By: Graham Lane
Published: January 20, 2017, Winnipeg Sun
Justin Trudeau has set the stage for a return to power of the federal Conservatives in the next election. His comments disparage Canada’s oil sands if not our entire oil and gas industry. Just back from a family holiday as a guest of the Aga Khan, Trudeau suggests Canada move away from extracting and exporting fossil fuel (hydrocarbons). Bizarrely, he seems unaware that our bountiful natural resources significantly contribute to our good standard of living.
When he gave his negative take on our valuable hydrocarbon bounty, he had already pronounced a mandatory carbon dioxide tax would be imposed: like it or not, provinces! He surely knows that Canada’s emissions represent a minuscule 1.6% of global emissions, compared to America’s 13% and China’s 24%.
This Prime Minister likes cameras and attention, he bathes in it. Being the poster boy for the shaky theory of man-made climate change attracts attention for him at the cost of taxpayers, industry, and lower-income households. He appears oblivious to Ontario’s mortally unpopular Liberal government. Their green energy policies have damaged that province’s economy, converting a former powerhouse of Confederation to a ‘have not’ province recipient of equalization grants.
Canada’s economy depends on trade. The largest nation we trade with is the US, a country now led by a President who has no time for climate change shenanigans. Trump is aggressively promoting cheap hydrocarbon energy, tax cuts, deregulation, and an America-first trade policy. Mystifyingly oblivious to the Trump revolution, Trudeau naively slams our vibrant oil and gas industry, with promises to “phase-out” the oil sands, while muscling the provinces to heap what is set to be a ruinously misguided carbon tax regime on industry and struggling Canadians, particularly those facing energy poverty.
Imagine a Canada without oil and gas to boost our economy: it would be a much poorer country, unable to generate the living standards we now enjoy. Think about a US 60 cent loonie and inflation from higher-cost import, coming from a massive currency devaluation.
Hydrocarbon energy revenues fuel our universal health system, employ hundreds of thousands of jobs and hold down our already excessive tax burdens. Without our oil and gas revenues, could we afford to transfer $18 billion a year to prop up uneconomical remote indigenous communities?
Who would imagine that only Saskatchewan alone would stand up for our oil and gas industries? Manitoba’s “paper clips to the gunfight” provincial government, rather than joining Saskatchewan’s robust push back of Trudeau’s climate change policy, appears ready to meekly fall in line with the other politically correct carbon tax cheer-leading provinces.
There was a time, not so long ago, that the governing federal Conservatives thought the Liberal party was a spent force unlikely to gain power ever again. But, 42% of voters, tired of Stephen Harper’s flatness, and disappointed by NDP’s Mulcair, became enamoured of young Justin Trudeau, the front man in the Liberal party’s band, pushing the Conservatives aside to bring the Liberals back to power.
The tables can change again. Trump changes everything. A combination of Trudeau’s fiscal mismanagement in running enormous ever-rising deficits with his tone-deaf anti-hydrocarbon climate change obsessions is bound to fuel a strong Conservative rebound.
What a change two months make.
Graham Lane leads Manitoba Forward (manitobaforward.ca).
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