The Niagara Independent, December 15, 2023 – To understand the Trudeau government’s natural resources development approach, one must first know that Justin Trudeau and a core group of his ministers and senior staff are champions of an evolving global order fixated on managing the economies of countries with a stated quest to address climate change.
Over the past eight years the Trudeau government has closely aligned Canada’s economic growth strategies to global climate change objectives that are centrally planned by the United Nations (UN) and the World Economic Forum (WEF). In doing so, the Trudeau government is implementing a global agenda that is focused on transitioning energy use away from fossil fuels. It is expressly anti-oil and gas.
In pursuing international goals ahead of Canadians’ interests, the globalists and environmental activists within the Trudeau government have been effectively sabotaging the development of the country’s rich store of natural resources. PM Trudeau is doling out hundreds of millions of dollars to UN programs, and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland as a WEF Board trustee coordinates the country’s compliance. The Liberals have a gaggle of state-interventionists who are establishing the global policy framework within Canada: Mark Carney, Steven Guilbeault, Catherine McKenna, as well as Katie Telford and her mentor Gerald Butts, who still sways influence on the network of senior staff members directing Trudeau’s ministers and MPs.
This week, at the UN’s climate summit in Dubai, Canadians again bore witness to the Trudeau government proclaiming international commitments without first arriving at a policy consensus with Canada’s political and industry leaders. Canada was a signatory to a UN agreement that dictates “transitioning away from fossil fuels in energy systems, in a just, orderly and equitable manner, accelerating action in this critical decade, so as to achieve net zero by 2050 in keeping with the science.” This new plan calls for the tripling of renewable energy capacity and a doubling of energy efficiency by 2030.
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault heralded the UN agreement, which was framed “to avert the worst of climate change” and to ominously signal “the eventual end of the oil age.” Indeed, Guilbeault had a spring in his step as he and the nearly 200-person Canadian delegation jetted back to Ottawa to begin the task of doubling down on the government’s green energy plan. Yet, signing onto the new UN plan will be the easy part given the reality of the Trudeau government’s record in meeting its global commitments. Consider this:
- Freeland has budgeted for $109 billion of government investment in the next decade to support $790 billion worth of “green” initiatives. For every one dollar the government is to invest, the Trudeau government is looking to encourage the private sector to invest six dollars – nearly $700 billion private sector investment that is just not there. A RBC Economics 2021 assessment concluded it would take $2 trillion of investment – annual spending of at least $60 billion through to 2050 – simply unrealistic, not happening.
- This plan is predicated on a continuous flow of government subsidies. Canadians need only review the tens of billions of dollars of “investments” made to support the new EV battery manufacturing facilities, or the hundreds of millions of dollars slipped to Liberal-friendly companies through the green slush fund (a.k.a. Sustainable Development Technology Canada) to realize that these subsidies are unaffordable.
There are also the inconvenient truths that 1) Canada has missed every emissions target the UN has set. 2) Since 2015, under the Trudeau government’s stewardship, Canada’s carbon emissions have actually increased. 3) According to the UN, Canada is on track to miss its next emissions target in 2030 by 15 per cent. 4) Canada’s own environment commissioner in November assessed that the government’s climate plan is “insufficient” and it has not charted a roadmap to meet its 2030 emission reduction target.
In Dubai, Canadians were shamed by the UN with the release of a report that ranks Canada in 62nd place out of 67 countries when measuring greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy, energy use, and climate
policy. (But then, just perhaps, our country’s vast geography, cold climate, and its citizens’ suburban lifestyles requiring travel for work, all make it impossible for Canada to meet the UN’s expectation — that in less than 30 years Canadians will be able to significantly curtail energy use and carbon emissions.)
