The Liberals Just Won't Give Up On The Just Transition
The 2023 Liberal Party of Canada National Convention was held this past weekend in Ottawa.
Keynote speakers Jean Chretien and Hilary Clinton headlined the affair and the party touted the whole thing as a big success.
“Justin Trudeau and our Liberal team will continue to deliver real results to make life more affordable, grow the middle class and a strong economy, and build a better and fairer future for all Canadians,” read a post-convention press release.
That sounds good and all, but in reality, the Liberal’s record on affordability and economic issues is abysmal.
Trudeau, by his own admission, doesn’t think about monetary policy or the pressures that large government budgets add to central banks dealing with inflation.
The last federal budget alone saw the Canadian government commit to $59.5 billion in new spending which is only going to hurt working-class Canadians, as it drives prices up.
What little discussion there was around economics and affordability at the Liberal Party Convention clearly did not include energy policy.
Energy powers every other industry, which means that affordable energy is a baseline need for a thriving economy.
The Liberal Party, though, has been laser-focused on shutting down fossil fuel energy altogether in pursuit of their "greener", less affordable utopia.
They’ve created a supply bottleneck caused by a lack of pipeline expansion by cancelling the Energy East and Northern Gateway pipelines, and the government purchase and subsequent slow and expensive construction of the TransMountain expansion.
They’ve shut our energy exports out of essential ports with the federal tanker ban off the northern coast of British Columbia.
They’ve established a complex regulatory environment, complete with movable goalposts that completely destroy investor confidence in major projects, leading to the cancellation of major projects such as the Teck Mine.
They’ve implemented the Impact Assessment Act, effectively giving Ottawa complete veto power over any major project in the country - regardless of whether or not that project crosses provincial borders.
They’ve added a carbon tax to virtually every aspect of your life, with an increasing scale to make sure it really hurts when they shut down the industry that supplies affordable, vital energy to the rest of the world.
And where have these policies had the worst impact?
When oil prices collapsed in 2014, the federal government came to help with a series of attacks on Western Canada’s primary source of revenue - fossil fuel energy - turning an already bad recession into one of the worst in Western Canada’s history.
People are still trying to dig themselves out of the financial mess that occurred in those years.
Still, despite the pain caused to western Canada and to the country’s economy as a whole, Liberal party adherents are intent on pressing forward with their damaging anti-energy policies.
One of the things that the Liberal Party members did at their Convention was to consider, debate, and vote on a series of 24 policy resolutions.
For Western Canadians, the policies that were passed should send chills down your spine.
One of the 24 policy resolutions adopted at the convention was entitled “A Green Transition for the Prairie Provinces".
It’s just another name for the “Just Transition", and it reads as follows:
BE IT RESOLVED that the Liberal Party of Canada urge the Government of Canada to develop a high-profile taskforce to coordinate local engagement and cooperation in federal programs to facilitate the transition to a green economy on the Prairies while addressing alienation;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that in developing the framework, the government consults with provincial governments, municipal governments, Indigenous governing bodies, the private sector, and labour representatives in the respective sectors of transportation, environment, agriculture and employment.
How can you reasonably believe that “addressing alienation” is possible when you plan to decimate the West’s dominant industry?
How can you expect a region of the country to phase out an industry that pays their bills (and a lot of the rest of the country's bills) without causing fractures in national unity?
It doesn’t stop there.
There was another policy that called for the Canadian government to require all public investment funds (including the Canada Pension Plan) to divest from companies that produce fossil fuels - which effectively means the federal government would be directing pension funds.
Ironically, or perhaps tragically, one of the only two policies that was rejected by the rank-and-file voting members of the Liberal Party called on the federal government to create a clear, costed proposal for a return to balanced budgets.
A balanced budget that reigns in excessive spending is one thing that would actually reduce the inequality in Confederation, because the less that's done by the federal government, the more money is left to the provinces, and the more Alberta can address its own affairs instead of paying for extravagant social programs in other parts of the country.
I founded Project Confederation as a way to help redefine the discussion about how this country is governed, and to seek changes in order to alleviate rising threats to national unity.
Confederation is supposed to be a union of unique regions working towards a common interest, not a country where one region dominates the politics of an entire nation.
There is little sign of genuine concern about the plight of Western Canada from inside the Liberal Party, if last weekend's convention is any indication.
But, on the bright side, I am reassured by the tremendous progress we’ve made in getting the word out to Canadians across the West and getting agreement on what the problems are.
Now we need to start making progress in getting everyone on the same page about what specific solutions are needed.
We need to seek reforms that add regional balance to Canada as intended by the Constitution, and restore national unity by giving all Canadians a say in the way this country is governed.
Together, we can help build a country that makes national unity a priority.
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