In an act of "immense moral cowardice" that once again betrays his expressed commitment to helping confront the global climate crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that his government will purchase Kinder Morgan's "climate-destroying" Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion.
"The Indigenous-led, people-powered movement that led Kinder Morgan to abandon ship on this project is stronger than ever and will not back down."
—Mike Hudema, Greenpeace Canada
"Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is making a historic mistake in buying the doomed Kinder Morgan project," Adam Scott, senior adviser at Oil Change International (OCI), said in a statement denouncing Trudeau's decision, which comes just weeks after fierce opposition from Indigenous groups and environmentalists forced the oil giant to halt construction operations. "At a critical moment in history, the government is indeed doing 'whatever it takes' to undermine our transition to a safe, clean, renewable energy future."
Clayton Thomas-Muller, a campaigner with 350.org, argued that Trudeau's move demonstrates that he "still hasn't learned two simple lessons: you can't be a climate leader and build massive fossil fuel projects and you can't ignore Indigenous rights and preach reconciliation."
"Despite tens of thousands of people opposing it, he just used taxpayer money to bailout a project that communities don't want, that would break his own climate commitments, and that Indigenous peoples are fighting from the frontlines to the courtrooms," Thomas-Muller added. "This project is never going to be built."
I hope @JustinTrudeau knows that this decision is going to haunt him everywhere he travels in the world. Movements fighting for real climate action and Indigenous rights are everywhere. His days of getting out of Canada to bask in the adoring selfies are over. #StopKM https://t.co/ZrsM3lghir
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) May 29, 2018
Canadian govt isn't controlled by the oil companies--it is one. https://t.co/IemTTIVwO2
— Bill McKibben (@billmckibben) May 29, 2018
While the Canadian government says it does not plan to be the long-term owner of the pipeline, its decision to purchase the project on Tuesday is part of an effort to ensure the massive pipeline expansion proceeds this summer as planned.
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If completed, Trans Mountain would "triple the amount of dirty tar sands being shipped from Alberta to the coast of British Columbia," OCI's Andy Rowell noted in a blog post last week.
Denouncing the project as a grave threat to Indigenous lands and Canada's water supply, green groups and climate activists vowed to do everything in their power to thwart the pipeline expansion. On the heels of Trudeau's announcement, the Vancouver-based Indigenous rights group Coast Protectors scheduled a rally for Tuesday evening to "say no to Trudeau's pipeline buy out."
#Vancouver, TODAY is the day to say NO to Trudeau's pipeline buy out! https://t.co/CnB6wJnJvc #StopKM #YVR #cdnpoli #bcpoli #protecttheinlet #ClimateJustice #KinderMorganWillNeverBeBuilt pic.twitter.com/IefgbVuX2L
— Vancouver CoC (@VanCofCDNs) May 29, 2018
The world is watching. Trudeau and his government have sided with American big oil over Indigenous rights, the environment and our collective future.
— Tegan Hansen (@talltegan) May 29, 2018
"Trudeau is gambling billions of Canadian taxpayer dollars on an oil project that will never be built," Mike Hudema, a climate and energy Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, declared in a statement on Tuesday. "The Indigenous-led, people-powered movement that led Kinder Morgan to abandon ship on this project is stronger than ever and will not back down."