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My way or the highway

21 Feb 2024 | OP ED Watch

Canada’s Minister of Climate Communism Steven Guilbeault really made a mess of things, even by his standards, by declaring out of the blue at a Montreal gathering of public transit enthusiasts that “our government has made the decision – our government has made the decision to stop investing in road infrastructure.” It wasn’t even true; he first denied saying it then when caught frantically backpedalled, while some unnamed “senior government official told CBC News… ‘there are no changes to federal policy.’” But it sure was loony. And in a baffling, unrelated development, a confidential Privy Council report “complains Canadians have little trust in cabinet’s climate leadership.” What a shock.

On opening his mouth and letting the wind blow his tongue around, Guilbeault took a drubbing promptly from all quarters for the incoherence of his policy. David Frum sneered “Latest Ottawa brainwave: welcome hundreds of thousands new immigrants to Canada, but no new roads for the growing population” while a National Post headline complained “Steven Guilbeault’s latest command – no new roads for all the electric cars”, which is a particularly telling contradiction given all the subsidies for EVs including a new tax break Finance Minister Freeland didn’t tell anyone about because “There are no other stakeholders to consult” and who can be bothered with grubby selfish citizens.

What’s worse, Guilbeault in that Montreal conference suddenly blabbed something negative about EVs themselves, saying “we must stop thinking that electric cars will solve all our problems,” and that, the Montreal Gazette reported:

“Guilbeault said over-estimating the ability of electricity-powered transportation to solve climate change and other environmental crises would be ‘an error, a false utopia that will let us down over the long term.’”

And your government is giving how many tens of billions of dollars to… EV battery makers? Two? Three? Did you even bother to count? And now you tell us? What’s next? We must stop breathing? Move to Mars? Eat bugs? Never eat bugs? Could be anything… except sober policy carefully crafted.

The detachment from reality is palpable. Over at the National Post Tristin Hopper complained that:

“The Canadian economy is disproportionately premised on people driving large trucks into the middle of nowhere to pull food, minerals, trees or petroleum out of the ground. It’s ... weird ... that we keep having governments who instead pretend they run Singapore or The Netherlands”.

Though if he were in charge of the Netherlands Guilbeault would find equally unsuitable, harmful and incoherent policies there too, as the Dutch government is already doing. But as to Hopper’s point, Guilbeault and his colleagues seem to have no more idea what is really going on in the Canadian economy than they have interest in it. It’s the green utopia inside their minds that occupies their attention, not the grubby and ephemeral reality of our lives.

In a speech to the “Canada-United Kingdom Industrial Decarbonization Forum at the Canada House in London”, and we can think of nothing we’d rather see our tax dollars spent on than whisking him there from Paris “where he attended a meeting of the International Energy Association”, and never mind the carbon footprint, Guilbault’s colleague and Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said:

“China has made a very thoughtful and strategic bet on the energy transition and any western countries that actually want to ensure long-term prosperity better get going.”

Wilkinson is clearly uninterested in the grubby reality of China’s economy and its massive lunge for coal, the emissions from which dwarf anything we do, let alone any reductions we might make. And he’s just as starry-eyed about Communism as generations of useful idiots.

Except for the lingering question whether Wilkinson is useful. He’s a legend in his own mind; the Financial Post reports that:

“In addition to managing Canada’s oil and gas sector through the transition, he said he also has to think about how to create new industries that can compete as the energy transition accelerates.”

Read that one twice, slowly. He “also has to think about how to create new industries”. Also. In addition to his day job.

Whole new industries in his spare time. Thomas Edison times 10. This from a man who has no idea how to create a single successful business. All he and his colleagues have actually done is preside over a massive increase in the national debt and an ongoing plunge in productivity. Oh, and a surge in inflation. And the sowing of confusion with muddled words. So where is this fabled green transition? Where has it brought prosperity, so we can have confidence that it might here?

They don’t know and don’t care. But they can see it in their minds and isn’t that enough? And they’re not alone. A New York Times column just said “A fossil fuel ban doesn’t make sense now, but it’s still worth thinking about”. And as a chirpy Wall Street Journal piece on the newfound enthusiasm for geoengineering and hang the “unintended consequences” put it:

“Geoengineering isn’t a substitute for reducing emissions, according to scientists and business leaders involved in the projects. Rather, it is a way to slow climate warming in the next few years while buying time to switch to a carbon-free economy in the longer term.”

Note how casually the piece refers to “a carbon-free economy”. It’s a beast that all believe in despite none having ever seen it. But we no longer concern ourselves with such nonsense as evidence of practicality. And why stop at thinking up new industries when you can think up whole new economies?

Which is why Guilbeault can wake up one day thinking Canada has more than enough roads and, before you know it, he’s blabbing it online.

So full planning ahead:

“Although Wilkinson did not mention trade barriers, he said that relying on free-market principles to bring energy transition technologies to market is not likely to work because the ‘long cycle’ of many technologies means it can take years to develop a product and bring it to market.”

It’s not the long cycle that stands in the way, it’s that “energy transition technologies” aren’t efficient or reliable. But no matter, he and his Politburo colleagues can plan whole new industries even when they can’t design an app or automate passport renewal or appoint judges or that kind of cosmic stuff.

Yesterday EVs. Today no roads. Tomorrow unicorn power. Wheeeee!

3 comments on “My way or the highway”

  1. Whenever geoengineering is mentioned I want to run for the hills, assuming that there will still be any hills after the geoengineering enthusiats have wreaked havoc on the world. Up to now, climate change policies have been mostly negative in their application, such as banning fossil fuels. Yes, as a consequence we have windmills and solar farms sprouting up like weeds, but they could still be demolished when the world comes to its senses. Geoengineering on the other hand has the potential to be impossible to reverse, so if we get it wrong (as we most assuredly will if governments are involved) we will be well and truly screwed.

  2. Shudder to think how much more damage Trudeau and co. can do in the 18 months or so before they're turfed in the next election.Unless we get a
    minor miracle,and Singh breaks the Faustian deal he made with the Lie-berals a lot sooner.

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