Target: Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada
Goal: Convince the prime minister to live up to his campaign promises of making Canada an environmental leader.
Justin Trudeau, elected prime minister of Canada in 2015, has made his first decision on a major energy project. And it was a bad one. The Trudeau government approved the Pacific Northwest LNG project, a pipeline that would ship 19 million tons of liquid natural gas nearly 600 miles along the coast of British Columbia each year, to be sold in Asian markets. If built, the pipeline and processing facility would also produce an estimated 8.7 megatons of greenhouse gases every year, making it the single largest source of climate pollution in Canada. Many environmentalists, as well as First Nations communities, are outraged by the government’s decision. The natural gas facility in British Columbia would also compromise local fisheries, as well as the heart of wild salmon habitat, both of which represent livelihoods for indigenous people and others.
This comes as a major blow after lofty environmental promises made during Trudeau’s campaign. As the leader of the Liberal Party, Trudeau courted the environmental vote with talk about how he would invest millions in clean tech and make Canada an international leader on climate change. On top of that, when he was sworn into office in November of 2015, Trudeau issued a statement promising to rebuild relations with indigenous people and to run an open, ethical, and transparent government. It seems these words have proven little more than political talking points. After the decision was announced, Karen Mahon of Stand Earth stated: “Honestly we expected better.”
Of course, no political decision is black and white. The government argues that the Pacific Northwest LNG could create thousands of jobs and add to the country’s GDP. Still, Trudeau must know that this decision has disappointed people who care about the future of our planet. Tell Prime Minister Trudeau that if he truly wishes to be a climate leader, he will have to make better decisions in the future.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
As a citizen of the planet, and one who cares about the environment and the way humans are impacting it, I was sorely disappointed in your decision to approve the Pacific Northwest LNG. This project has the potential to emit 8.7 tons of carbon emissions each year, almost double the amount you set as a cap in your regulatory conditions. In addition to this pollution, the LNG facility in British Columbia will compromise the heart of wild salmon habitat, which is a precious natural resource and source of livelihood.
Of course I understand that politics is often a game of give and take, and the project has economic allures, which I suppose outweighed its environmental impacts in your view. I hope that this will not set a standard for your future decisions in office. Please remember your promises to invest in true clean technology, and make Canada a world leader in combatting climate change. This simply cannot be the case if you continue to approve projects that will pollute the air and damage wildlife in your beautiful country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Day Donaldson