• Niklas Eliasson

The Liberals' plan to decarbonize economy is failed economic policy, like Bill C-69


Recently, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Canada's plans to "decarbonize" the Canadian economy. Freeland spoke on how this opportunity reverses the damage COVID-19 inflicted on our economy to the electorate's chagrin.

"I think all Canadians understand that our economy's restart needs to be green. It also needs to be equitable. It needs to be inclusive. And we need to focus very much on jobs and growth," says Minister Freeland, who merely regurgitated party talking-points.

In a similar vein as the gender-based analysis advocated in Bill C-69, the federal government has taken another stab at injecting social justice in economic policy.

Bewilderingly, Bill C-69 assumed wrongly that the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) were universally held by Canada's Indigenous Peoples. They muddled the essence of indigenous self-determination, and demonstrated further that C-69 was a blueprint to kill the oil and gas industry.

Advocating for green energy, like wind and solar, at the expense of reliable forms of energy, like fossil fuels, nuclear and electricity is asinine. It sets back economic progress for the sake of political brownie points from hip metropolitan centers.

Following Minister Freeland's remarks, Prime Minister Trudeau discussed how Canada would rebuild the economy and the laggard energy sector. Trudeau closed by stating, "This is our chance to build a more resilient Canada, a Canada that is healthier and safer, greener and more competitive, a Canada that is more welcoming and fairer."

However, to resource development advocates they see the move differently.

Since 2014, the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price was USD 94.86 (CAD 105.59). In two years following, the oil price dropped as low as USD 30.32 (CAD 33.75). According to the Alberta Government, the rapid drop in oil prices was the catalyst for a steep rise in unemployment, from 4.7 percent in 2014 to 9.1 percent in 2017.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 1 in 6 Albertans lost employment, with over 200,000 jobs lost in light of the most significant economic contraction since the Great Depression. Alberta lost over 8,700 resource-based jobs in March alone that continue to falter further, nearing 20,000 unemployed in August.

According to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), Canada imported $19.4-billion worth of foreign oil in 2018, equating to 593,000 barrels per day. With Quebec continuing to purchase large swaths of crude oil from other countries, Alberta remains at the whim of a more competitive market south of the border.

Energy East was chastised by Quebec Premier Legault, who appears to be at odds with his electorate on local crude oil production and their need for Canadian crude, from the West and East coast.

According to the Montreal Economic Institute, Quebec's oil consumption declined by 4.2 percent since 2005. However, total energy consumption for the province fell faster over the same period (-5.6 percent), as did electricity (-6.5 percent).

Wind power, for example, accounts for 0.8 percent of Quebec's electricity supply and results in a net-loss when sold to consumers (sold at 5.76 cents per kilowatt-hour, despite costing Hydro-Quebec 9.30 cents to purchase from wind farms).

While Minister Freeland talks big on inclusion, Prime Minister Trudeau echoes similar buzzwords that resource-rich provinces do not buy. Simply because they push ideology over common sense policy. Bill C-69 further complicated the pipeline approval process with tedious regulations that stunned innovation, detracted investment, and killed jobs.

This piece of legislation also indirectly elicited illegal activities from activist groups and furthered the flaws of the current assessment practice. Like the "No More Pipelines Act," the plan to decarbonize the Canadian economy is a partisan move that works against the common good. It works opposite to transparency and serves social justice crusades at the expense of the economy.

The federal government increased the red tape burden in pursuit of their dogma. They weaponized their ideals by granting them the legal weight that led to more oppressive court challenges.

We saw this most notably with the Trans Mountain Expansion, where foreign-funded activists masquerading as Indigenous peoples from Wetsuwet'en First Nations joined forces with a few hereditary chiefs and the minority of members from that indigenous band.


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