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Feds ‘net-zero’ agenda is an anti-growth agenda


9 minute read

From the MacDonald Laurier Institute

By Chris Sankey

Canada’s goal should not be to eliminate fossil fuels, but to carry out a steady and manageable reduction of emissions

The federal government is pushing an aggressive emissions reduction strategy that could devastate the Canadian economy and threaten our way of life. This isn’t just about the oil & gas industry. Port-related industries, transportation, infrastructure, health and education, and countless other sectors will be collateral damage. As will the standard of living of everyday Canadians.

One need only peek behind the curtain to understand the current course of federal policy.

Ottawa’s anti-fossil fuels agenda appears to be rooted in the ideas of two ideologically driven behind-the-scenes entities: Senators for Climate Solutions (SFCS) and Clean Energy Canada (CEC).

A group of 44 Canadian Senators, led by Sens. Mary Coyle and Stan Kutcher (both of Nova Scotia), launched SFCS in the fall of 2022. The Senators also recruited a team of interns from GreenPAC, a Toronto-based environmental lobby group, to help get SFCS up and running. GreenPAC Executive Director Sarah Van Exan told blog The Energy Mix at the time that the group had recently assigned its first-ever Senate intern to the office of Sen. Coyle.

“We saw the chance to lend critical capacity—with communication, coordination, and policy research—to help them get established,” Van Exan told The Energy Mix in an email. “The group’s cross-partisan aim and determination to put a climate lens on legislation, advance climate solutions, and hold the government’s feet to the fire is exciting.”

This team of ‘climate-minded’ Senators draws lightly on expertise from Western Canada, let alone calling on experienced energy experts from Alberta. Of the dozen experts listed on the SFCS website, just two – University of Calgary Geosciences professor Sara Hastings-Simon and Vancouver Island farmer Andrew Rushmere – are based in Western Canada.

12 years earlier, Clean Energy Canada was established as a subsidiary of the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue at Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, BC. The group is the brainchild of Merran Smith, a figure The Province once described as “the spawn of the tendrilous and pervasive eco-activist group Tides Canada and [SFU].” Smith first came to prominence in the early 2000s while campaigning to protect coastal BC’s Great Bear Rainforest, rubbing elbows with the likes of Tzeporah Berman (an anti-pipeline acticist so extreme she was booted from the Alberta NDP’s Oil Sands Advisory Group). Other members of the team include BC Green Party alum Evan Pivnick and Electric Vehicle (EV) evangelist Meena Bibra. According to its own website, CEC’s mission is to “accelerate the transition to a renewably powered economy” via “inform[ing] policy leadership.”

Are these the sorts of people the Trudeau Government should be listening to on climate matters?

Let me give you a few stats and you be the judge. I recently had a chance to listen to Adam Waterous, the CEO of the Waterous Energy Fund and former Global Head of Investment Banking at Scotia Waterous. He is, I may add, an incredibly intelligent businessman who lives and breathes energy.

Adam shared some surprising facts about EVs. For instance, he mentioned that it takes five times the amount of oil to build an EV than it does to build a conventional gas-powered vehicle. In order offset this difference, a person must drive an EV 120,000 kms using the electrical grid.  Meaning, every time we build an EV demand for oil goes up, not down. Further, an EV battery does not last the lifetime of the vehicle itself, crapping out in as little as 8 years. This expands the EV’s carbon footprint even further as producing a single EV-grade battery emits over seven tonnes of C02e emissions. All told, an EV has roughly double the production footprint of a conventional vehicle.

Still convinced we are saving the planet?

The BC provincial government is forging ahead with a set of policies that its own modelling shows will make BC’s economy $28 billion smaller in 2030 than it would be absent these policies. (To put this number into context, this is roughly what the province spends on health care each year). This will set prosperity back more than a decade. This remarkable finding emerges from looking beyond the government’s glossy reports to the raw modelling results of the estimated economic impact of CleanBC policies that are studiously ignored in its public communication materials.

Similarly, Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) estimates the cost of achieving a net zero electricity grid by 2050 to be nearly $200 billion, while the AESO Net-Zero Emissions Pathways report estimates that accelerating this timeline to 2035 could add an extra $45 to $52 billion. (That is without factoring in the costs of co-generation or the full distribution system and integration costs). Moving to net zero by 2050 will also eliminate 10,000 direct jobs in the oil and gas sector and an estimated 2.7 million jobs in total.

