Opinion Column

Peddling perceptions of climate change from virtuous pedestals

 Ashli Barrett/Lacombe Globe

Hot take: the federal Liberals are not remotely interested in science.


For all their finger pointing and accusations of former prime minister Stephen Harper muzzling scientists, and doing nothing for 10 years with regards to climate change, you’d think they’d at least try to use facts and sound logic to back their carbon tax. They seem more interested, however, in just peddling a perception of acting on climate change.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna just might be the poster child for this stroke of Liberal arrogance, as seen in an interview with Evan Solomon on Sunday during CTV’s Question Period. She got flustered as she was grilled on the carbon tax. She got visibly upset, but more importantly, she got caught in a web of her own contradictory talking points, rather than pure and simple facts.

She blamed floods and forest fires which have occured since the dawn of time on climate change, even though the Natural Resources department says it’s difficult to prove he correlation for sure.

Her government has held nothing back in slamming the previous government’s emission reduction targets, but kept those same targets, which an audit by the Federal Environment Commission says Canada will miss. When asked why Canadians should believe those targets will be met by 2030, McKenna’s response was: “They should believe us because we’re taking action. For the first time ever, we have a plan.”

That would be great if there was any proof their plan - which focuses on on a carbon tax to “put a price on pollution” - included a number by which a carbon tax would reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The only number they’ve been able to give is that the tax will add 11 cents per litre to gas prices - and in Canada, that won’t stop the need for people to buy gas so they can travel to work, buy groceries and live life.

Not to mention that any plan put in place by the federal government isn’t sure to go through, with Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford joining Saskatchewan and Alberta UCP Leader Jason Kenney in opposition to a federally-imposed carbon tax.

McKenna’s response?

"I have no time for folks who are like, you know, 'We shouldn’t take action,'" she said. "I don’t have time for politicians that play cynical games about climate action."

That’s right - when in doubt, insinuate or call people climate change deniers, even when no one, especially politicians, regardless of stripe, are actually saying we shouldn’t take action, or that climate change doesn’t exist. Their cynicism is with the tax itself, which will do little to better the environment at a much greater cost to the livelihood of Canadians.

McKenna double down Monday, screen-grabbing a Kenney tweet which said: “C02 is not pollution. Life would cease to exist without it. Our forests breath C02,” and using it to slam him for “questioning the science behind climate change.”

Kenney has said some questionable things, but his tweet was pure fact. Carbon is not listed as a pollutant, and further, according to an Air Pollutant Emission Inventory report released this year, Canada actually absorbs more than we emit.

Who’s really against science here?

In a desperate attempt to hit-home with viewers, McKenna begged people to “think of the kids.”

It’s admirable to want to better the environment. We all should want to take care of what we have, but taxing people on carbon will just make it harder to buy groceries, to work, to heat homes, to retire and open opportunities for younger generations to enter the workforce. The debt caused by the tax now will become worse for future generations, making it harder and perhaps impossible for them to live.

What’s the point in putting in an unproven carbon tax if no one is able to live in the supposed “cleaner” world the Liberals want us to believe it’ll bring? 

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