Marlo Raynolds

Trudeau Just Approved a Giant Carbon Bomb in B.C.

Catherine McKenna and Christy Clark

The federal government has issued an approval for the $36-billion Pacific Northwest liquified natural gas (LNG) export terminal on Lelu Island on the B.C. coast, undermining its commitments to take action on climate change.

Tuesday’s decision — announced an hour behind schedule in Richmond, B.C., by a trio of ministers including Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna — means it will be virtually impossible for B.C. to meet its climate targets.

The announcement was seen as the litmus test on whether the Liberals would live up to its climate promises.

With today’s decision on the Pacific NorthWest LNG project, Minister McKenna made it much more difficult for Canada to meet its climate targets and signaled that it’s OK for provinces to miss their own emissions targets,” said Matt Horne of the Pembina Institute.

“If built, Pacific NorthWest LNG will be one of the largest carbon polluters in the country and a serious obstacle to Canada living up to its climate commitments.”

Pacific Northwest LNG — wholly owned by the Malaysian government and boasting a questionable human rights record — lobbied the federal government 22 times between February 1 and April 21 this year, including meetings with McKenna and her chief of staff Marlo Raynolds.

Liberals Targeted By Flurry of Fossil Fuel Lobbying Since Coming To Power

Suncor CEO Steve Williams

Only three-and-a-half months have passed since the federal election, but fossil fuel companies and lobby groups haven’t wasted any time in ramping up their lobbying efforts.
 
Suncor, the country’s largest energy company by revenue, has led the pack in meeting with high-ranking federal officials — logging at least 12 meetings in just over one month.
 
Between Nov. 2 and Nov. 19 the dominant oilsands player met four times with Louise Metivier, who was Canada’s chief negotiator at the UN climate summit held in Paris between Nov. 30 and Dec. 12.
 
Steve Williams, the company’s CEO and head lobbyist, also met three times with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna (on Nov. 18, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8) another three times with Environment Canada’s chief of staff Marlo Raynolds (on Nov. 5, Dec. 7 and Dec. 9) and twice more with Gerald Butts, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s right-hand man and principal secretary ( Nov. 18 and Nov. 19).
 
“The meetings were preparatory meetings for Suncor’s participation at COP 21 in Paris,” explained Sneh Seetal, spokesperson at Suncor, via e-mail. “Our president and CEO, Steve Williams, attended as a member of the Canadian delegation at the invitation of the federal government. We discussed Suncor’s perspectives on climate change and how industry can help be a part of the solution.”

‘It’s a New Day’: Why Environmentalists Need to Change Their Strategy Under Trudeau Government

Ottawa climate protest

Nine and a half years. That’s how long Stephen Harper was prime minister of Canada — a long haul for environmentalists, who were all but shut out of Ottawa and often antagonized by the federal government.

Now that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have taken the helm, advocates have high hopes for a course correction on the environment and energy files. But after nearly a decade of working under hostile conditions, environmentalists need to make a course correction of their own if they want to effectively influence public policy, experts say.   

If I was running a large ENGO and my file was climate, it’s a new day,” said Allan Northcott, vice-president of Max Bell Foundation, which runs the Public Policy Training Institute to train non-profit leaders in how to effectively advocate for policy changes.

The opportunity is different, so it’s going to require a different plan, a different strategy.”

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