With very little planning and a last-minute text to my parents, I hopped a flight from London City Airport to Washington D.C. The reason, of course…to save the planet! With no lounges open, and the risk of delayed takeoff, I thought I should at least grab a bottle of water, and so I did. Hello Boots… one Volvic please!Only to be reminded that London had launchedsomething they are calling ‘Plastic Free City’.
They sold me the water alright, but it came with stares from all the really good people—each one of them making silent commentary, and staring at the offending bottle. You’d have thought I’d been going round the globe shoving plastic straws into the brains of dolphins.
Meanwhile, they kept flaunting their refillables like they were iced-out Rolexes. Oh knock it off! I wanted to scream. My entire life is dedicated to green pursuits but when it comes to placing the mouth of a bottle that I’m going to drink from, under the spigot of the community trough—I draw the line. Besides I can’t very well save the planet if I am sick.
Every litter bit helps!
The terminal was lined with bright blue water stations, and I walked to my gate with the gurgle-gurgle of people refilling all around me.Luckily I had only thirty minutes before boarding and so I stuffed the contraband into my bag before choosing a spot in which to loiter. The airport was mobbed and every announcement was getting on my last nerve. Just then a text from my client…
‘Can we fix this?’ Followed by a picture of the detritus from the Glastonbury Climate Festival. It was disgusting—trash and abandoned tents everywhere. It looked worse than a San Francisco public park.
‘What is it you WANT me to do?’ I texted back.And before he could respond I texted: ‘Headed to DC…boarding now’.
I could see he was trying to text me something else but I powered down my phone before it came through. Having found my seat I tore off the plastic wrap from my quilt and put my headphones on. I placed the wrap within easy reach of the flight attendant but despite several passes she didn’t pick it up. Why is the whole world plastic-shaming me today?
When we arrived in D.C. our gate wasn’t ready and we had to be towed in. Another delay! I know that towing vs taxiing saves quite a bit of fuel but this delay defeats the purpose of flying from City Airport!
As soon as I powered on my phone the texts started rolling in. Apparently, if you sign up for even one protest they assume it’s your lifeblood and include you in every update. I only wanted the EPA protest. What a mess.
That's telling 'em!
My driver did his best to get me right where I needed to be but it was hopeless. Pride marches, GenX, and half a dozen abortion marches. Finally, I headed toward a group in green bandanas knowing this would be my group, but it was not. This was made readily clear by a “Viva la Vulva” sign. I stepped out of the throng and asked a woman why green for pro-abortion?
‘Marta tells us that the colour of nature was chosen because it signifies life’, she said.
Abortion meanslife? I dared not ask. And who was Marta? Turns out Marta is the founder of Catholics for Choice, 'a nonprofit organization that lifts up the voices of the majority of Catholics who believe in reproductive freedom'. I squinted my eyes and walked away.So far I had accomplished exactly nothing.
Then my phone rang. It was my father.‘OH HEY!’ I said, yelling into my iPhone.
‘Are you at a club?’ he asked.
‘You bloody well know I am not at a club!’ I responded. I am in Washington, protesting the EPA ruling!'
‘Well how’s that going?’ he asked.
‘I haven’t found them yet… this is all rather confusing. But I do have a question, I got a text about the Glastonbury Climate Festival… I see electric- car chargers in the middle of… nowhere. So how do they get powered?’
‘Diesel’, Daddy replied.
Glastonbury '22: nobody tell Greta!
‘Diesel??’ I shrieked. ‘How does…?’ UGH! I knew he was stifling a laugh.
‘Yes, as you said, all very confusing. Listen, sweetheart, do you really think protesting is a good use of your time…?'
‘How would I know?‘I haven’t even been able to even locate my protest'.’
‘Strange that, Marxists are generally so good at organisation’.
I didn’t have the strength to fight him. It was beginning to rain and I decided to keep quiet in case he had one more zinger in him.FINALLY I could see my EPA group and I ran to catch up with them, only to ask myself why had I bothered? I was sweating under my trench, my shoes were soaked, we all looked stupid, I felt stupid—this was stupid.
