Brace yourself, Canada. If you thought the whining and wailing from truck-loving Conservatives about freedom and democracy was bad before, watch how they respond to the deal Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh just struck. It will be portrayed as equal parts fascism and socialism, and it will kick up a populist fuss the likes of which we’ve never seen in this country. And in the end, it will be worth it.

That’s because the confidence and supply agreement, which will see the NDP support the Liberal government on key votes until 2025, gives Canadians the stability and certainty they need from their government. It will buy the feds space and time to deliver on big files like pharmacare and dental care without worrying about whether there’s an election around the corner. And it will almost certainly allow Trudeau to pass his leadership baton to a successor without forcing them straight into an election.

The deal is an obvious win for the NDP, which gets to take credit (deservedly) for the introduction of key new social programs. But it’s an even bigger one for Trudeau, whose legacy as prime minister is now clear — and secure. In addition to expanding the social safety net and enhancing the role of government in our lives, the deal pours concrete onto the climate policies that have been Trudeau’s signature achievement over the last six-plus years.

The government can continue moving forward with the important work of decarbonizing the economy without having to constantly fight rearguard battles about the carbon tax and rebate or the emissions coming from the oilsands. As University of British Columbia professor Kathryn Harrison tweeted, “I’s a hugely important time to have climate policy certainty as Canada adopts key regs and solidifies carbon pricing over the next 2-3 yrs (which most CPC leadership candidates would roll back.)”

Here, Trudeau clearly learned from the experience (and mistakes) of Paul Martin, who put forward ambitious plans on child care and Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples only to see them scuttled by a 2005 confidence vote that Jack Layton’s NDP refused to support. This time, Trudeau has taken that arrow out of the NDP’s quiver, ensuring it cannot bring down his government if and when the opportunity presents itself. For a politician who is often accused by his opponents of being an intellectual lightweight, this is a very smart strategy.

Conservatives, of course, are portraying it as an undemocratic affront to the freedoms and liberties of Canadians. Never mind that there’s nothing undemocratic about a formal coalition in our system (which, to be clear, this isn’t), or that a similar agreement was struck as recently as 2017 in British Columbia between the NDP and Green Party. Interim Conservative leader Candice Bergen summed up the panicked mood in her party when she tweeted: “Right now all I can think is: God help us all.”

But perhaps the Conservatives are the authors of their own misfortune here. Maybe, after watching the party embrace the anti-democracy convoy that descended on Ottawa and seeing some of its members give comfort and aid to people advocating for a coup, the Liberal and NDP members on Parliament Hill decided they needed to do something.

Now, Canadians get to see the country governed in their best interests. Not the noisy minority that opposes progress, resists change and trades in misinformation and conspiracy theories, but the mostly silent majority that wants to avoid handing power over to the sort of paranoid populists that are poisoning other western democracies. For the next three years, at least, they don’t have to worry about that.

It’s entirely possible that come 2025, the Liberal government is defeated and that this agreement plays a role in that outcome. But if that’s the cost of progress on so many key files and issues, it’s one the Liberals should be comfortable paying. Putting country above party is what political leadership is supposed to look like, after all. Maybe the Conservative Party of Canada can learn a thing or two from watching it unfold in front of them over the next three years.

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It's true and much appreciated. This is as close as it gets to uniting the left, and showcases the fact that progressives are the majority in this country, period. With universal child care finally in place for the most part, it's also decidedly, boldly socialist, which is absolutely progressive, and better for all of us. Hurrah!
The hollow and completely contradictory "Christian" crap narrative on the right about the horrors of caring for people should finally be exposed for what it is, beating the braying cons back quite effectively. They'll be apoplectic, and powerless. Most entertaining.

Fawcett: "In addition to expanding the social safety net and enhancing the role of government in our lives, the deal pours concrete onto the climate policies that have been Trudeau’s signature achievement over the last six-plus years."

Pouring concrete. As in setting Canada's pathetic climate policies in stone — or burying them?
Mr. Fawcett should read his colleague Mr. Saxifrage's column on today's Observer:
"Wrong-way Canada emitting more while our G7 peers clean up"
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/03/23/analysis/wrong-way-canada-em...
Canada's climate policies — premised on O&G expansion and new markets — are an abysmal failure. Fossil fuel expansion ensures that Canada will fall short of its inadequate targets for decades.

Also from today's Observer:
"Though the cross-party collaboration [on climate] is welcome, Kathryn Harrison, a professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, says the language of the agreement has 'no teeth.'"
https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/03/23/news/ndp-liberal-deal-fuels-...

