Canada’s political parties cannot fight their way through another election

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Opinion columnist Lori Lee Oates argues that Canadian voters have a responsibility to ensure that politicians stand up to the big oil companies. (Nicholas Hillier Photography / Submitted by Lori Lee Oates)

This column is an opinion of Lori Lee Oates, who has worked at senior levels of the provincial and federal governments.


On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its Sixth evaluation report, which, according to the Secretary General of the United Nations, “must ring the the death knell for fossil fuels. “

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan replied that oil and gas are “most of our national economy. “

However, Statistics Canada places oil and gas at an average of five percent of gross domestic product nationally and 21 percent in Alberta. The national share of industry jobs is 0.4 percent, and Alberta’s 2.9 percent.

The Greening With Jobs A report from the International Labor Organization in 2018 predicted that 24 million green energy jobs will be created to keep global warming at a 2 ° C increase. This, they predict, will offset six million job losses elsewhere.

Climate disasters cost money and have real economic consequences.

Renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are now the most important most profitable form of energy.

Of course, the oil paid royalties to provincial treasuries. However, the high level of subsidies necessary to maintain the industry since the COVID-19 oil shock has largely wiped out this advantage.

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Canada’s lack of response to climate change is not about jobs or the economy.

This raises the question of why political parties have been so defensive towards the oil industry. Well, it’s probably because the industry has done what has been described as “regulatory catch“from the Government of Canada.

This means that instead of working for the interests of Canadians, the government sees itself as working for the industry.

Call it greenwashing

Greenwashing is pretending that you are doing things to fight climate change without reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

He is well established that the oil companies have been doing for decades. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that governments are doing it too – and the ruling Liberal Party of Canada has been the worst offender.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in a ceremony at United Nations Headquarters on April 22, 2016. (SRC)

Canada was the only G7 country to increase its emissions since Justin Trudeau signed the Paris Agreement in April 2016.

In 2020, after the start of the COVID-19 oil shock, 230 financial experts around the world warned against recovering fossil fuels if countries wanted to meet their Paris Agreement commitments. Since that time, the Liberal government has supported fossil fuels to 10 times the G20 average.

The Conservative Party of Canada to keeps they will achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement 2030 without a carbon tax. However, they do offer a low carbon personal savings account, which is a carbon tax by another name. They are also asking for more natural gas, a lower carbon fuel standard and carbon capture.

All of these approaches have been questioned or abandoned by scientists and climate policy experts. Many of these groups are also criticism of carbon pricing, which has been the Liberal government’s flagship climate policy.

The NDP has gone on the offensive since the release of the Sixth Assessment Report, noting that the ruling Liberals spent over $ 20 billion on pipelines and over $ 18 billion on oil subsidies last year.

They note that Trudeau’s response to climate change has been worse than Stephen Harper’s. The duty showed that oil subsidies were higher under Trudeau than they were under Harper.

Historically, the NDP has not raised its voice to stand up to the big oil companies for fear of losing union voices. However, public opinion on climate change is changing rapidly and this emboldened new approach may well put them in a position to win soft liberal voices and push the Liberal Party to the left on these issues.

The Green Party recommends the cancellation of pipeline projects, the end of all oil subsidies, a just and immediate transition for workers and a national renewable energy corridor.

Fighting climate change is good policy

The fact that our entire civilization is threatened by climate change is hardly new. This recent IPCC report was not that different from the special report on global warming in 1.5°VS which was published in 2018. In 2019, global media reported that 11,000 scientists had declared a “climate emergency” in Biosciences newspaper. The climate emergency was the Oxford English Dictionary word of the year.

Unfortunately, the Liberal government’s response to the Sixth Assessment Report was predictable. They trotted the familiar “we need a pipeline to fight climate change “argument.

WATCH | See the cover of the report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

“Code Red”: terrible warnings from the UN report on climate change

A report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change offered dire warnings for the future and a stern look at the present, showing that global warming could reach 1.5 ° C by the next 2030s and that extreme weather events will become more frequent. 2:12

Climate policy research has shown that relying on fossil fuels to pay for a green transition is a terrible plan. Oil revenues are just disappearing too quickly.

Survey after survey has shown that most Canadians want climate change addressed and they want a just transition now.

Parties cannot be allowed to fight their way through another election. The Liberals certainly cannot be allowed to continue on the current path while claiming to be the climate champions.

The only question now is this: are the political parties ready to stand up to big oil and save what they can? It is our responsibility to ensure that they do.

The planet will survive. We couldn’t.

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