Is EnergyEast Justin Trudeau’s Waterloo?

How often have we seen a single issue become the real turning point in an election? It hardly matters how tired and out-of-touch the party in power might be, you still need that one idea that makes the turn-over happen. Nobody wins if all you say is that it is time for change. The change must be evident. It must be real. It must have relevance.

You can imagine how at this time Justin Trudeau and his brain trust are examining the potential obstacles and opportunities in the coming election. He has to define where he and the Liberal Party stand. And one of the potential hot buttons is the EnergyEast pipeline of TransCanada Pipelines. This one issue could be as key to winning in Quebec as the blocking of the Northern Gateway and the expanded Kinder Morgan pipelines is to winning in British Columbia.

But it could also be Justin Trudeau’s Waterloo. He cannot vacillate on issues related to the tar sands. As a party the Liberal Party has to say “No” to the large scale exploitation of the Athabasca and Cold Lake tar sands. The public has to be told of the threat that tar sands oil is to our planet. They have to learn that converting tar sands bitumen to refined oil products creates three times the pollution of regular crude oil. This goes far beyond the destruction of the environment in Northern Alberta. Canadians cannot allow that pipeline to pump the poison that will destroy our planet across the country for foreign markets just for paycheques in Alberta.

EnergyEast pipeline through Quebec is not only being pushed by the Conservatives and encouraged by the New Democrats but it is supported by one of the most desperate and expensive public relations programs ever undertaken in Canada. And if Justin Trudeau buys into it, he will lose the election. Because of the routing of EnergyEast in Ontario, it lacks the weight of exposure and concern it is generating in Quebec. Quebec will vote for the party that exposes the sham of EnergyEast and says “No.”

At this point many Quebecers are telling the pollsters that they are parking their votes with the New Democrats. They will not stay there. The pro-pipeline stance of the New Democrats is the Trojan horse that will spell destruction of the party. That leaves a policy path for the Liberal Party as wide as the St. Lawrence River.

If the Liberal Party does not come out against EnergyEast, Quebec voters will have no choice but to resurrect the Bloc Québécois. There is only one refinery in Quebec that is willing to spread the pollution of refining Alberta tar sands bitumen. The owners of that refinery operate out of Calgary.

But it is no secret that the ultimate destination of EnergyEast will be the new loading docks for ocean-going tankers in Saint John, New Brunswick. All Quebec will ever get out of that pipeline is the very real risk of serious pollution from pipeline spills.

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Copyright 2014 © Peter Lowry

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