‘You win, Daddy', I said into the phone. 'This was a dumb idea. I will schedule some meetings and ask my clients how I can be useful while I’m here’.
‘Excellent', he said. 'And you might advocate for the continued operation of Line 5 up in Michigan —it's an essential pipeline for Eastern Canada and the U.S.’
‘And they will listen to me because—why?’ I asked.
‘Because you’re the voice of reason on this. It’s a win for everyone.And you’re still advocating for the environment - just without the Marxist slant’.
‘And if it doesn’t work?’
‘Oh, just tell them they’re all going to freeze—they don’t even have enough energy to get through next year…’
‘I don’t think they want to hear that’.
‘Oh I disagree, Jennifer. Fear-mongering is the only thing you green-niks understand'.
I hung up and looked around. The rain was pelting harder. Everybody looked miserable. And they wonder why I never bring anyone home!
Happy Canada Day!
Happy Canada Day (or Dominion Day, if you prefer), to our Canadian readers from all of us at The Pipeline!
God keep your land glorious and free!
Property Rights? Not in Canada
A few years back, my wife and I were staying at a family-run country inn for a couple of weeks of R&R in the Thousand Islands, a magnet for summer visitors from around the world. Sitting on our balcony, we observed a group of Chinese tourists filing out of a tour bus, several of whom, carrying packed lunches, negotiated the rock perimeter that separated the establishment from the road, strolled across the carefully tended lawn, entered our landlady’s garden gazebo, and made themselves at home.
They proceeded to spread their lunches across the table and fell to amidst convivial chatter, oblivious to the fact that they were on clearly marked private property. Somewhat taken aback, it slowly dawned on us that they had no sense of private property, no awareness that such a concept even existed—the collectivist mindset in a nutshell, or in a gazebo. The inn’s grounds and gardens were, apparently, held in common by the people, to be enjoyed at no expense of personal investment and maintenance.
All your stuff belongs to us.
Ownership of property, as John Locke famously argued in The Second Treatise of Government, which establishes the legitimacy of “original appropriation” and rightful exclusion, is the keystone of the democratic state and the very foundation of personal liberty. Our visitors were plainly strangers to the idea, having been educated and domesticated in a totalitarian nation. What is one to make, then, of a high-placed public official in a liberal democracy who plainly shares an equivalent sensibility?
Responding to questions concerning Bill C-19, currently in its second reading before the Senate, Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti recently claimed that “You don’t have an absolute right to own private property in Canada.” Among a series of other repressive measures, such as new luxury taxes and Climate Action Incentive payments, the bill would allow the government “to seize and cause the forfeiture and disposal of assets held by sanctioned people and entities, to support Canada’s participation in the Russian Elites, Proxies, and Oligarchs Task force in light of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
The problem is not only that the bill may be in violation of international law. The problem is that the bill can be readily weaponized by the government at any time against its own citizens, thereby stealing their property via a form of nationally-implemented eminent domain, exercised arbitrarily over every facet of citizens’ lives. We can’t say we weren’t warned. In Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out that, without safeguards and a sense of “civic virtue,” democracies were prone to elevate tyrannical rulers intent on “penetrating into private life.”
Democracy in Canada is no different. Knowing the authoritarian proclivities of the Tyrant on the Hill, as prime minister Justin Trudeau is colloquially called, it’s a safe bet that the concept of a private self, and of the belief in personal property which anchors it, are not especially cherished by our Dear Leader, except insofar as it applies to him. Trudeau is more than capable of initiating Canada’s “illegal invasion” of his own country. His justice minister has merely expressed the prime minister’s deepest sentiments and controlling agenda.
Such perfectly demagogic statements uttered by the justice minister also perfectly encapsulate the state of affairs in what can no longer be considered a democratic nation. We may “have no absolute right to own private property,” which can be expropriated whenever the government desires, but the outright theft and suppression of citizens’ rights do not stop there.
