sunny ways!” For most people, that line in Justin Trudeau’s victory speech two years ago heralded a return to “positive politics” after 10 years of Stephen Harper’s icy glare.

It’s also a reference to tricking someone into taking their clothes off.

As the Liberal Party website reminds us, Trudeau’s “sunny ways” is a tribute to Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier (the guy on the five dollar bill). Laurier believed in disarming his opponents with charm and flattery. In 1895 he invoked one of Aesop’s fables to illustrate his political philosophy.

It goes like this: One day the Wind and the Sun were arguing about who was more powerful, when a hapless traveller passed by on the road below. The Sun said “Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.”

The Wind started huffing and puffing. But the harder he blew, the tighter the poor human clung to his cloak. Then the Sun came out and “shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.”

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Justin Trudeau would identify with a celestial sky-king, toying with us mortals on the earth below.

During his election campaign Trudeau promised ad nauseum that “governments grant permits, but only communities can give permission.” He was talking, of course, about pipelines. But soon after winning power, his position shifted to “Father knows best”.

One year ago today, Trudeau approved Kinder Morgan’s pipeline and oil tanker proposal.

If completed, the project would drain 890,000 barrels of crude oil every day to refineries in California and Washington. Like a maritime Keystone XL, it represents a last-ditch liquidation attempt by oil sands operators looking to get as much raw bitumen out of the ground as possible before demand drops.

By signing on to this desperate scheme, Trudeau put the lie to his own election promises and ignored the explicit lack of consent from First Nations communities disproportionately affected by pipeline construction, oil spills and climate risk.

This week the women of the Secwepemcul’ecw Assembly vowed to shut down any “Man Camps” Kinder Morgan tries to build in their vast North Thompson territory. As the Secwepemc declaration notes, a growing body of research is finding links between remote work camps and violence against women.

Farther south is the Nlaka’pamux village of Coldwater, whose leaders were barred from hiring lawyers when the first pipeline came through in 1952. The government handed over a lump-sum payment of $1,200 and told them to sign. The people have lived with an oil pipeline hissing over their water aquifer ever since. They don’t want to triple that risk.

Nor do the Tsleil-Waututh in Burrard Inlet, who have coaxed healthy, edible clams and other sea life to grow again in a waterway hurt for decades by industrial pollution. Or their neighbours the Squamish, who are reviving their language – a language born thousands of years ago from the very landscapes and ecosystems that would be obliterated by an oil tanker spill.

Days before Trudeau gave Kinder Morgan the green light, Tsleil-Waututh leaders flew to Ottawa to deliver, in person, their “informed withholding of consent”. What they didn’t know is the federal government was already setting up a website to announce the Kinder Morgan approval, before the leaders’ plane even landed.

What kind of self-professed feminist decides that “no” really means “yes”? In Justin Trudeau’s case, a Prime Minister who also fought to preserve discrimination against women in the Indian Act, and still refuses to provide equal health care or education funding for Indigenous children.

Some cloaks – like human rights – are too important for people to discard no matter what sunny charms are beaming down on them. Lucky for Trudeau, if his tousled hair and boyish stutter fail to change people’s minds, he has all the power of the state to enforce his will.

With two years until the next election, Trudeau will have to decide how important this Texas pipeline is to him. Important enough to expropriate reserve lands to shove a pipeline through? Important enough to do as his oil minister suggested, and send in the army to quell resistance?

Sunny ways, indeed.

20 Responses to “The creepy double meaning of ‘Sunny Ways’”

  1. Geoffrey Pounder says:

    The only leverage progressive Canadians have is their vote.
    The only way to stop this pipeline is if progressive voters tell PM Trudeau and Premier Notley point blank: “If you go this route, we are not coming with you. You will not have our votes in 2019.”
    Our ethically-challenged politicians are not going to stop this madness. It really is up to us.

    In AB, unfortunately, Notley’s climate-change spin has deceived most progressives. Given the right-wing alternative, most moderate voters will stick with the NDP regardless. Even though on the climate front Notley is likely to wreak more havoc than a Jason Kenney could ever hope to do.

