It really seemed like Justin Trudeau’s political future was in peril this time. This scandal was too massive. The implications were too damaging for too many Canadians.
No politician – no matter how wily or photogenic – could avoid the repercussions.
Or so we thought.
The real scandal, with all due respect to the intrigue of SNC-Lavalin, is Canada’s inaction on climate change – something that impacts all of us.
Shortly after a federal report illustrated that Canada could see 10 times as many deadly heat waves, twice as many extreme rainstorms, and the loss of our permafrost due to climate change, we heard even more alarming noise from Canada’s Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand.
In short, Gelfand pointed out that while the climate is changing, we aren’t.
We aren’t on track to reach our 2030 greenhouse gas emission targets. We aren’t doing all we can to promote investment in clean energy. And, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Canada is still offering more than $1.2 billion in subsidies to fossil fuel companies.
On top of that is the $4.5 billion the federal government paid for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that terminates in Burnaby. That’s just a minimum figure as analysts say the true costs will be billions of dollars more.
We’re like a condemned man offering to help pay for the cost of the rope.
And so we waited for an ambitious politician to use that scandal to further their own political ambitions.
Instead, we were treated to a succession of ridiculous selfies of politicians at gas pumps, advising Canadians to fill their tanks before the carbon tax came into effect. That tax – which puts a price on pollution - was previously assailed for not altering behaviour enough.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer vowed to scrap what he dubbed an unfair tax. What he failed to offer was any sort of real solution. Instead, he stooped low to actually hold a press conference in front of a gas station.
As for federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, he is opposed to the Trans Mountain project and has an ambitious plan to fight climate change. Then again, he also supports a massive LNG project that even his party’s own candidate, Svend Robinson, thinks is a climate disaster so we’re not giving him too much praise right now.
Our nation and our world are in the midst of a crisis. We need real leadership on this issue and, so far, we’re not getting it from the prime minister.