All provinces, and every Canadian household, will be impacted by the federal emissions reduction strategy.  However, no province will be impacted more than Alberta. The currently federal modelling used to develop the clean electricity regulations (CER) does not properly represent Alberta’s Electricity Market and thus is unable to adequately forecast the economics of energy production. Canada’s proposed emissions intensity limit effectively requires natural gas backed power plants to sequester an annual average of 95% of all associated emissions through CCUS or other technologies (CCUS) or other technologies.  As of writing, no natural gas generation with CCUS modifications has ever hit this mark.

The CERs create significant investment risk for (CCUS) projects as the physical standard for the technology is unproven.  Adding insult to injury, the federal government is proposing a 20-year end-of-life for natural gas facilities built prior to January 2025. This will result in some of the cleanest gas plants in the world being shut down decades before they run their useful life; all while Asia continues to burn coal at a record pace.

Canada is about to enter a world of self-inflicted economic pain at precisely the time that Indigenous communities are finally starting harness their resource wealth. We finally made it to the corporate table where we have a seat, a say and ownership – and now the federal government wants to take it all away. How is that for bad timing?

Without reliable and affordable energy, Canadians will be left choosing between shelter, food and keeping the lights on. I don’t know about you, but I will not follow those politicians and organizations driving our climate policies to extremes, into ankle deep water, but I will listen to and follow serious people like Adam Waterous.

The goal for Canada should not be to eliminate fossil fuels. The goal needs to be a steady and manageable reduction of emissions. We must get our ethical and clean energy out to the world.  Our economic future depends on it.

Chris Sankey is a former elected Councilor for Lax Kw’alaams Band, businessman and Senior Fellow for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

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Federal government could balance budget and reduce tax rates with 2.3% spending reduction over two years

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From the Fraser Institute

By Jake Fuss and Grady Munro

If the federal government reduced program spending by only 2.3 per cent over two years and eliminated a host of tax expenditures, it could balance the budget and reduce personal income tax rates affecting most Canadians, finds a new
study published today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“With modest spending reductions and tax reform, the federal government can create the fiscal room to provide tax rate reductions that would benefit most Canadians,” said Jake Fuss, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of A New Federal Fiscal Framework for Canada.

Specifically, if the government implemented this spending reduction—and eliminated 49 federal personal income tax expenditures (tax credits, tax exemptions, etc.), which do little to improve economic growth yet reduce government revenue—it could eliminate the three middle federal personal income tax rates (20.5 per cent, 26.0 per cent, 29.0 per cent) and reduce the top rate from 33.0 per cent to its previous level of 29.0 per cent.

As a result, with only two remaining rates, nearly all Canadians would pay a marginal personal income tax rate of 15 per cent. And the federal government could balance the budget by 2026/27.

“In light of Canada’s dim economic prospects and lack of tax competitiveness, the federal government should move away from the status quo and pursue a pro-growth fiscal strategy,” Fuss said.

“At a time when affordability is top of mind, it’s time for Ottawa to reduce tax rates and restore discipline to federal finances.”

  • Poor government policy has led to a significant deterioration in Canada’s federal finances over the last decade. The introduction of new and expanded government programs has caused federal spending to increase substantially, resulting in persistent deficits and rising debt.
  • Canada also maintains markedly uncompetitive personal income taxes relative to many other advanced economy jurisdictions. This hinders Canada’s ability to attract and retain highly skilled workers, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
  • Canada must make meaningful policy reforms by pursuing reductions in both federal spending and tax rates to address the current fiscal and economic challenges.
  • The federal government should eliminate 49 federal PIT tax expenditures and remove the three middle income tax rates of 20.5, 26.0, and 29.0 percent while reducing the top marginal PIT rate from 33.0 to 29.0 percent.
  • The federal government can introduce a comprehensive tax reform package and achieve a balanced budget by 2026/27 through reducing nominal annual program spending by 2.3 percent over a two-year period.
  • Returning to balanced budgets should be viewed as a starting point rather than the end goal.
  • Imposing a Tax and Expenditure Limitation (TEL) rule that caps growth in program spending at the rate of inflation plus population growth would be the next step for federal finances over the long-term.
  • This would allow for budget surpluses in subsequent years after achieving the initial balanced budget and ensure discipline in government spending for the foreseeable future.
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‘It’s Going to Be Catastrophic’: Why the Next Pandemic Will Be Worse Than COVID

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From Heartland Daily News

By Rob Bluey of the Daily Signal

The former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning Americans to prepare for the next pandemic, which he fears will be more catastrophic than COVID-19.