Fawcett: "Now, Canadians get to see the country governed in their best interests."
Make no mistake. The Liberals will continue to govern in the best interests of Canada's O&G industry, Corporate Canada, and the Big Banks. Selling your grandchildren down the river.

It’s very easy to point out that Canada’s climate policies are inadequate, even though this Liberal government has done more on the environment than any other in our history. What is much more difficult is to explain exactly how they could’ve moved any faster without risking losing power to right wing politicians who have been working day and night since 2015 to kill any program that reduces emissions that costs more than a dime.

Despite record breaking temperatures at both poles, despite freakish weather events that burned down an entire town in BC and washed out the TransCanada Highway, we still have politicians who will pretend those problems don’t exist if it means they can win power.

This agreement between the two major progressive parties might ensure a few years of stability that will allow them to make meaningful changes for the long term that won’t be strangled in the crib by short term thinking.

Are the Liberals going to lose seats and govt to the Conservatives because they move too fast on climate? Evidence?
In which provinces do the Liberals stand to lose seats by taking action on climate? Alberta (2 seats)?
Trudeau does not need to win votes from Alberta or seats in Saskatchewan to win federal elections. Liberal victories depend on Atlantic Canada, Central Canada, and the Lower Mainland. Votes from the Prairie provinces not required.
The Liberals have nothing to gain electorally by pandering to intransigent Albertans and the oilpatch.

"As in 2019, Climate change was a major issue in the campaign. In March 2021, Conservative leader O'Toole announced a carbon pricing plan to replace the current Liberal carbon tax, despite previous Conservative opposition to any form of a carbon tax."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2021_Canadian_federal_election
So it was actually the Conservatives who stood to lose seats to the Liberals because they failed to take climate change seriously. Just the opposite of what M Mulrooney suggests.

Liberal support for the oilpatch has nothing to do with winning seats in Alberta or staying in power. The neo-Liberals serve Corporate Canada and the Big Banks, heavily invested in the oilsands. It is these entities and not conservative premiers that dictate the Liberals' energy/climate policies.

In recent elections, a majority of Canadian voters have voted for parties other than Conservative. In 2015, Trudeau handily won a majority government with a strong mandate from voters on climate action.

Do the majority of Canadians support out-of-control climate change? Missing our climate targets for decades? More wildfires that consume towns and turn our skies black? More heatwaves that kill their neighbours? The extirpation of caribou in the oilsands region and south resident killer whales in the Salish Sea? Turning the oilsands region into an ecological sacrifice zone? Putting FN health at risk? A catastrophic oil spill on the West Coast?
That is the petro-agenda the Liberals are delivering on.

Are the Liberals "progressive"?
If you're not progressive on climate, don't call yourself progressive.

Are the Liberals held back on climate by conservative opposition? Or is this only a convenient excuse for planned failure?

"this Liberal government has done more on the environment than any other in our history"
An indictment of past governments, not a credit to the Trudeau Liberals.

Trudeau and the Liberal power players behind the scenes are sincere fossil fuel boosters and reluctant climate warriors — not the other way around.
Trudeau (2016): "There is growth to be had in the oilsands. They will be developing more fossil fuels while there's a market for it, while we transition off fossil fuels."
Trudeau (2017): "No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there."

Oilsands expansion enabled by new pipelines was the plan all along.
Notley and Trudeau signed on to Big Oil's fraudulent "climate" plan -- a deal forged by Big Oil and corporate Canada YEARS BEFORE Notley and Trudeau came to power.

As several articles in The Observer attest, Corporate Canada is banking on fossil fuel expansion and climate action failure. The Liberal Party is Corporate Canada's front office.
-"Canada's big banks are using your funds to play footsie with fossil fuels"
-"Climate activists target banks funding oil and gas in global day of action"

In his book, "The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada", Donald Gutstein details how neoliberal "progressive" politicians like Trudeau and Notley subverted the climate change agenda and enabled Big Oil's "predatory delay":
"The Big Stall traces the origins of the govt's climate change plan back to Big Oil. It shows how, in the last fifteen years, Big Oil has infiltrated provincial and federal govts, academia, media and the non-profit sector to sway govt and public opinion on the realities of climate change
"This is how Big Oil and think tanks unraveled the Kyoto Protocol and how Rachel Notley and Justin Trudeau came to deliver the Business Council of Canada's energy plan. Donald Gutstein explains how and why the door has been left wide open for oil companies to determine their own futures in Canada, and to go on fracking new "natural" gas wells, building new oilsands plants and constructing new pipelines.
"The Trudeau govt's purchase of the TM pipeline in 2018 illustrates how entrenched neoliberalism has become. Under neoliberalism, the role of govt is to create and enforce markets and prop them up when they fail, just as Trudeau did."
"The Rise and Fall of Trudeau's 'Grand Bargain' on Climate"
https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2018/11/14/Trudeau-Climate-Bargain/

