Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
It's been a bad week for Justin Trudeau, and it looks like it's only going to get worse.
On Tuesday—following a multi-day, near-unanimous roast of the prime minister's decision to remember Fidel Castro as a "revolutionary" rather than a dictator—Trudeau helped his declining popularity on social media by announcing that not just one, but two of Canada's long-awaited/highly-debated pipeline projects are getting the greenlight from his federal government.
Both the Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan project and the Line 3 pipeline—which have faced fierce opposition from Indigenous and environmental activists since they were proposed during the Harper administration—were approved by the Trudeau government, while the Northern Gateway pipeline was rejected.
"Canadians know that strong action on the environment is good for the economy," Trudeau told reporters at a Tuesday press conference in Ottawa. "We have made this decision because it is safe for BC and it is right for Canada."
Immediately following the announcement, voices of opposition—from citizens on social media to political figures—spoke out against Trudeau.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson—who has been a staunch opponent of the pipeline project—said in a statement that he was "profoundly disappointed" by the decision.
"Vancouver's work with the federal government on transit, housing, welcoming refugees and other shared priorities has been overwhelmingly positive, but approving Kinder Morgan's heavy oil pipeline expansion is a big step backwards for Canada's environment and economy," the statement reads.
"This project was approved under a flawed and biased Harper-era regulatory process that shut out local voices and ignored climate change and First Nations concerns."
Oil kissing ass
— Sophia Banks (@sophiaphotos)November 30, 2016
On Twitter, many users called Trudeau a hypocrite for both promising to push an environmentally-sustainable Canada, and still approving two massively-criticized pipeline projects.
"'Climate change is real..' so we need to build pipelines to fund a carbon-free world. - Trudeau. Delusional nonsense," Ricochet founding editor Derrick O'Keefe wrote, echoing a similar sentiment of NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.
"People expected something different from Stephen Harper's promise when they voted [for the] Liberals," Mulcair told reporters Tuesday. "They feel betrayed, very sad, and they feel misled by our prime minister, who said we could expect something different."
I thought Justin trudeau had a chance to resist the European colonial system but nope. He failed. I had hoped he wouldve prove me wrong.
— DRoss (@debross01)November 30, 2016
Almost immediately after the announcement, Trudeau's Twitter account released a series of tweets defending his choice to approve the pipelines, noting that heavy consideration went on before making the announcement.
"We've always been clear in our position that strong resource development goes hand in hand with strong environmental protection," Trudeau tweeted.
"We've worked hard to develop policies that stick to these values—creating good, middle class jobs, and protecting our environment."
Despite approving the projects, Trudeau now has a fight ahead of him: on Tuesday evening, over 100 First Nations and Indigenous tribes released a statement via Treaty Alliance (a collective meant to combat the construction of Canadian pipelines), vowing that the pipelines will "never see the light of day."
"Let's be clear, this is about our survival. This is about protecting our home," Rueben George of the Tsleli-Wantuth First Nation, said in the statement. "We are going to stop Kinder Morgan by working together. This is everyone's problem. Trudeau's permits are worthless without our consent."
Later Tuesday evening, hundreds showed up in Vancouver to stage a massive protest against the pipeline decision.
Follow Jake Kivanc on Twitter.