Why lying politicians love first-past-the-post

Court rulings have a funny way of cutting through political talking points. Last week the Federal Court of Appeal made it clear: Justin Trudeau was bullshitting all along. His government did not honourably or adequately consult B.C. First Nations, and it approved a major oil tanker project without considering the risks.

The court exposed Trudeau’s feel-good rhetoric as so much empty nonsense:

“If I thought that this project was unsafe for the B.C. coast, I would reject it.”

British Columbians and First Nations knew he was wrong. We knew there was no proof that bitumen could be cleaned up, or that the tanker traffic would not have any impact on the endangered orca whale population.

Judge Eleanor Dawson proved us right.

The pro-science climate leader, reconciler-in-chief, youth minister and “Grandson of B.C.” has been proven to be none of these things. So much for real change.

This is the biggest hit yet to Trudeau’s brand, which is built on trust and authenticity.

Instead of taking the court’s feedback into consideration and admitting he was wrong, instead of realizing the pipeline was a terrible investment and cancelling the deal with Kinder Morgan, Trudeau bought the pipeline less than 24 hours later.

He used our tax dollars to buy a leaky 65-year-old pipeline — generating an instant $1.2 billion profit for Kinder Morgan shareholders, who are over the moon.

I am shocked at the gall of this prime minister. What happened to all those campaign promises he made?

In 2015, he promised to redo Harper’s process for reviewing pipeline and tanker projects. Months later he plowed ahead with the exact same flawed process. And now it’s come back to bite him.

So what happened to Justin from the time he was campaigning to when he became prime minister? Why the sudden about face?

There was a clue early on: The co-chair of the Liberal’s 2015 campaign, Dan Gagnier, was also a lobbyist for TransCanada Corp. Near the end of the campaign period he was discovered to have sent detailed emails advising TransCanada on how to lobby a new government to get their Energy East pipeline built.

Once Trudeau was elected, his friendships with financiers and oil execs only grew stronger. The National Observer found Kinder Morgan had lobbied the federal government more than three dozen times before the prime minister approved the pipeline and tanker project in November 2016.

In January 2016, just a couple months after Trudeau became prime minister, Kinder Morgan Canada CEO Ian Anderson made a phone call to the deputy minister of natural resources requesting he speed up the pipeline’s review. That’s while the National Energy Board was in the middle of “public consultations” in B.C.

Only months later, while consultations were still ongoing, high ranking public officials were given instructions to find a “legally sound” basis for cabinet to approve the pipeline.

“They suggested that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government rushed its review of Trans Mountain and had made up its mind to support the project, despite claiming, at that time, that they were still consulting First Nations and the public before making a final decision.”

Why do oil companies get more representation and access than regular people? Who exactly do politicians work for?

It’s not enough for politicians to think about Canadians every four years. But there is no way to hold them accountable for their campaign promises between elections. And with a majority government there is no space for the voices of those who raise the alarm.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline wasn’t the only promise Trudeau broke. Remember when he said this?

Those words weren’t just campaign rhetoric. They are still on the Liberal website. A haunting reminder of the ghosts of elections past.

After months of meaningless consultation by a panel of glorified notetakers, Trudeau dismissed electoral reform with a wave of his hand.

Why? Because he doesn’t want to be held accountable. Trudeau knew that with a fair, proportional electoral system his chances of a winning another majority were slim. He believes under the current first-past-the-post system he can lie and break promises and still win power with 40 per cent of the vote.

But we are winning the fight against the Trans Mountain expansion. And we are going to win Pro Rep for B.C. as well.

We are going to show Trudeau that B.C. cannot be taken for granted. We are going to make good on his forgotten election promises.

And then, come 2019, we will see him at the ballot box.

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