Ottawa's Summer Hits
If you have been paying attention, there's been some big hits coming out of Ottawa this summer.
But we’re not talking about Billboard's “Songs of the Summer” hit list.
These hits are the relentless attacks on our energy industry coming from the federal government.
Later this morning, the federal government is set to hold a press conference on the “next step to build a clean, affordable, and reliable electricity system.”
In other words, the federal government is about to announce that they will be enshrining their ambitious and dangerous 2035 net-zero electricity targets into law.
Even worse, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has threatened to withhold all federal funding from electricity projects if the provinces don’t comply with the targets.
We will have a full analysis for you early next week, but for now, this is what we know:
Alberta and Saskatchewan have both been rather vocal in their opposition to the net-zero 2035 electricity proposal, as the estimated costs of such a rapid transition - and the lost economic activity as a result - are staggering.
It is estimated that in Alberta alone, the additional infrastructure and transmission costs over the transition period will add up to $52 billion in direct costs and $35 billion additionally lost in economic activity, adding up to $87 billion in total.
The federal Liberals are claiming electricity will remain "affordable and reliable", but we know their definition of affordable and reliable differs substantially from what reasonable people might think that would mean.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith had strong words to say about the latest federal attack on our energy sector.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Moe stated that Alberta and Saskatchewan were driving the national economy, and that the punitive measures taken by Ottawa were unacceptable.
“What kind of a national government is this?” Moe pondered. “It’s divisive, destructive and dangerous.”
Smith agreed, commenting that “Ottawa’s unrealistic net-zero targets and recent escalation is completely unnecessary.”
Look, I know we all want to be at the lake, putting our feet up on the boat while we float in the sun, letting the troubles of the world drift away, or relaxing in the clubhouse at your local golf course after spending the last few hours cursing at a little white ball.
Unfortunately, Ottawa is making this summer hurt for Western Canada.
Today’s announcement by Wilkinson is just the latest.
In early June, immediately after the Alberta election wrapped up, the federal government laid out the framework for its “Just Transition”, designed to legislate oil and natural gas out of existence and transition its workers into lower-paying, less available green energy jobs.
Last month, Ottawa moved to eliminate all oil and gas fossil fuel "subsidies", though the definition of subsidy provided by the government isn’t clear, and it appears Ottawa is preparing to use the vague definition of the word as a grenade into already fractured federal-provincial relations.
That’s the type of game the federal government is playing here - they are going to use every tool in their toolbox to eliminate the oil and gas industry altogether.
In order to achieve their goal, they will be forced to centralize control deeper into the cabinet - meaning provincial jurisdiction will continue to be trampled on.
Every time they centralize more, provincial governments around the country get more and more agitated.
This was noticeable in the Summer Meeting of Canada’s Premiers - where there was a clear opposition across the board to the aggressive net-zero electricity targets and their estimated devastating impacts on economies across the country.
The newest threat will not sit well with the provinces.
While in power, the federal Liberals have been using the constitution as a doormat, effectively walking all over provincial jurisdiction in a number of areas since being elected in 2019.
While emotions are rather in check during the summer holidays, it is anticipated that the real fireworks will start in the fall, when Parliament resumes session and the provincial legislatures resume work.
It may yet lead to a constitutional convention - which is the only place the country can sit down and actually find a way to keep the federal government in its lane and out of provincial jurisdiction entirely.
We are currently hard at work, defining some key policy proposals we feel can address the problems at the heart of the divide.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Electoral reform to give the west more representation in Ottawa
- Tax reform to give the provinces more leeway when it comes to providing services that fall under its jurisdiction
- Interprovincial cross-country free trade to strengthen national unity and heal economic division across the country
If you’d like to support our continued work on these, and other important issues, please consider doing so.