Criticism of Liberal Climate Plan shortcomings brings out Liberal chill

Liberals will picture politicians like Scheer, Ford and Kenney as the targets of Greta Thunberg’s anger. But young people tend to loathe hypocrisy above all else

For a time this week, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna had blocked Climate Strike Canada — which describes itself as “the overarching network of students, young people, activists and allies, which connects all of the climate action surrounding the Canadian school strike movement” — on Twitter.

McKenna later pleaded ignorance and apologized. It’s certainly not impossible to block someone by accident. But in the meantime it was entirely believable at face value. As determined as Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government is to be seen on the leading edge of the world’s battle against climate change, certain of its members have very thin skin when it comes to people noting the gaps between their rhetoric and their achievements — especially if they do so a bit impolitely, without paying the proper respects to the Liberals’ efforts as compared to the Conservatives’.

This tweet, from Climate Strike Canada to McKenna earlier in the week, might irk them, for example: “How dare YOU lie to us over and over again about your commitment to the crisis. #seperateoilandstate.” (The student activists see a contradiction in the government buying the TransMountain pipeline when its environment minister routinely says things like “our planet is burning.”)

Kids aren’t interested in splitting the difference on much of anything, let alone the future of the planet they live on, which people like McKenna and Trudeau insist over and over again is severely imperiled. “(Greta Thunberg) represents simple plain common sense that only a young person that hasn’t been disciplined enough to toe the line can bring,” Ben Clarkson of the climate advocacy group La Planète s’invite au Parlement told Global News this week.

Thunberg is the sort of figure in whose reflected glory Trudeau must dearly wish he could bask. It’s what he was born to do. Whatever one thinks of Thunberg as a phenomenon, the sight of her face twisted in righteous anger at the United Nations on Monday, jabbing her finger at world leaders and asking “how dare you?” was utterly compelling — a richly deserved rebuke to those failing to solve a problem they describe as a looming global catastrophe.

Liberals will picture politicians like Andrew Scheer, Stephen Harper, Doug Ford and Jason Kenney at the business end of Thunberg’s jab. But young people tend to loathe hypocrisy above all else, and Trudeau evinces no less than the aforementioned conservatives.