    “In fact, it is hard to see how a Premier Jason Kenney could out-perform Notley at cheerleading for fossil fuels and the tar sands — or at completely obfuscating the mortal threat of climate change.
    “… Although Trudeau and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna continue to say all the right things on the environment, their rhetoric is emptier than a limp balloon.”
    Michael Harris, w w w [dot] ipolitics [dot] ca/2017/11/23/singhs-primary-political-problem-isnt-trudeau-premiers/

    It’s easy to blame the politicians. It’s harder to look in the mirror.

  2. Nancy Lowe says:

    I hate Trudeau. He hates his children, as he is selling off their land.

  3. Paul Christensen says:

    Personally I am for the Kinder Morgan pipeline for various reasons largely surrounding my almost pathological distaste of doing business with the US. However the way that this pipeline is being driven down the throats of people in BC as well as the first nations rights that are being trampled or out and out ignored is NOT the way to have this completed. Thank you Mr Trudeau for cluttering up the courts and thus wasting OUR tax dollars driving an unwanted and some say unneeded pipeline through at all costs
    Signed Paul C…… never to vote Liberal again period

    • Lisa Sammartino says:

      Thanks for you thoughts. I just want to point out that Kinder Morgan is an American company that is based in Texas. – Lisa

  4. Margaret Hinkson says:

    I am quite disappointed by what happened with this pipeline ,one of the main reasons that I voted for him is because I thought that he would not allow the pipeline ,as I listened carefully to what he had to say ,I thought that he would protect the environment .

  5. Howard wideman says:

    Well written. Leave the tar sands. No sales for dirty oil. Justin should know better

  6. The problem that we are confronted with over and over again with what has increasingly become a bi-polar political system rather than our traditionally more balanced and centrist dynamic with a minimum of three parties maintaining checks on each other with coalitions and minority governments, is that “the lesser of two evils” is still part of a progression that does not lead to sunny pastures and still waters untouched by contamination.

    It is impossible to tell with figures such as Notley , Trudeau, (and it is beginning to seem John Horgan) whether they meant all along to go back on their words and discard their expressed values, or if they are simply constrained by the shape of our bureaucratic, legislative, and contractual frameworks as they have been formed and reformed over the course of the Harper era, etc.

    The specifics do not come easily but the general pattern is clear: The Harper government’s inertia carries forward more than we would like to admit, and there are backing and contributing influences from both within and without of our provincial and federal governments that are both non-elected and with large financial resources.

    If the voting Canadian public is going to have a chance at meaningful change through the exercise of our democratic voting system, it will be up to us to take up the reins that are part of the burden that an informed and engaged voting public should always have in hand, and actively begin to steer our politicians down the paths that they claim to wish to follow.

    If they do not cooperate, then we must start examining the possibility of a “none of the above” to our traditional parties, and actively encouraging independent candidates and smaller party nominations well in advance of the applicable elections, while simultaneously pushing the concept that strategic voting is a dead end for real democracy and until the hurdles of implementing it in the 21st Century are surmounted coalition and minority governments are preferable to a majority of corruption and shortsightedness.

  7. Wally says:

    If going brought change, it would be illegal. Changing government simply means changing the guards.

  8. Juanita Wilson says:

    Maybe because I’m old but I didn’t expect anything different from Justin Trudeau than what we’ve got. Fortunately I have never had to consider “strategic voting”. As for Trudeau, what a gift to the Neoliberal powers in the background when their champion Harper had fallen too far out of favor. Instead of Mr. Surly let’s use Mr. Personality Salesman to forward pipeline infrastructure and increase the extractions of the fossil fuel companies while he makes a big vocal display about dealing with climate change. Does he even understand the real threat of global warming?

    I see Trudeau as being appallingly egotistical. I read that he said about Indigenous people’s rejection of Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline ‘They just weren’t approached in the right way’. I took this to mean that their objections were not based on the the value they placed on the land and their traditional way of life but were because the PR people sent to get their support weren’t friendly enough but Trudeau would have won their support. That attitude is unfathomably insulting to the indigenous people who are mostly on the front lines of protecting BC from pipelines.