As Canada’s draconian Covid legislation and coercive vaccination policies ensured, we have no absolute right over our own bodies, a most intimate form of private property—Naomi Wolf’s The Bodies of Others is a must-read in this respect, especially as it pertains to Canada. We also have no absolute right over our own opinions, which can be whimsically banned under Bill C-36 that would legislate against “hate speech,” as conveniently defined by the authorities. We have no absolute right to our bank accounts and financial assets, once regarded as an inalienable form of private property, which can be illegally frozen at the government’s discretion, as occurred in the aftermath of the Truckers Convoy. We have no absolute right to our Charter freedoms, which, as we have learned to our cost, can be ignored or suspended at will.
Parliament itself has become something of a joke, acting as a pedigreed club in which substantive issues affecting the lives and livelihoods of citizens will not be seriously discussed. It appears that we have no absolute right through the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to examine dodgy and controversial government documents and orders leveraged against citizens, which are increasingly sequestered under the chevron of confidentiality and solicitor-client privilege. Senator Claude Carignan unavailingly chided the evasive and supercilious deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland in special committee treating of the Emergencies Act, frivolously invoked to suppress the Truckers’ anti-vaccine protest: “We need information and documents, not a figure skating show.”
As Rex Murphy pungently quipped in a National Post column, “Granted the committee investigating the use of the Emergencies Act is only about piddling, trivial matters: Civil Liberties. Bank Accounts frozen. Arson alleged. Property seized. Police jamming the streets. Jail without bail.” The parliamentary exchange, he continues, “is proof of how far [our leaders] have drifted from the feelings and understandings of ordinary people”—though I would add it is also evidence of how far our leaders have strayed from the basic presuppositions and principles that ground the existence of a parliamentary democracy. We have no “absolute right” to expect fairness, honor or constitutional responsibility from our elected representatives.
Freeland: all your stuff belongs to us, eh?
One recalls the catchphrase adopted in essence by Claus Schwab’s World Economic Forum (WEF) planning the New World Order, envisioned as the Great Reset: “You will own nothing and you will be happy.” The first part of the statement is true, the second part not so much. More to the point, the oligarchs, technocrats, plutocrats and directors of the administrative state promoting the Great Reset will own everything and they will be exceedingly happy. We know that Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland are graduates of Schwab’s Young Leaders training programs, and are fully on board with the WEF’s globalist project to remake the world in the interests of a powerful and unaccountable elite. Our absolute rights are now the government’s absolute prerogatives.
It is as if we are watching Justin Trudeau, his cabinet and his caucus strolling across our property, entering our gazebo, and spreading their lunch across the table. The irony is that we, who once assumed that we were guaranteed property rights to our dwellings, our bodies, our opinions, our bank accounts, our need for information, and our Charter and Constitutional provisions—now watch helplessly as the political tourists who roam in and out of public office in this country are now the de facto proprietors of our legal and legitimate possessions. The experiment in confiscatory policy is occurring before our eyes as our very lives are inexorably subject to official annexation. It appears that David Lametti was correct. Indeed, we have no absolute right to anything and Canada has become the world’s shining example of the greatest act of larceny in the history of the democratic state.
Canada's Freedom Convoy Still Paying Dividends
Some good news out of Canada -- the Trudeau government has announced that it will "suspend" vaccine mandates and testing requirements for domestic and outbound international travel. Mandates will also be suspended for unvaccinated federal workers, all of whom have been stuck on unpaid leave.
Canada, of course, has lagged behind the rest of the Western world on relaxing Covid-19 related mandates, and even these changes are comparatively slight -- unvaccinated Canadians will still be required to isolate for 14 days after returning home, even if asymptomatic, and the word "suspend" suggests an intention to reimpose the mandates when there is a case spike in the Fall. Still, in the Trudeau era, frustrated Canadians will take what they can get.
But why now? After all, Trudeau just struck a deal with the N.D.P. to protect him from facing the electorate until at least 2025. And in the run-up to the suspension, as Tristin Hopper pointed out, "the Trudeau government was mounting an all-out campaign to convince Canadians [that the restrictions] were a critical necessity, and that to claim otherwise was reckless or anti-science." So what gives? Ezra Levant has laid out a theory on Twitter, which you should read in full.
2. That didn't dissuade Trudeau -- in fact, it made him more vengeful. But it showed Canadians they weren't alone if they disagreed with Trudeau's civil liberties bonfire. And the truckers removed Erin O'Toole, Trudeau's Conservative lockdown collaborator.