Still, the Trudeau government pushes onward with its impractical green scheme that adheres to the UN’s and WEF’s agenda. In Dubai, Guilbeault used the UN’s pulpit to make significant domestic policy announcements for Canada’s natural resources industries. He released new draft regulations to cut methane emissions and also announced a new program to penalize beef cattle farmers for bovine burps (you cannot make this up). The government also unveiled an aggressive emissions reduction target for 2030 for Canada’s oil and gas sector. Guilbeault crowed that Canada was the first oil and gas producing nation in the world to be establishing such an emission cap plan.
Pundits and industry experts in Canada are divided on the impact of the new emissions cap, with some sector analysts labeling the new targets as “unrealistically ambitious.” CIBC experts concluded that “achieving the emissions target, as stated, would in effect become a cap on production.” S&P Global data firm calculated that Canada’s oil sands will likely need to reduce 1.3 million barrels a day of possible production to meet the new 2030 targets, resulting in the loss of between 5,400 and 9,500 jobs.
Canadian politicians’ rebuke of Guilbeault’s declaration was led by Alberta Premier Danielle Smith who stated, “This is the thing that I think Albertans are tired of — is that we continue to be the punching bag of the federal government and this Liberal prime minister, in particular, for political reasons.” Alberta’s Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz said the federal plan must ensure “that we’re not putting Albertans out of work and having to cut production, which, at a time when the world needs energy, just doesn’t make any sense.”
The Trudeau cohort’s zeal for implementing the global climate agenda has often not taken into account Canadians’ best interests with respect to developing natural resources. It also ignores the possibility that Canadian resources industries can amply respond to the energy and environmental needs of the international community. The Trudeau government’s anti-resource development approach has directly undermined the country’s success in providing:
- LNG exports to European countries looking to reduce dependency on Russian oil, and exports to Asian countries, including China, looking to reduce dependency on coal-generated power.
- Oil and gas production that would help satisfy the energy demands of the U.S. now forced to buy oil produced by less environmentally responsible regimes in Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
- Natural gas from Nova Scotia’s offshore Inceptio project, the latest energy mega-project cancelled because of government regulatory hassles, a fate similar to the Enbridge Northern Gateway, TC Energy East, Teck Frontier, and the Energie Saguenay mega-projects before it.
- A secure oil and gas supply for Canadians, via Canadian pipelines, instead of importing oil and gas supplies from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
The Trudeau government’s anti-oil and gas stance defies the fact that the country’s prosperity is reliant on a healthy oil and gas sector. Oil and gas, including extraction and support activities, petroleum refining, pipeline transportation and natural gas distribution, account for 7.5 per cent of national GDP. The oil and gas industries account for one million Canadian jobs and nearly one quarter of all Canadian exports. Canada is the fourth largest producer of oil in the world and is “the preferred country” to supply oil to the world, according to a 2023 Ipsos international survey.
A group of Canadian oilsands companies cite the recent Ipsos study in making the argument for greater growth and development of the country’s natural resources. “This reinforces that North American energy is desired worldwide, and if we work together and with governments to advance our climate goals, we can increase global market share of responsibly produced energy — something that is good for the climate as well as jobs and economic growth on both sides of the border.”
This sentiment was also advanced by Ken Coates, Munk Senior Fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, who additionally lamented the impact an anti-natural resources approach has on the county. Coates opines: “Opportunities exist for Canada to become a major global player; our current strategy, however, is sending us headstrong to national mediocrity, inaction on meaningful climate change initiatives, and to a lower quality of life. This is not the outcome that Canadians desire.”
The last word goes to Derek Burney, career diplomat and former Ambassador to the US, who has observed, “A line must be drawn between obtuse environmental orthodoxy and the rational need for responsible energy development.” Yet this distinction is the rub: to support prosperous Canadian oil and gas industries the Trudeau government would need to rethink its green energy plan, something unfathomable for the core globalists and environmentalists who are so vested in the agendas of the UN and WEF.
This is the fifth of a six-part series that takes account of Justin Trudeau’s eight-year record pursuing his “post-national” vision for Canada.