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Economy

Fossil fuels aren’t going anywhere, we benefit too much from them

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10 minute read

From the MacDonald Laurier Institute

By Chris Sankey

Indigenous people are finally reaping the rewards.

Over the last eight years we have experienced an unprecedented push from environmental activists to phase out fossil fuels. The Government of Canada seems to think it is possible. During question period in the Senate earlier this year, Sen. David Wells noted that, according to the Liberals, the energy transition “will cost $100-$125 billion per year at least to 2050,” and asked “When Canada only emits 1.5 per cent of global emissions, how does this expenditure make sense?”

Let me repeat that. $125 billion each year.

Who is going to pay for this? This is simply not possible, unless people want to see the Canadian economy in ruins.

Without fossil fuels, life as we know it would not be possible. State-of-the-art lifesaving medical equipment comes from fossil fuels and critical minerals from mining. Critical infrastructure, vehicles, planes, trains, container ships, ferries, and the billions of household necessities we buy from Canadian Tire, Walmart, Amazon and Ikea come from fossil fuels and help us function in our everyday lives. Without these needs we simply do not prosper.

Take for instance the environmental marches we see on our streets. The protesters seemingly have zero understanding of what makes their marches possible? Yes, fossil fuels. If you are going to protest for “Just Stop Oil,” then climate activists have to stop blocking traffic, because an idling vehicle is so much harder on the environment. And what about showing up in clothing and holding up signs made of hydrocarbons demonstrates your commitment to saving the planet? Hypocrisy? Absolutely.

From the moment we come out of our mother’s body, fossil fuels make our lives better. From cradle to grave, our lives are intertwined with fossil fuels. Just think of the act of giving birth. Chances are the mother was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, helicopter, plane, your personal vehicle, or taxi. As grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins arrive at the hospital in their fossil fuel-powered cars and trucks smiling ear to ear welcoming the new baby to the family. They show up with gifts likely made from fossil fuels and critical minerals. If it is not made from fossil fuels, they were most definitely transported to the store using fossil fuels.

It is time we stop kidding ourselves that we can step away from the oil and gas wealth upon which our country benefits so much.

Only now, it will be Indigenous communities who are going to lead the multi-billion-dollar opportunity and put Canada at the front of global markets as a preferred supplier. For far too long, activist’s voice have been the determining factor in how governments make decisions on this necessary industry in our territories.

We need to make sure we have a framework that lays out a technology transition where we produce cleaner oil and gas by using new technology that will reduce emissions and grow our economies.

Since the Liberals were elected in 2015 everywhere we turn, our resource sector is being badly hurt. Forestry, fishing, oil and gas are screaming for more production, but federal regulations threaten to not only destroy the energy industry, but all industries with the emissions cap. Renewables are costing taxpayers billions in subsidies and it will not end there.

Indigenous people have always took care of the environment and grown our economies. From fishing, logging, farming and hunting, we used fossil fuels to make it happen.

Obviously, humans did not use fossil fuels prior to the industrial revolution and indigenous people made hunting weapons out of wood and stone. Life was challenging for our ancestors back then; life expectancy was short for all people.

Over time, technology in the energy sector changed for the better. I would be remiss if I did not include the fact that industry did not always have modern clean tech; emissions were high and cancer-causing effects were widespread. That introduced chemicals foreign to indigenous people. Like all things, newer and safer technology emerged. Making life much easier and convenient.

However, historically speaking indigenous people lived on fat and protein. Everything we ate was natural. Like all things that come and go, European contact forever changed our way of life. We were greatly impacted in every possible manner, from social, cultural, status and creed. But like we always have, we persevered like our ancestors wanted us too.

This is our turn to take our rightful place on the global stage. We are watching it play out in real time around the world. Energy and food security is the number one priority around the world. Indigenous communities near and far are leading the way in the pursuit of sustainable development, but government and activists are hindering our ability to progress.

It is important that Canadians be realistic when it comes to the use of oil and gas. All of us want to leave our planet better for the next generation. To do so, we must manage expectations. Many countries are just now finally transitioning to oil and gas from more environmentally harmful coal and countries like India will not be carbon neutral until 2070 or later.

Our country has an abundance of resources that the world wants. They are literally knocking on our door to get access to our wealth. We can help countries like China, India and Indonesia move away from burning coal and wood, and thereby help lift millions out of certain poverty, and improve their health.

New climate change technology has emerged in the energy sector, such as carbon capture and storage that will reduce and eliminate emissions and the need for diluent in oil pipelines. Our combination of Indigenous knowledge and history to the land makes for a stronger argument to partner with Indigenous communities.  Alignment amongst indigenous communities is key to securing a project. Proper alignment will de-risk a project and attract investment and industry to the table where we will have a seat and even equity.

Engagement with Indigenous communities is the solution. The vast majority of our people are not against development. We are only against development when we are excluded from the opportunities, or if the evaluation process was developed without Indigenous input.

It is not rocket-science. Include the people whose territory you want to build on. This is an opportunity to build relationships through meaningful dialogue and trust. We must have nation to nation dialogue and build leadership to leadership relationships.  No hidden agendas, just up-front, honest conversations about oil and gas and the costs and benefits of development.

I am tired of watching our people struggle. Our people do not want to watch the prosperity boat sail by Poverty Island. Markets do not wait for anyone. We cannot keep waiting for the right time. We cannot keep waiting for life to get better. First Nations can make it better by being at the economic table where our people can bring traditional knowledge to industry and make decisions in the best interests of our communities. Whether we agree or not in the first instance, we need to be in the room working towards a brighter future, because at the end of the day we all need rubber boots too.

Chris Sankey is a Senior fellow at the MacDonald Laurier Institute, a former Elected Councilor for the Lax Kw Alaams Band and Businessman.

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Economy

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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Disaster

‘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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