The Trudeau government saw the 2016 U.S. election result as “positive” news for the country’s pipeline industry and sought help from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) to maximize the opportunity, according to blockbuster documents obtained by Greenpeace Canada under access to information laws.
Meetings between senior federal officials, CAPP, and TransCanada Corporation “reveal a one-sided approach more reminiscent of former prime minister Stephen Harper’s secret oil advocacy than Justin Trudeau’s green electoral promises,” The Guardian reports. “The Liberal government has strongly backed the export of Alberta tar sands via the Keystone XL pipeline,” and the previously-undisclosed documents “show the Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister met around the same time with TransCanada’s CEO Russ Girling and CAPP to discuss the continued promotion of the pipeline and oil exports.”
CAPP “specifically will be interested to hear the outcomes of the recent visits by Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Freeland to the United States, as well as volunteering their services (or those of members) in the Government’s U.S. engagement efforts,” one of the documents stated.
“The Parliamentary Secretary was advised to respond by saying ‘we welcome your engagement offer and would like to stay in touch,’” The Guardian notes.
“The swearing in of a new administration in the United States that recognizes the strategic importance of Canada’s role in North American energy security is, so far, positive news for the Canadian energy sector with regard to a potential increase in energy trade,” stated one May, 2017 government document. The Guardian contrasts that conclusion with Trudeau’s election commitment to an “ambitious North American clean energy and environment agreement” that would make the continent the “world’s most efficient and responsible energy producer.”
“Canadians who voted for Trudeau probably didn’t expect him to use Trump’s election as an opportunity to bypass concerns over environmental protection and Indigenous rights,” said Greenpeace Senior Energy Analyst Keith Stewart. “The Trudeau government’s abandonment of ambitious climate policy in dealing with Trump and their backroom outreach to oil lobbyists has more in common with the Harper government than the actions of a self-proclaimed climate champion.”