Levant goes on to discuss the recent viral video of hockey-player-turned-journalist Ryan Whitney complaining about the madness of Toronto Pearson International airport in the Covid-era, the "worst airport on earth." Notes Levant: "Like all insecure Canadians, Trudeau cares more about what foreigners think than what we think. Especially someone cool like a former pro hockey player, now a viral journalist." And then there's the fact that prime minister has violated his own Covid policies on numerous occasions, including just this week.
But above all, it was the truckers who demonstrated to sane Canadians that they weren't the only ones who opposed the lockdowns and proved to the government that there actually was a breaking point.
11. If we're indeed freed tomorrow, it's because the truckers broke the trance that Canadians were in, where the establishment had convinced millions of us that resistance was futile. And because of an American sports journalist, who pointed out that the emperor had no clothes.
Well, at least they're admitting it! Of course, the fact that they're saying anything suggests that they know that things are about to get bad -- much worse than they're willing to acknowledge -- and they're hoping to do some preemptive damage control.
They want to make your life worse. Don't say we didn't warn you.
America's Economic 'Bad Luck' Began with Keystone
President Joe Biden’s inauguration day decision to shut down and cancel construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada is even more shocking when it is recognized that environmentalism has moved on to an ominous new phase. For the last two generations at least, the political battle over energy in the U.S. has revolved around the left’s attempts to strangle the oil, gas, and coal energy that generates 80 percent of America’s total energy supply. The typical move was challenging every drilling permit application, and having Democratic presidents seal off more federal land from exploration and production through the executive fiat of designating more “wilderness areas.”
Environmentalists wrapped their intransigence against domestic oil and gas with the lie that America’s oil and gas supplies were so limited that we couldn’t “drill our way out” of our dependence on foreign supplies, mixed with happy talk about the fantastic “renewable energy revolution.” While windmills and solar panels are spreading like kudzu grass throughout the land (thanks to lavish subsidies), strangling oil and gas production hasn’t worked fully worked out.
A funny thing happened on our way to the new green utopia—we did drill our way out of foreign oil and gas dependence, much to the fury of the left. Dramatic improvements in technology, especially precise directional drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) unleashed a revolution in domestic oil and gas production. Much of this revolution occurred by stealth, and on private or state land, largely during the anti-oil Obama Administration. If the political class in Washington had known this revolution was under way, they would have moved aggressively to stop it.
By degrees environmentalists have become open and explicit about their goal, with the more honest slogan, “Leave it in the ground.” Environmentalists have long enjoyed considerable success in blocking or delaying oil and gas exploration and production even in the region of Alaska quaintly called the “National Petroleum Reserve,” let alone the oil-rich Alaska Natural Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and many offshore areas. The offensive has broadened, with success in getting Wall Street and several federal bureaucracies such as the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and others to make life more difficult for domestic oil and gas production.
But while the environmental crusaders may hamper, they cannot entirely strangle, domestic oil and gas production. We can see this dynamic in action in real time right now. Between the typical epicycle of oil prices and the disruptions in the global market the Ukraine war has caused, suddenly we desperately need increased supply from our domestic producers. Credible predictions of $8 a gallon gasoline and rolling electricity blackouts this summer have had a sobering effect. While Wall Street may look down its nose at oil and gas companies in their public pronouncements, their capital allocation tells a different story. The oil and gas sector’s value has soared over the last year as capital seeks the best return, while the rest of the stock market is in bear territory.
Our domestic hydrocarbons are not going to stay in the ground in these circumstances. But there is another way for environmentalists to achieve their objective of strangling it—one that is a lot simpler and more effective than opposing every drilling permit application. In a variation of the old gangster approach to a protection racket, environmentalists have settled upon a new tactic: “Nice little oil well you have there; good luck getting any of it to a refinery.”
