Don Martin: Does Trudeau love all of Canada? That’s a good question now.

Halfway via the 2008 federal election marketing campaign, a mischievous reporter determined he’d had sufficient of boring information conferences and requested Conservative Chief Stephen Harper if he cherished Canada.

It was extra about getting an increase out of the notoriously unflappable Harper and, if reminiscence serves, the chief’s glare of a solution didn’t precisely show he had a pulse.

However on two fronts – one symbolic, one substantive – it wouldn’t be fairly so outlandish to ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that very same query right this moment.

First the symbolism: The prime minister’s half-masted flag-flap has gone from empathetic gesture reflecting widespread sympathy for younger Indigenous victims who didn’t survive residential faculty horrors to inducing fed-up antagonism in some quarters and triggering a polarized political debate.

The remainder of the democratic world should be slack-jawed to see a Canada the place the raging debate of the political second is whether or not to briefly elevate the nation’s flag after six months at half-mast solely to decrease it once more for Remembrance Day. All this whereas we look forward to everlasting flag-raising approval from Indigenous leaders who don’t appear to have a transparent place on how and when to finish this unprecedented show of Canadian self-shaming.

However, now that I’ve acquired that vent out of my system, this isn’t the one purple flag sign of Trudeau dividing Canada in opposition to itself.

His trade of velvet gloves for brass knuckles by imposing a tough cap on Alberta oil emissions makes one surprise if essentially the most correct headline can be “Canada Declares Conflict In opposition to Canada.”

No one can declare with a straight face that the oilsands are something however blight on Canada’s environmental report and in want of a continued clean-up.

However Trudeau’s single-minded takedown of oilsands manufacturing is like banning Christmas tree gross sales so he can begin delivering on his three-year-old pledge to increase our forests by two billion timber, a promise that has but to take root.

Canada’s oil emissions drawback isn’t home manufacturing as a lot as inner combustion.

If we may cut back emissions to zero by shutting down the oilsands, 80 per cent of Canada’s emissions would nonetheless be belched out by burning imported oil in vehicles and vehicles. The one tangible end result can be the lack of virtually half 1,000,000 direct or oblique Canadian jobs and about $10 billion in authorities income.

It’s tempted to counsel Trudeau additionally impose a manufacturing cap on vehicles and vehicles being in-built Ontario, however that may produce an equally-futile net-zero change in our behaviour past driving solely imported vehicles.

So we’re left with a Trudeau assault on home oil that’s counterbalanced by an equal and reverse profit for international oil exporters like Saudi Arabia.

Once more, there’s no disputing that the oilsands want political arm-twisting to throttle down its smokestacks.

However no lesser authority than the federal authorities’s personal web site provides the oilsands a nod for getting emissions per barrel down virtually a 3rd from its peak.

That’s the place Trudeau’s financial re-engineering thrust needs to be focussed, be it actively supporting small modular nuclear reactors to energy the oilsands or ramping up the large potential of hydrogen, which acquired a multi-billion-dollar Edmonton funding from Air Merchandise Canada final summer time.

Trudeau absolutely is aware of it’s pointless within the grand international scheme of issues to dam the tailpipe of a Canadian financial engine just like the oilsands, which generates 0.1 of worldwide emissions, when China belches out extra greenhouse gases than the remainder of the developed world mixed and doesn’t even present up for the COP 26 convention.

However he did it anyway, a Jean Chretien repeat of Kyoto in 1997 when the previous prime minister caught provinces without warning with a tough pledge to chop emissions which, his high adviser later admitted to realizing, was simply signing-symbolism and never an achievable objective.

To see Trudeau, now “dean” of the G7, delivering one other hot-air promise for just-watch-me consideration from different world leaders has all the weather of Chretien historical past repeating itself.

For conserving our proud flag half-masted lengthy after an essential level has been made and for vowing to smother Alberta oil manufacturing which can be wanted for many years to come back, the query is now value asking: Does Justin Trudeau love all of Canada?

That’s the underside line.

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