What does Justin Trudeau really think about Alberta and the oilsands and the people who work there?
The real answer is he probably doesn’t think a lot about it — or any other policy area. Trudeau is more about looking dreamy. He leaves the grown-up stuff, like policy, to someone else. In this case, to Gerald Butts, his “principal adviser.”
Butts has quite a lot to say about the oilsands. For years, he was the boss of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, an environmentalist lobby group that took hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign interests to campaign against the oilsands. Never against OPEC oil; only against Canadian oil.
When he was at the WWF, Butts compared government oilsands defenders to tobacco executives. Here’s the first few lines of a column he wrote for the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest newspaper: “Keep smoking, kids. We need the tax revenue. Trust us, we will cure cancer by the time you get it. So goes our national political leaders’ myopic view of the tar sands.”