Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s definition du jour of the “national interest” in the Kinder Morgan pipeline has not been subjected to serious journalistic scrutiny, writes Georgia Straight Editor and former investigative journalism instructor Charlie Smith, in a commentary that points a finger at Canadian media fixtures like Evan Solomon, Rosemary Barton, Vassey Kapelos, Anna Maria Tremonti, Michael Enright, Carol Off, and Eric Sorenson.
“It’s been astonishing to witness national media coverage of the Kinder Morgan pipeline dispute between Alberta and B.C.,” Smith writes. “Virtually every commentator east of the Rockies appears to be of one mind.” Which means “they’ve drunk the federal Liberal and Alberta NDP Kool-Aid that this carbon-spewing project to mostly benefit U.S. shareholders is in the ‘national interest’.”
The “logical corollary,” Smith adds, “is that the Paris climate agreement is not really in the national interest,” since the project would undermine the country’s ability to meet a 2030 carbon reduction target that is already moving farther out of reach.
Smith points to the threats the pipeline poses to British Columbia’s tourism industry, rising floodwaters in Bangladesh and the Maldives, drought in sub-Saharan Africa and Mexico, the homes that will be lost in future forest fires, respiratory health impacts in communities from Vancouver to Kamloops and Quesnel, and future hurricanes in the Caribbean and Gulf states as climate impacts that are left out of the narrative about the project.
“‘National interest’ is a phrase designed to make Canadians with concerns about the pipeline appear to be parochial, small-minded, and opposed to the greater good,” he writes. “The reality is that those who are risking arrest have a much broader interest: the survival of humanity on Earth in the face of rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions.” And that, Smith notes, “is the antithesis of parochialism.”