Loose Nukes, Our Noxious Senate, and Justin Trudeau: Bitumen Monger

It may have entered the realm of Internet memes up there with cat videos and #fail, but in the hopes that it hasn’t been utterly ruined yet: Air Force officers of the United States missile command, you had one joblock the goddamn door before naptime. The Associated Press reported earlier this week that on at least two occasions men whose job it is to maintain a state of awareness in case we go to war with Russia, China, or whoever went to sleep with the doors of their bunker open, a no-no as far as the security procedures of the USAF are concerned.

This, of course, follows on the revelations of decades of iffy security around the things that make the biggest of booms in the American arsenal, with bucolic American towns apparently coming within a hair’s breadth of being vaporized not because of the vagaries of international politics but because somebody dropped a screwdriver. It will eventually occur to us that these things are too dangerous to have around mere mortals, right?


There is not enough popcorn in the world for the national meltdown we’ve witnessed in the Canadian Senate this week. If watching Patrick Brazeau try to claim the moral high ground on anything, anywhere wasn’t enough, the spectacle of Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin suddenly throwing all of the Conservative Party’s dirty laundry out in to the street for all to see is simply delicious. We can’t say that we weren’t warned: as Don Martin reminded us earlier this year, Duffy’s north star is his own ambition. (That video was pulled from CTV, but it’s 2013 and nothing ever disappears from the Internet.) The idea that Duffy would remain loyal to the Conservative brand after it stopped being useful for him to was always a theory in want of evidence.

The Senate as a body will now vote on whether to suspend Brazeau, Wallin, and Duffy, and Tory senators are already making noises about not jumping when Harper says frog. Which is, after all, demonstrating that the Senate is capable of the political independence it was designed for. If it weren’t using that independence to defend its own noxious privilege, you could almost respect it.


Finally, Justin Trudeau was in D.C. this week and took some time out to try and sell the Americans on Keystone XL. This shouldn’t actually surprise anyone (though saying it in front of the left-wing think tank Center for American Progress might, a bit), since Trudeau has eagerly picked up and dusted off the old Liberal dream of some day winning a seat in Alberta. Our last indication of Trudeau’s western ambitions was, of course, his endorsement of the CNOOC-Nexen takeover.

Trudeau can reasonably claim to have been right about Nexen for the right reasons: he said last year that approving the Chinese takeover of Nexen wasn’t just about the deal itself, “but the many opportunities like them that will follow in their footsteps. China is scanning the world for acquisitions like a shopper in a grocery store…. Canada has perhaps more potential to capitalize on this.” The Tories, however, approved CNOOC and then brought in rules to make sure it would never happen again—with the predictable result that foreign investment in the tar sands has fallen off a cliff.

Trudeau’s stance on Keystone is still dubious from a climate-change point of view, and it may even be dubious economics if the American shale oil boom continues. But it’s a notable shift for the Liberal Party, which has gone in five years from being the party of Stephane Dion, climate warrior, to Justin Trudeau, bitumen monger. Given the fate of Stephane Dion that’s probably understandable, but it leaves Trudeau open to a fair attack on the environment, if anyone cares to make it.

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