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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/27/15

Electing Trudeau Isn't Enough, We Need "Relentless Pressure From Below"

Author 25761
Message Naomi Klein
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Reprinted from EcoWatch

Co-written by Avi Lewis

Canada's newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Canada's newly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 'We remember what happened,' write the authors, 'when progressives de-mobilized after Obama was elected and we won't make the same mistake.'
(Image by Photo credit: Canada 2020 / Flickr)
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Our inboxes runneth over with congratulations from American friends. "Pleasure to be able to look north without wincing," "we're all thrilled to have regained our sensible neighbors to the north," "Goodbye Stephen 'Keystone XL' Harper." And then there was this from England: "you now officially have the hottest Prime Minister EVER!"

Like us, our friends tend to spend a lot of time thinking about climate change, so you can understand their euphoria. Among other crimes, Stephen Harper shredded environmental protections, re-fashioned our country as a petro-state and made us climate criminals on the world stage. Now after the ugliest decade in recent Canadian memory, he is gone at last.

So why are we not breathing more easily?

Perhaps it's because of a few things we learned about our new prime minister, Justin Trudeau, during the election -- details that didn't exactly make national news south of the border.

Trudeau consistently lambasted Harper for failing to sell the Obama Administration on Keystone XL. His campaign co-chair was caught advising oil industry execs on how to win quick approval from the new government for the biggest proposed tar sands pipeline in Canada. And Trudeau himself waved off questions about specific emissions cuts by saying, "what we need is not ambitious political targets."

Granted, there are also some potentially positive signs from our new PM: his promise to run deficits for three years as he spends billions on infrastructure could, if executed with real imagination and integrity, start Canada on the road to a post-carbon economy. And under Trudeau, Canada is less likely to be a belligerent, obstructionist force at COP 21, the UN climate talks in Paris next month.

But that just puts Trudeau in the same camp as most heads of state heading to Paris -- and it hardly deserves to be described "leadership." The fact is that politicians, because of their need for approval (both personal and political) consistently cling to the fantasy of an "all of the above" energy policy, which essentially means saying yes to more renewables, but refusing to say a clear "no" to opening up new fossil fuel frontiers.

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Naomi Klein is the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, now out in paperback. To read all her latest writing visit www.naomiklein.org

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