No sooner had Canada’s hapless federal Conservative Party dumped its erstwhile “true blue” leader for his serial ineffectual policy flipflops including on carbon taxes than a new group “Conservatives for Clean Growth“ sprang up to urge the party to get hip on climate. We won’t join the chorus because, first, we’re already hip-esque, and second, Canada already has four green-obsessed parties at the national level and with our quaint belief in debating key issues in an open society we don’t see the need for a fifth. We even think it might be an exceptionally poor time to scramble aboard the one-horse shay of climate alarmism from a purely tactical perspective. And we aren’t surprised that their manifesto is extraordinarily vague, offering only the usual hype about all the great but unnamed opportunities in the green economy nobody seems able to see or grasp. If there are so many market-friendly alternatives to fossil fuels how about, you know, telling us what they are rather than chiding everyone for not promoting them? Almost as if the real money were in political consulting rather than investing.
CCG’s own website is currently so bare-bones we can’t even link to the press release. But its core message seems unlikely to impress those of us not paid to advise Tories to rally round the white flag. And it is a latecomer in a crowded field, which now includes the “Ecofiscal Commission“ and the “Smart Prosperity Institute“ and also “Clean Prosperity” which did insist that “Exit Poll Shows Conservatives Didn’t Lose Votes to Carbon Pricing”. The usual suspects are piling on, saying how great it would be for democracy if nobody debated this major agenda except to quibble over the implementation. And as usual with such initiatives, there’s very little attention paid to questions of principle. It’s all about winning: “We are a collection of long-term Conservative Party activists, advisors and members that believe a stable, credible, Net Zero climate plan today will put us on a path to victory.”
Not, mind you, victory over global heating/climate breakdown. Over the hated Liberals. And what else really matters anyway? As CCG Executive Director Ken Boessenkool told an interviewer with The Hub “Some people think climate change is an existential crisis. I won’t debate that. But for me, the existential crisis is never having a Conservative government.”
Right. Blue ties good, red ties bad. And his casual “I won’t debate that” dismissal of the question whether there actually is a climate crisis is characteristic of this mindset. Concede premises you don’t believe in so you can convince everyone of your sincerity. And pair that cunning plan with wobbly policy convictions; as The Hub notes, “although Conservatives for Clean Growth doesn’t advocate for a retail carbon tax, the group’s website does suggest that ‘pricing industrial emissions’ is one of the tools needed in an effective climate plan.”
Sure whatever, man. Meanwhile even with Canada’s tepid climate measures in place the price of gasoline is at least 50% higher than it was a year ago and rising relentlessly. Before promising to conjure up a secret plan to get the world to Net Zero even faster than the Liberals and at a lower cost, maybe they could start with something simple, like telling all those truckers parked in Ottawa what they plan to do about fuel costs.
Speaking of which, maybe there’s a lesson from the truckers that people are no longer afraid to challenge an enforced narrative and can no longer be bullied into sullen silence by a smug and unified elite. If so this initiative will go down in history, all right. In flames.