Beset by scandal, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffles his cabinet again, bringing in Joyce Murray as Treasury Board president. And she says the stuff politicians say when their mouths are on autopilot: Blah blah climate blah blah climate blah blah. The Vancouver Sun reports that, in words so trite they merit only a paraphrase, “Murray… said it’s time to move on from the controversy and focus on the government’s efforts to reduce poverty, tackle climate change and create jobs.” Zzzzzz.
It is impossible to know what Murray’s words are meant to mean, if anything. Does tackling climate change mean stopping all of it, natural or human-influenced? How does the Treasury Board president focus on it given that the policy of a small carbon tax is already being implemented and will, by its advocates’ own assumptions, have virtually no impact on climate or indeed, at a few cents a litre of gas, on emissions? Is something new coming? Does it matter? Like the boilerplate about poverty, it’s just what you say to prove you are a good person.
By this point the gap between words, deeds and ideas in the Trudeau administration has become unusually wide and obvious. Among other things, Murray said after her swearing-in that "I will never accept that the [Trans Mountain Expansion] pipeline is negative for climate change, because in fact it brought Alberta into the pan-Canadian framework, taking significant action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so that we can meet our objectives as a country." As a backbench Vancouver MP she vocally opposed TMX including in a paper circulated to caucus. But why let convictions stand in the way of advancement? What, indeed, can convictions mean to those who have long since ceased to understand the distinction between words and deeds?