Dr. Robert Redfield, a virologist who continues to treat patients suffering from COVID, oversaw the CDC’s initial response to the pandemic and served as a member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force under former President Donald Trump.

“We are going to have another pandemic,” Redfield told The Daily Signal. “I do believe it’s going to be much more catastrophic than the COVID pandemic.”

Redfield predicted the next pandemic would be the bird flu, also known as H5N1. Its mortality rate is significantly higher than COVID: 52% of the 888 infected patients with H5N1 have died since 2003.

“COVID’s mortality was about 0.6%,” Redfield said. “Bird flu’s mortality is going to be north of 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%. It’s going to be catastrophic.”

With more than 100 million chickens and turkeys already infected in the United States, Redfield said bird flu has also been found in 27 different mammals. And while there remains a low risk of infecting humans right now, another mishap like the COVID lab leak could quickly expedite bird flu’s transmission.

“This is why I’ve called for a moratorium on gain-of-function research until we can have a broader public debate about it,” he said. “I’m not convinced it needs to be done. I don’t think there’s really any benefit from it. Some of my colleagues disagree with me, but I think we shouldn’t do it until we know how we do it in a safe, responsible, and effective way and we clearly can’t do that at the present time.”

Redfield served on a nonpartisan commission convened by The Heritage Foundation, which issued a blistering critique of China’s COVID-19 cover-up. The commission, which released its report Monday, blamed the communist government in Beijing for obfuscating the truth about the pandemic’s origin and causing widespread damage and death as a result.

Americans can take an important step now to prevent such a disaster from happening in the future, Redfield said.

“COVID is a test case for why we don’t want to do gain-of-function research. I don’t think it was worth 28 million lives. I don’t think it was worth the trillion dollars of cost and the disruption that we had,” he said. “The COVID pandemic was a direct consequence of science and the arrogance that science had that nothing could go wrong. And, in fact, something went terribly wrong.”

The former CDC director, who served under Trump from 2018 to 2021, said biosecurity is the most important national security threat facing America today.

“It’s a time for our nation to step back and realize that the playing field has changed, similar to what happened when the atomic bomb came into the theater,” Redfield said.

Redfield spoke with The Daily Signal following the release of the commission’s report, “Holding China Accountable for Its Role in the Most Catastrophic Pandemic of Our Time: COVID-19.” Commissioners spoke at a Heritage Foundation event Monday.

Redfield criticized the Chinese government for failing to alert others to the threat posed by COVID when it was first discovered in the summer of 2019. The consequences, he said, were deadly. More than 28 million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, including 1.1 million in the United States.

The commission calculated the U.S. economic damages at a staggering $18 trillion.

What can policymakers do to hold China accountable?

The commission recommends a national security review of U.S.-China scientific collaborations and a deeper investigation into COVID-19’s origins. It also recommended that Congress amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act to grant U.S. courts jurisdiction over cases brought by American citizens who are seeking monetary damages from China.

In addition to Redfield, other members of the nonpartisan commission included:

  • John Ratcliffe, former director of national intelligence (commission chairman)
  • Robert C. O’Brien, chairman of American Global Strategies and former U.S. national security adviser
  • Heidi Heitkamp, director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics and former U.S. senator from North Dakota
  • Matthew Pottinger, chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies China Program and former U.S. deputy national security adviser
  • Jamie Metzl, founder and chair of OneShared.World, former NSC and State Department official and member of WHO expert advisory committee on human genome editing
  • John Yoo, Emanuel S. Heller professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley
  • Dr. Robert Kadlec, physician and former assistant secretary of health and human services
  • David Feith, adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific affairs

Rob Bluey ([email protected]is the executive editor of The Daily Signal. This article appeared in The Daily Signal on July 8, 2024. Reprinted with permission

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