This is preface for understanding the deeper meaning of Biden’s decision to cancel Keystone. The decision made no sense on the merits, and seemed heedless of basic politics. The Obama Administration had concluded that Keystone would have no effect on "climate change" (because that Canadian oil is going to go somewhere regardless), and canceling it angered our largest trading partner and leading foreign oil supplier—this from a person who said he’d repair relations with foreign nations that President Trump supposedly trashed. It was also an unprecedented abuse of presidential power: no president has ever shut down a private-sector construction project—unionized, no less—already under way absent clear malfeasance or illegality.
Keystone should be seen therefore as a capstone to the strategy environmentalists have embraced by degrees in recent years of seeking to block pipelines and other infrastructure necessary for a flourishing hydrocarbon sector. The Dakota Access Pipeline, proposed in 2014 and under construction in 2016 after clearing the usual concerns from state governments and native American groups, suddenly faced a late vigorous protest movement that went national, supplementing spurious environmental claims with a heady mix of identity politics. The Obama administration intervened late to halt Dakota Access, but Trump swiftly gave it the green light upon taking office in 2017.
Meanwhile, the successive governors of New York (David Paterson, Andrew Cuomo, and now Kathy Hochul) have not only refused to allow production of ample supplies of natural gas in economically sluggish upstate, but refuse permission for a pipeline to send natural gas from Pennsylvania and Ohio to northeastern states that otherwise now have to import it from, among other places, Russia. (Massachusetts generates two-thirds of its electricity with natural gas.) Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to tear up an existing pipeline from Canada, and while the effort is temporarily in abeyance, no doubt the idea will come back if Whitmer is re-elected.
The point should now be obvious: Biden’s Keystone decision was a political rather than a serious policy decision. Message: Don’t even think about proposing any new pipelines in the U.S. Keystone isn’t just one pipeline; it is all pipelines. And even if a future Republican administration approves construction of a new pipeline, we’ll tear up the permit and expropriate your project the next time we’re back in office. Who is going to risk billions on new pipelines with this kind of political uncertainty? (Little noticed in the media is that international rating firms now place the United States as one of the highest risk countries for oil and gas investment.)
They hate you. They really hate you.
Blocking hydrocarbon infrastructure is only one part of the strangulation strategy of environmentalists. We haven’t built a new major oil refinery (with capacity over 100,000 barrels a day) in the U.S. since 1977. Modernization and expansion of existing refineries have been able to keep up with market needs, but the strain is starting to show and the limits of this patchwork adaptation are being reached. Refining constraints explain a lot of the reason gasoline in California now costs $2 more than the national average, but good luck proposing to build a new or expand an existing refinery in California.
The point is clear: blocking the infrastructure to transport and process hydrocarbon energy reduces the need to block production at the well. It’s like saying automakers can make all the cars they want, but taking away the roads. (Actually environmentalists want to do that, too.) The long-running argument about whether to drill more at home has become a classic misdirection. It represents a revival of the mid-20th century socialist strategy that sought to control the “commanding heights” of the economy (steel, autos, rail, etc.) so as to control everything else, and it is fitting that the pipeline that makes this keystone strategy vivid is called Keystone.
This problem won’t get fixed until there is fundamental reform of basic laws and regulations that allow this kind of obstruction to gain traction. GOP 2024 candidates take note.
The surprise notwithstanding, this does seem to have been the right decision. After all, Kenney had received just a bare majority of support -- only 51.4 percent, and this after he and the U.C.P. board had fiddled with the rules of the review while it was ongoing to make it more favorable to the premier. And there was precedent for his decision -- longtime Alberta premier Ralph Klein resigned in 2006 after getting 55 percent of the vote in a leadership review. It would have looked bad had Kenney insisted on staying in office after attracting less support than Klein.
It also seems like a wise move -- going in, poll after poll had Kenney's province-wide approval rating was below 30 percent and the party as a whole was polling behind the socialist N.D.P., whose win in the 2015 provincial elections was the impetus for the formation of the United Conservative Party in the first place. A return of Rachel Notley and the N.D.P. to power in Edmonton in next year's election could very well endanger the project Kenney has dedicated himself to since he left federal office in 2016, that of uniting the right in Alberta. Kenney's personal unpopularity could be temporary, a product of unfavorable circumstances, but stubbornly dragging his party to defeat would make him a pariah on the right in Alberta and beyond.
