It seems like the Prime Minister is beginning to develop a Trump-like fascination with spreading fake news propagated from within the inner core of his parties establishment and supported by his preferred media sources.
Following a visit to Suncor’s Fort Hill operation, Trudeau said the Harper government failed to get major pipeline projects built because Canadians did not trust those in power “to both grow the economy and protect the environment.”
He went onto proclaim that “for 10 years, Stephen Harper’s government talked up the oilsands, but couldn’t get it done…their lack of any sort of responsibility on the environment didn’t just hurt the environment, it hurt the economy.”
How true are these claims?
Questionable enough that within minutes, Jason Kenney, leader of Alberta’s United Conservative Party and a former cabinet minister in the Harper government, tweeted that Trudeau’s claim is “demonstrably false.”
This would be fairly obvious to anyone looking without bias as under the Harper Conservative government, two entirely new oil pipelines were approved and actually built: The non-XL version of Keystone, from Alberta to Nebraska, approved in 2006, completed in 2010; and The Alberta Clipper, to Wisconsin, approved in 2008 and active in 2010.
The changeover in Line 9 taking oil west to east was also approved and activated under the Harper Tories.
In total, Alberta got an added 1.73-million barrels a day worth of pipeline capacity under the last government.
How did this false claim start?
According to the Financial Post, a cavalcade of journalists alongside federal and provincial politicians on the left helped make that happen.
First Max Fawcett, the former editor of Alberta Oil magazine, tweeting “Dear conservatives: It was Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley that got a pipeline to tidewater. Enjoy your cognitive dissonance.”
Then a CBC TV panellist said the Tories had provincial support for federal backing but “never got it done” on pipelines.
Once on the news, Alberta’s NDP picked it up and amplified its importance with Environment Minister Shannon Phillips spreading a tweet from a Liberal activist: “So in the end, it took 2 progressive govs working together on climate change to get pipelines approved, and do what Con(servative) govs could not.”
The story at this point went onto become so viral before anyone fact checked it that even the National Post’s columnists wrote Trudeau got “a job done that Captain Oil Sands (Stephen Harper) couldn’t?” How “frustrating” for the Tories.
This capacity for the Prime Minister and multiple levels of government to easily spread fake news with near to no repercussion from most mainstream outlets is a serious problem.
Ideological comfort with the Prime Minister or politicians on the left should not lead journalists into a position in which they are blind to the same spreading of a false narrative that they attack the hard right for.
It’s time we hold all politicians to the same standard when it comes to facts and telling the truth.
What do you think? Let us know below!