"Justin Trudeau's grand bargain with Big Oil exposed in Donald Gutstein's The Big Stall"
"Gutstein reports in The Big Stall that six months after the Winnipeg Consensus was drafted, in 2009, heavy hitters involved in the energy industry and representatives of a small number of environmental organizations met in Banff.
"Among them was the Pembina Institute's Marlo Raynolds, who later became chief of staff to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.
Another person at this event was Gerald Butts, president of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, who is now the senior political adviser to Trudeau. D'Aquino's successor, former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley, was also present.
"But the biggest news from Banff was the presence of six representatives of a new player on the scene, the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC)," Gutstein writes. "This organization was incorporated the same month the Winnipeg Consensus was reached, October 2009. It had the backing of Canada's largest fossil fuel companies, like Shell Canada, Imperial Oil, Canadian Natural Resources, and Suncor Energy, pipeline companies TransCanada Corporation and Enbridge, plus the major fossil fuel industry associations and especially the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers."
"Gutstein told the Straight that he believes Manley was groomed for his position as president and CEO of the Business Council of Canada because he would be well positioned to endorse a carbon tax as part of a grand bargain that would also ensure a Liberal government would include pipeline projects in any national climate plan."
(The Georgia Straight, Nov 14th, 2018 )
https://www.straight.com/news/1164161/justin-trudeaus-grand-bargain-big-...
*
"So on climate, Trudeau was presented as this kind of river-paddling environmental Adonis. He promised that fossil fuel projects wouldn't go ahead without the permission of communities. But the Liberals create these public spectacles of their bold progressiveness while they quietly assure the corporate elite that their interests will be safeguarded. So at the same time Trudeau was going around the country and convincing people that he was this great climate hope, the Liberal party had for years been assuring big oil & gas interests that there would not be any fundamental change to the status quo.
"As early as 2013, Trudeau was telling the Calgary Petroleum Club that he differed with Harper not so much about the necessity of exporting huge amounts of tarsands internationally, but because he didn't think Harper's approach — which stoked divisions and an incredible amount of resistance that turned Canada into a climate pariah — was the most effective marketing approach.
"The Liberal climate plan essentially is a reworking of the business plan of Big Oil and the broader corporate lobby. …The plan is to support a carbon tax and to effectively make it a cover for expanded tarsands production and pipelines. That was a plan hatched by the Business Council of Canada back in 2006, 2007. For 20 years oil companies had resisted any kind of regulation or any kind of carbon tax and fought it seriously. But they started to realize that it would be a kind of concession that they would have to make in order to assure stability and their bottom line not being harmed. The climate bargain that Trudeau went on to strike with Alberta of a carbon tax plus expanded tarsands production was precisely the deal that Big Oil had wanted."
"How Trudeau's Broken Promises Fuel the Growth of Canada's Right" (The Tyee, 4 Sep 2019)
https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2019/09/04/Trudeau-Broken-Promises-Fuel-Right/

The Conservatives, the alt-right, and many of our Premiers, don't have a clue about democracy or freedom. Democracy means compromise, discussion, looking to future betterment of we citizens. Freedom is not the right to impose conservative looking backwards views on the majority. Freedom means means put our heads together and move forward, not confrontation or my way or the highway!

Beautiful, Max, just beautiful.
"Now, Canadians get to see the country governed in their best interests. Not the noisy minority that opposes progress, resists change and trades in misinformation and conspiracy theories, but the mostly silent majority that wants to avoid handing power over to the sort of paranoid populists that are poisoning other western democracies. For the next three years, at least, they don’t have to worry about that ... Putting country above party is what political leadership is supposed to look like, after all. Maybe the Conservative Party of Canada can learn a thing or two from watching it unfold in front of them over the next three years. '

"God help us all."

I think she is.

A very well done article, with which I don’t entirely agree. But best of all is this excellent discussion in which diverse comments and disagreements are generally factually based and thus informative & helpful to less knowledgeable folks like me. And are also expressed in a civil and mutually respectful way that is very refreshing. THANK YOU to all the commentators.