Premier Scott Moe thinks the overwhelming mass of federal environmental programs in the name of preventing climate change is getting to be too much. So on Oct. 21, he released a white paper called Drawing the Line: Defending Saskatchewan’s Economic Autonomy.
After pouring through the 18 page white paper put out by the Government of Saskatchewan regarding the federal government’s climate change policies, and its five-page costing document, there was only one word I could think of:
As in, the federal government, through it’s high-minded focus on stopping anthropogenic (man made) climate change, intends to strangle our economy until we’re not allowed to have one.
The white paper uses one of Premier Scott Moe’s catch phrases – food, fuel and fertilizer. Well, the white paper and costing document outline in some depth how the federal government is moving, or has moved, for us to produce less food by making and using less fertilizer, using the food we do produce for fuel, and not using the fossil-based fuel at all. And do that all in 12 years.
I’ve known about most of these initiatives in some way, shape or form. But it wasn’t until I read the white paper that I finally at last partially understood the sum and total.
For years, people have been bitching that the only thing the Justin Trudeau government has accomplished was the legalization of marijuana. But in reality, these nine programs and policies, plus a few more for good measure, are seeking to fundamentally change absolutely everything we do in this country, all sacrificed on the alter of climate change. The stupendous changes being discussed, or brought in, will be more revolutionary than the personal computer.
And that’s not an understatement, because that personal computer is currently powered by coal or natural gas. In 12 years, it’ll be turned off, because Saskatchewan will not be allowed to generate power.
I’m not kidding.
Apparently there’s a new “Clean Electricity Standard” being discussed which will ban the usage of fossil fuels for power generation by 2035.
Ottawa, we have a problem.
For almost every day this past week, SaskPower’s generation mix has been around 82 per cent coal and natural gas. Usually they’re neck and neck, but some days it is more coal, others it is more gas. On a good day, wind produces seven per cent, but usually less. Since SaskPower started putting out daily statistics in late September, I’ve been watching it like a hawk.
Even if we put a wind turbine on every section of land in southern Saskatchewan, we still couldn’t power this province because of the days when the wind doesn’t blow on the prairies.
And the Clean Electricity Standard wasn’t even included in the costing of this white paper!
We all know of the Federal Carbon Tax, which is expected to go up by $15 per tonne CO2 equivalent per year until 2030. But Saskatchewan expects it will continue rising after that – to $245 a tonne by 2035.
I look after my 79-year-old dad’s finances. His natural gas bill, at $50 a tonne, already means his federal carbon tax is equal to more than half of his gas usage cost. So if he makes it to 91 and carbon taxes nearly quintuple, his heating bill would be nearly all carbon tax. The gas could be free and the carbon tax alone would eat up half his CPP cheque.
But that’s an old story. The Oil and Gas Methane Mandate is going to require nearly 9x as many combustors as are currently installed each year in Saskatchewan. But we don’t really need to worry about that, because the Oil and Gas Emissions Cap Mandate will likely sharply curtail drilling. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?
Indeed it is. And we won’t need to drill because we’ll all be driving Zero Emissions Vehicles, or ZEVs. By 2035, you won’t be able to buy a gas or diesel light car or truck in this country. They’ll have to be either electric or hydrogen. And since we have no hydrogen economy of any kind – no mass production, no distribution, and only a handful of vehicles that burn it, the reality is electric vehicles, or EVs, are the only real solution.
But you won’t be able to afford to charge it if your province relies on fossil fuel electricity due to the aforementioned carbon tax.
And then there’s the Federal Output Based Pricing System (OBPS), which is another form of carbon tax. But I learned something else – oil and gas will see their OBPS rise not by $15 a tonne, but $30 a tonne post-2030.
They’re coming for you, farmers
A number of years ago, then-Premier Brad Wall warned that after oil and gas, the environmentalists would be coming for agriculture next. And he was right.
The feds are working on a Fertilizer Use Mandate, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from nitrogen-based fertilizer. Doing so will, in turn, produce less food. But food is no longer for people and animals, now.
It’s for your engines. Because until they get rid of all fuel-based engines, the Clean Fuel Regulations are supposed to use increasingly more biofuels – ethanol, bio diesel and renewable diesel. So less food for people, more food for fuel.
But I’m perplexed: what is the point of increasing food-based fuel if you’re just going to go to ZEVs in 12 years anyhow? Maybe they’ll keep producing the hydrogenation-derived renewable diesel fuel (HDRD) for the big trucks and tractors. But there seems to be no future for gasoline, since it’s principally used for light vehicles. So who is going to build all the additional ethanol plants if in a dozen years, you won’t be able to buy a gasoline/ethanol fueled car?
Any way you look at it, increasing biofuel means taking cropland out of food production even though there are still hungry people in this world. But that doesn’t matter – we’re saving the planet, not its people. Didn’t you know?
And then we have to get down to the bullshit of the matter. I’m not kidding. There’s Agricultural Methane Initiatives meant to control methane releases for cow shit, pig shit, and I don’t know, maybe chicken shit, too?
And if you used a disposable diaper on your kid, or your grandkid, that’s impacted, too. Because large landfills are going to have to collect their methane, and presumably burn it for electricity. But that makes me wonder – being methane, wouldn’t that qualify as a soon-to-be-banned fossil-based fuel? Or is it because it came from last year’s diapers that it’s not a fossil, yet.
And then there’s the dollar figure. The numbers discussed are absolutely insane. Moe told me, “The cost of these nine policies is to the economy in Saskatchewan. It is equivalent to everything we spend on health and what we spend operationally on our K 12 education system.”
It’s more than half of the current provincial budget. So how do we come up with that money? How do we pay for all these taxes, manure covers, output-based pricing, new ZEV purchases and the like? How do we do it when our two biggest primary industries are being choked off by these very policies? Where will the money come from? Who gets the privilege of working while the rest of us line up to pay our various greenhouse gas taxes? What will our economy be with reduced ag, and choked-off oil and gas?
The sheer magnitude of the costs of all these programs is reinforced throughout the white paper, if not the context. So try this on for size:
While NATO has been pleading for decades with its members to spend two per cent of their gross domestic product on national defence (Canada does about 1.4 per cent), the white paper notes, “In 2035, the cost to comply with federal policies will be $16 billion equivalent to about 14 per cent of Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product – this represents a cost of roughly $11,000 per resident.”
In other words, Saskatchewan’s compliance cost to its economy in 2035 would be 10 times what our nation proportionally spends on national defence at this time. And we find supporting our military tough at the best of times.
When you add it all up, as the Government of Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Finance did, there’s only one conclusion: the federal government is seeking to strangle the Saskatchewan economy.
If they really wanted to eliminate our CO2 emissions, why don’t they just strangle us for real? After all – carbon dioxide is such a threat.
Surely, as CO2 emitters, we’re next on the list.
Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online, and an occasional contributor to the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.