The prime minister talks a lot about the rule of law.
When court challenges cause interminable delays in the Trans Mountain pipeline, Canadians are told the rule of law must prevail. Everyone with an axe to grind is entitled to plea their case before the courts, costing Alberta and Canada millions of dollars every day in lost energy revenue.
Now, apparently the rule of law doesn’t apply. Protesters across the country are ignoring court injunctions requiring them to remove their blockades and stop preventing the movement of goods and passengers.
The illegal protests have forced CN Rail to shut down its Eastern Canada operations and compelled Via Rail to cancel its passenger service across the country. That’s quite a feat for a relatively small group of people acting outside the law and in possession of no legitimate authority.
At issue is a pipeline from northern British Columbia to Kitimat, where liquified natural gas will be shipped to Asia. Once there, the energy will replace dirty coal that is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
The fact Canada can assist in replacing dirty fossil fuels with clean ones should be cause for celebration, not condemnation by rogue actors.
The project has the support of the 20 elected First Nation band councils along the route. Together, they’ve secured $620 million in economic benefits, including contracts for Indigenous businesses.
The holdout are a handful of hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. Their opposition has been allowed to morph into anarchy, squashing the rule of law under their unruly feet and threatening the Canadian economy.
The prime minister is to blame for this. Trudeau’s commitment to reconciliation with First Nations is admirable and long overdue action by a federal leader. But it does not give Indigenous people and their misguided supporters the right to hold the country hostage.
Trudeau has blithely gone along mouthing sentiments of support to all sorts of aggrieved groups, never imagining for a minute he might have to stand up for something. Never thinking he might have to stand up for Canada.
It’s laughable that he has been traipsing around Africa trying to secure enough votes to secure Canada a seat on the UN Security Council. The influential global body needs leadership, not platitudes. Trudeau’s Canada is the antithesis of what’s required to make the Security Council relevant.
No other country would tolerate the level of civil disobedience that Canada is enduring today.
Trudeau is also to blame for creating the environment that imbues protesters with the notion they can bring the country to its knees simply because of their feigned sense of right.
He undermines the energy industry at every chance and hobbles the prospect of future growth by imposing meddlesome legislation.
If the country’s prime minister thinks our critical energy industry is an anachronism, an embarrassment to the country’s imagined green bragging rights, is it any wonder that similarly naive people would reach the same conclusion and seek to stifle important infrastructure.
That fact is we need reliable, affordable energy. The world needs reliable, affordable energy.
Trudeau should consider following the example of his father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and invoke the War Measures Act, which gives him sweeping powers to restore order and democracy to Canada.
Failing that, he should insist that the lawbreakers are dealt with swiftly and harshly.
David Marsden is managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate.