As the energy crisis unfolds, and a larger crisis of productivity and inflation, the people committed to climate alarmism are behaving exactly as though this evidence had made no impression on them. And while persistence is a virtue as a rule, stubbornness is not and neither is foolishness. Which brings us to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau who, in reshuffling his cabinet, has chosen a man known not just for climate activism but for climate-activist lawbreaking on behalf of Greenpeace to be the Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Let everyone who reasoned that if they met these people half-way by surrendering on the supposed science a compromise on policy would quickly follow recognize that same lesson: At some point you’re not being persistent, you’re being foolish.
It is a large question why someone who himself does not respect the rules would expect others to do so. Although the phenomenon of elitists who believe in one law for thee and another for me is certainly familiar including at 24 Sussex. But our society does depend on honesty and trust; without them written rules are useless. And the new Environment minister would be unable to perform his duties if the people he targeted with his own laws and regulations were to lie about what they were doing or engage in civil disobedience. What would he say if someone targeted his house, as Greenpeace did to Alberta Premier Ralph Klein in 2002 with Guilbeault explicitly endorsing this worse-than-doxxing “stunt”?
Steven Guilbeault is also problematic because as Heritage Minister he was tone-deaf to accusations that his plan to regulate online speech constituted censorship. Basically he took the view that people should shut up now about having to shut up later. Even when he had trouble explaining what his plan actually was or how it would work. And now he has brushed off Albertan concerns about his appointment as Environment minister, saying his plan to shut down the energy industry is no secret. In fact, he shifted blame aggressively, saying “Alberta has been trying to pick a fight with us on climate for quite some time.” A curious way to describe defending its existence, which calls to mind the French proverb “Cet animal est très méchant, quand on l’attaque il se défend.”
As John Ivison wrote in the National Post, “How dangerous could Steven Guilbeault’s appointment be to Canada’s economic and political future? We are about to find out. Welcome to the no-growth cabinet, where the poachers have become the game-keepers. Guilbeault, the co-founder of Quebec environmental group Equiterre, has called himself “a radical pragmatist” but his background, including scaling the CN Tower when working for Greenpeace, hints more at the former than the latter.” And another Post writer, Jesse Kline, noted that Guilbeault recently refused to condemn Extinction Rebellion for shutting down a Montreal-era bridge in a piece that concluded “thanks to the anti-Alberta energy campaigns report, we also now know that the true enemies of Canadian prosperity are not some shadowy overseas money men looking to undermine our natural resources industry with vast sums of foreign funds, but key members of Her Majesty’s Government in Ottawa.”
To be fair, Guilbeault also says he did not ask for his current job and that there is really nothing new in the plan. Which is true. The Toronto Star oddly ran a piece headlined “Cabinet shuffle shows Justin Trudeau is serious about fighting climate change”. But did it need to be shown, and in this aggressive a manner?
Former Environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson, now at the Ministry of Natural Resources or Lack of Same, was just as committed as Guilbeault and just as appointed. It is the Prime Minister who picks these people, and does not understand that money does not fall from the sky and that it takes constant hard work to keep the lights on or to meet climate targets. In announcing his new cabinet he said this “diverse team” would “accelerate our fight against climate change” among many other things. As Blacklock’s Reporter observed of the fact that Guilbeault is a known quantity, including his negative aspects, “‘What message do you want to send to Canada’s energy sector in the appointment of Steven Guilbeault as environment minister when he’s built his past career around opposing pipelines and the oil and gas sector?’ asked a reporter. ‘There is not much of a debate anymore about whether or not climate change is real,’ replied Trudeau.”
Which is not merely a skillful dodge of an uncomfortable question. It reveals a fundamental element in the PM’s reasoning, namely that belief in the reality of climate change, and even of man having a role in it, is equivalent to the belief that all fossil fuel use must cease immediately or shortly thereafter, no matter the cost. That one could believe the first while rejecting the second does not appear to be an option to him.
In this regard it doesn’t help that the famously skeptical press are mostly just cheerleaders here. For instance CTV announced on Oct. 28 that “As Trudeau heads to COP26, a new analysis gives his climate plan a good grade”. And who did this study? The Fraser Institute? The Department of Finance? Why no. It was an outfit called Clean Prosperity that devotes an entire section of its website to why conservatives should support carbon taxes. And according to CTV, “Trudeau has substantially upped the ante in his climate plan over the last 12 months, including promising to end the sale of gas-powered cars and create an emissions-free power grid, both by 2035, as well as capping emissions from oil and gas and then forcing them downward, no later than 2025. The Clean Prosperity analysis says those three things alone could get Canada almost halfway to the new target the Trudeau Liberals set last spring, to cut emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.”
Of course if you got rid of our cars and trucks and our power grid and forced oil and gas emissions “downward” you might get half-way to your inadequate plan. We quote the Spartans yet again: “If”. But it’s not exactly a glowing recommendation. And it’s also not really possible.
As the Canadian Press said of Guilbeault, “Among his first priorities will be legislating or regulating an emissions cap on oil and gas, and then setting targets to force them downward over the next 30 years, in five-year increments.” Yeah. Downward. How far? In what increments? Using what tools? With what consequences? Well, see, “The details of how and when are yet to be developed but Guilbeault said Wednesday the cap will be set at ‘current emissions’ and go down from there.” Those are some deep thoughts.
As the CP story went on to say, “Catherine Abreu, executive director of Destination Zero, said climate action won’t be successful without getting those down. She said the political will to do it has not been there before. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has instead tried to balance support for the fossil fuel sector with climate policy, without much success. Canada’s emissions are likely lower than they would have been without Trudeau’s climate policies, but they’re still about seven million tonnes higher than they were when he took office. Almost all of that growth is due to oil and gas extraction and road transportation.” So Trudeau lacked the political will but now he has it, and has totally missed his targets but now will hit them, according to yet another unbiased neutral rampant climate activist.
It is revealing that CP then added without apparently awareness of any potential issues that “Guilbeault’s first job will be to sell Canada’s climate plan on the global stage. On Monday, the United Nations COP26 climate talks kick off in Glasgow.” So his first job is to sell a plan he doesn’t even have, to people who won’t believe him based on the past record. Then he has to come home and make a plan. After which it will presumably implement itself.
It is Justin Trudeau who appointed this person, with his record of hostility to Canada’s hydrocarbon industry and to the rule of law and his ignorance of how to do the things he’s been committed to for decades. It is Justin Trudeau who has been determined to get rid of oil and gas and all the benefits they bring, and has treated his impenetrable ignorance about those benefits as a virtue rather than a culpable vice. (Meanwhile the BBC is keen to help you grasp the implications of a climate-virtuous lifestyle including when it comes to vegan condoms and petroleum-free … uh… well, read the article.) But, and yes once again we told you so, it was all fun and games a few years back before the policies began to bite.
It is also Justin Trudeau who, with gas at over $1.40 per litre in Ontario and over $1.60 in BC and plans in motion to drive the price far higher, with heating fuel scarce and winter closing in, is looking at everybody and shrugging and asking what they expected him to do.
It is a fair question.