    He has said so many misleading or arrogant things. Take electoral reform, ‘the last election with first passed the post’ but what are the options he suggested: -ranked ballot, which is the opposite of proportional representation,
    -proportional representation, and: -online voting or compulsory voting, neither of which are replacements for first past the post. How do we interpret this. ‘They will choose what i want?” or “The public won’t know the difference?’

    One more example, the TPP. When Obama visited Trudeau said of people who opposed the TPP that they weren’t good Canadians, good Canadians are co-operative, which meant they blindly support whatever the government wants. I imagine that is what he thinks about Kinder Morgan and the Site C dam.

  9. maria says:

    I think the wallet is more leverage than the vote. We need to stop supporting these industries indirectly by buying their crap. I am beginning to realize more and more that these people in charge are just plain evil. Grassroot initiatives, the people need to rise up and say enough is enough and stop giving government power. Their power is only an illusion, their wages are from our tax dollars. I think they forget they are public servants.

  10. Rodger Brunning says:

    Right on

  11. Patrick Labelle says:

    Trudeau just cares about supporting his friends (even if they are drug dealers or animal abusers) and just thinks that the rest of the population is a bunch of morons that deserve to be manipulated and taken advantage of.

    In the last ten years, marijuana drug dealers have put tens of billions of dollars in their pockets. Trudeau’s plan: to make sure that the criminals keep all their profits. Who needs to take money from drug dealers when you can steal it from the pockets of honest workers?

    And remember how proud he was of being photographed wearing fur (he is a good friend of the people heading Canada Goose, a company that makes money out of abusing animals). Then he is hypocritical enough to say that he loves dogs (maybe he is too stupid to realize that coyote and wolves are basically the sam as dogs). He is a hypocrite of the worst kind, and he deserves to be voted out of office.

  12. Gary says:

    Yes. And many of us also believed him when he campaigned to get rid first past the post elections and make every vote count.

  13. what the Conservatives said before the 2015 election about Trudeau, “he’s just not ready” was dismissed by many as being malicious and untrue. over two years later, it’s patently obvious that Justin Trudeau is “just not ready” to give Canadians the transparent, honest ethical government that he promised. whether he ever will be “ready” is doubtful.

  14. Max Kennedy says:

    The lack of integrity fostered by a winner take all FPTP electoral process and undue corporate influence on government has only 1 counter. Vote different. The big 3 parties have been co-opted. it is that simple. The national LibCon flip flop has simply seen the degradation of the Canadian regulatory scene to a rubber stamp for the corporate will with just enough exceptions to this that the public still thinks they have a say. I got a cheap bridge in the desert to sell ya! To a lesser extent we see the same in the NDP a la Notley pushing pipelines, Horgan approving Site C and even Mulcair trying to occupy the political centre in the last federal election. INTEGRITY. Is it any wonder that Canadians in general think all politicians are inveterate liars? Or that the fallacy that their vote actually counts for anything only if they vote for the winners, regardless of whether the winners act in the best interest of the public or not. It counts alright, it counts for the perpetuation of lies.We NEED better and you won’t find it in the big 3!

  15. Janice Gidora says:

    – The liberals always campaign like the NDP and once elected, govern like the Conservatives. Enough said!

  16. Vicki Pauze says:

    I did not vote for Trudeau – saw through him right from the start. Is there a party that will stop being part of the deep state controlled by oil. I fear there is not. We can only hope that we stall the construction for so long that KM gives up.

  17. Ann Stewart says:

    As the old saying goes, “be careful what you wish for”. There can be little doubt that this was JT’s cowardly strategy all along.

  18. Kinder Morgan is Texas American but it’s also is past Enron filth that pulled one of the largest ponzi schemes in America!
    Richard Kinder was President and COO of Enron, do you want to do business with that creep! Bill Morgan was his university classmate and as at Enron as well! They skimp on work on their other pipelines they own, they are tightwads, so you want a company as cheap as Kinder Morgan running at pipeline through BC?

  19. Morey Smith says:

    Kindermorgan owns The Old ENRON Building (B.C. Hydro Fame & Powerex) in Houston TX., U.S.A.

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