Will Canada Break Up over Carbon Dioxide?

Commentary, Climate, Brian Giesbrecht

Countries have broken up for very serious reasons like slavery, religious differences and ethnic tensions. But, so far, never in history has a country been at risk of breaking up because of a harmless gas – carbon-dioxide. Canada could, thanks to an ideologically-driven federal government.

Carbon Dioxide makes up a tiny portion (.04%) of our atmosphere and is essential to life – a trace gas that accelerates plant growth. The Trudeau government wrongly labels it “pollution” and believes it has to be sharply curtailed or future warming of the planet will result in catastrophe. To Trudeau, saving the planet means weaning Canada off the use of fossil fuel (which produces carbon dioxide when burnt). Despite Canada’s miniscule ‘contribution’ to world CO2 emissions, and other countries aggressively adding new coal plants, climate zealots are obsessed with strangling Canada’s oil and gas industry. However, it’s a vitally important industry, being the country’s largest export industry and essential to our continued economic prosperity.

During the last federal election campaign, and since, the ‘winning’ Liberals promised to reduce emissions to help address “global warming” while still supporting Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Neither promise has been kept. Pipeline projects have been stopped or slowed, meaning Alberta cannot get its oil to market. This is now strangling the lifeblood industry of Alberta’s economy which has lost over 100,000 oil and gas worker jobs in the last 3 years. It has damaged Canada’s overall trade picture, and knocked the loonie down to $.74 cents (vs. $.90 in an unsuppressed market).  As for reducing emissions, it’s not happening despite coal plant closures, wind and solar power subsidies and other questionable actions.

Most sane Canadians recognize that the oil and gas industry is vital to the continued prosperity of the entire country. Most believe that the marketplace should be the place where these decisions are made, but others, ill-advised on economic realities, want the oil and gas industry to be “phased out”. The mix of views means that the federal government and oil and gas producing provinces are on a collision course.  The country is headed for big trouble if the Liberals win the next election and continue with plans to phase out the oil and gas industry by stalling pipelines and thickening regulatory delays.

It is not inconceivable that oil and gas power Alberta will seek either outright independence or an arrangement with the United States. Even serious talk of such options by Alberta would rock Canada.  Without Alberta, capital markets would dive, pension plans and the loonie would swoon.

Canada’s incredibly skewed equalization formula has Québec receiving 70% of the annual pot, with much of those massive yearly payments ultimately supported by the traditional economic bonanza from Alberta’s oil and gas industry. Those massive money transfers have, effectively, bribed Quebec to stay in Confederation and is part of the glue holding the country together. But, were Alberta to head for the door, the federal government would have to revise or scrap the equalization program – threatening Quebec. The breakup of the country would likely be the result.

And all of this because of Trudeau’s capture by the climate change industry and its obsession with reducing carbon dioxide, a harmless gas.