PM’s dithering derailing pipeline, devaluing faith in Trudeau’s Trans Mountain pledge

Dear Justin: what’s with you?

If you actually believe the Trans Mountain pipeline is in the national interest, if you actually believe federal approval in federal jurisdiction means a project must be built without impediment, then what is the problem?

Why are you merely issuing tweets, sending your junior minister out to wag his finger at the opponents, and making the same stale statements in odd and out-of-the-way places? Shouldn’t you be dropping your Challenger jet at YVR, finding a downtown Vancouver podium and hollering that the Kinder Morgan pipeline is on, and up-yours to the antagonists?

Is it that you fear the consequences politically, that you might lose some seats in Metro Vancouver? Is it that you doubt your stated convictions, that the state-of-the-art construction and the environmental and marine mediation might not be adequate to the task? If not, what on earth is holding you back?

Your dithering has planted enough seeds of doubt to get Kinder Morgan to cease investment and put an end-of-May deadline to figure out if this is a go – and presumably to get you to come out of the bushes. This has emboldened the protesters, made them feel like they’ve already won the battle and made you look weak in the eyes of those who depend on certainty from a national leader.

Your talk-and-no-walk treatment of Alberta has your important and unlikely ally, premier Rachel Notley, pretty much throwing you to the curb. And by the way, good luck with Jason Kenney – you’ll relish him if he becomes the next first minister. Mind you, if this project doesn’t proceed, how can you be trusted by any first minister to deliver?

So, let me scratch my head, because it’s hard to figure: what’s going on here?

Did you assume all along the courts would snuff the pipeline twinning, owing to First Nations appeals? Was that your get-out-of-jail-free card? Your chance to say you’d tried but the courts are the courts and we must respect the courts? If so, why didn’t you state your caveats in late 2016 when you made the seemingly decisive call to proceed?

Have you been dazed and confused by the strategy of the John Horgan government? Is its puck-ragging and study-creating and eventual-court-seeking any sort of surprise? Was there a blackout in the spring of 2017? Did you not get news from British Columbia during the election campaign?

You say it’s madness to leave oil in the ground, ridiculous to not find the most efficient way to find the best market for it worldwide, and yet you’re utterly inept at marshalling the means to remove the impediments that stall the project.

For a boxer, you don’t seem to possess the footwork to put someone into the corner and take charge of the fight. Here you are today, basically in the middle of the ring with no path to a knockout.

If you have had a change of heart and now don’t see the mission of the project as virtuous, as helping effect your climate action strategy by bringing Alberta into a carbon tax plan, then for heaven’s sake just tell us. Tell us you’ve moved off the idea.

But if you believe, as Twitter tells us you do, that this is going to get built, that this is a national project of importance, that it is indeed in federal jurisdiction, then get off the pot.

You came to Vancouver last week and raised money, mostly from people who want the Trans Mountain project to proceed. You could have used the opportunity to raise hopes for those you say you support, instead of seeking theirs. You should have been, well, direct and prime ministerial – we could count on that with your father.

We don’t need a peek-a-boo prime minister on an issue so integral to our economy. We need you to either suffocate it, deal with the mess or get on with it speedily.

My goodness, man up.