KAMLOOPS — When Prime Minister Trudeau came to Vancouver this week to sell the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, did you see the crowds of protesters following him? Did you see the phalanx of angry environmentalists greeting him outside of every media outlet, demanding he reverse his government's decision to approve the expansion? Did you see the scores of First Nations demonstrators accusing Trudeau of betraying them?
No you didn't, because that didn't happen.
When the Liberal cabinet approved the Trans Mountain project four weeks ago, environmentalists promised to fight harder than they'd ever fought before. And yet, the first time the prime minister arrived into the heart of the opposition, there was barely a whimper.
This is not taunting opponents. It's a genuine curiosity. What happened?
Perhaps, with a little more reflection, an understanding of Trudeau's attempt to balance environmental action with economic action has become more clear. While Trans Mountain was approved, Enbridge Northern Gateway was denied. Not only that, the Trans Mountain announcement came on the heels of the revelation that a national carbon price is coming our way.
Prime Minister Trudeau has had some obvious missteps in the past months. The cash-for-access fundraisers spring immediately to mind, as well as the complete bungling of electoral reform file, and glacially slow action on the overdose crisis. Perhaps trying to strike a balance on environmental action, despite initial controversy, has been one of his more successful moves.