Keenly aware that his greatest future electoral opportunity is in Quebec, and his greatest challenge in Alberta, Ignatieff essentially told Quebecers they needed to get with the program when it comes to the Alberta tar sands.That last paragraph, by the way, made the ghost of Lester Pearson weep. Because, you see, Canadian Prime Ministers were never listened to at all before the tar sands came around.
"The stupidest thing you can do (is) to run against an industry that is providing employment for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, and not just in Alberta, but right across the country," Ignatieff told an audience largely of business graduate students at HEC Montreal, a management school affiliated with the University of Montreal....
"We provide more oil to the United States than Saudi Arabia. That changes everything," he insisted. "It means that when the prime minister of Canada goes into the White House, he gets listened to, in ways that Canadian prime ministers have not been listened to before.
But to the main point: if there's any hope of controlling climate change, the tar sands have to be shuttered just like all fossil fuels. By 2030, if possible, but certainly "soon" in an actuarial sense. Suncor and Encana can't be allowed to build many new projects with the expectation that they'll be able to run them for 50 years or more. (Lest I be accused of, in Ignatieff's words, national disunity I'd also say I've argued that we need a lot fewer people making cars in Ontario.)
To this basic, scientific fact we have Michael Ignatieff's response: "We're going to have this thing developing for a century. Let's do it right."
So it's now the official policy of the Liberal Party that the oil sands will continue to be developed for 100 years. Dear God in heaven, let's hope he doesn't mean they'll be expanding for 100 years, or we're all doomed.