Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump hardly agree on anything. Let’s keep it that way.
Trudeau supports immigration and accepting refugees, universal health care, international cooperation, women’s rights, and Canada’s commitment to doing its fair share to fight climate change under the Paris Agreement.
Trump, however, supports none of those things.
So it seems jarring and suspect when Trump and Trudeau actually seem to agree on one issue – building massive new tar sands pipelines like Keystone XL. Something is clearly wrong with this picture.
Before the leaders meet officially for the first time on Monday, this might be a good moment for Justin Trudeau to take a long, hard look at the dangers of teaming up with Trump. Ongoing complicity and collusion on Trump’s pipeline ambitions are plainly offside with his stated values and promises to Canadians. Trudeau shouldn’t support Trump’s pipeline agenda, any more than he would want to support Trump’s inflammatory ban on immigration from some Muslim countries.
It’s no surprise that Trump supports building new pipelines and expanding the oil industry. He once claimed that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese. He’s so beholden to the oil industry that he actually appointed the former CEO of Exxon Mobil as Secretary of State.
If Trump’s ambition is to line the pockets of oil executives, what, then, is Trudeau’s game?
Trudeau signed Canada onto the Paris Agreement on climate change, promising that Canada would do its fair share to meet global goals. Trudeau also promised to respect Indigenous rights by implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), requiring indigenous peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent on matters that affect them. Neither promise can be met if proposed new pipeline projects like TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline are actually built.
Looking back to the playful bromance once shared between Trudeau and former President Obama, it was obvious that the two leaders shared common ideals and mutual respect. In the brief window when their times in office overlapped, they worked together to advance an agenda of climate action. And when Obama finally had the courage to reject Keystone XL, this should have been a wakeup call for Trudeau, a gentle nudge from a friend – a reminder that the oil industry’s interest is not in the public interest. Sadly, it was a missed cue.
Now, as Trump undermines Obama’s legacy by pushing racist immigration policy, gutting the Affordable Care Act, shredding carbon regulations, and bringing dirty pipeline projects back from the dead, let’s hope that Trudeau finally decides he wants no part of it.