A new dawn in Calgary.
It is worth looking briefly at both the positive and negative aspects of Kenney's tenure. Sean Speer discussed the former in a piece for the National Post:
He has also been an outspoken ally for the oil and gas industry, the lifeblood of Alberta and perhaps the most significant single sector of the Canadian economy. Kenney fought admirably for pipelines, especially Keystone XL, and against the Federal Carbon Tax (until the Supreme Court ruled against him), while continually pushing back on the anti-oil and gas policies of the Trudeau government in Ottawa. While he sometimes raised red flags on this file, as when he asserted that a "gradual shift from hydrocarbon-based energy to other forms of energy” would be necessary in a speech in Washington, DC, for instance, or when he appointed pro-carbon tax activist Mark Cameron as Deputy Minister of Policy Coordination, the good outweighed the bad.
Still, there are areas where the negatives dominate. Alberta's Covid restrictions in particular rankled the province's conservative base. While Speer dismisses these complaints, saying that "Alberta had the lightest restrictions in the country as well as a death rate below the national average," Albertans couldn't help but compare their restrictions to those in the United States rather than to the ones in Ontario and Quebec. What's the point of being the Texas of Canada if, when the chips are down, your government acts more like that of Massachusetts or New York?
And, relatedly, Albertans have been turned off by Kenney's kingly attitude. In 2017, he parachuted in to provincial politics from Ottawa as a self-styled savior, dazzling both right-of-center parties. He also stepped on a lot of toes. His victory seemed to many a bit too scripted, a suspicion that has been reinforced by the on-going investigations into alleged voter fraud and illegal campaign practices during his leadership campaigns. And as the actual governance of the province became difficult -- particularly during the pandemic and its economic fallout -- Kenney was quick to expel M.P.P.'s like Todd Loewen and Drew Barnes from the party for criticizing his policies in public. He also booted Culture Minister Leela Aheer from cabinet for the same offense, and he's been accused of petty acts of retribution, like seating his critics within the party in the back rows of the government benches, as far as possible from the action and the exits.
For his part, Kenney has argued that he's been "far too tolerant of public expressions of opposition" to his decisions as leader, and that the party "must be united, and unity requires a degree of discipline.”
Keep to the right, Alberta.
While Jason Kenney has announced his intention to resign as party leader, his intention is to stay on as premier until a permanent successor can be selected and he hasn't ruled out standing for leader again. Former Wildrose leaders Danielle Smith and Brian Jean have already announced their intention of replacing him, while members of Kenney's cabinet including Jobs Minister Doug Schweitzer and Finance Minister Travis Toews are said to be mulling a run.
Whoever the next leader might be, however, he will have quite the job of continuing Kenney's good work while avoiding his negatives, and holding together the two warring factions he pulled together under one banner. It will be tough, but necessary work for keeping the N.D.P. out of power in Alberta. The future of Canadian right-of-center politics, and of Canada itself depends on his success.
Canada: the World’s Most Comfortable Gulag
In an editorial for the Epoch Times, Patricia Adams and Lawrence Solomon describe Canada as the world’s largest prison and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as “the world’s foremost jailer.” In a country of 38 million, they write, reprising a Justice Centre bulletin, 6 million unvaccinated citizens are forbidden to travel by train, ship or plane and are effectively prevented from leaving the country, which is to say that a cohort of over 15 percent are prisoners in their own land.
The 2022 Federal Budget approves funding for three more years of continuing vaccine mandates for travel: “All travelers now departing from Canadian airports, on VIA Rail and Rocky Mountaineer trains, or on cruise ships (or non-essential passenger vessels on voyages of 24 hours or more) must be fully vaccinated, with very limited exceptions.”The unvaccinated, as they say, can take a hike. But the Trudeau government will not stop with the de facto incarceration of its dissident citizens. The docket of authoritarian acts grows longer by the day.
The government has recently passed Bill C-4, amending the Criminal Code in order to target what is pejoratively and misguidedly called “conversion therapy,” that is, the right of parents to act on behalf of their children’s wellbeing by counselling against gender modification and chemical transgender treatments. The government has contended that conversion therapy reflects “myths and stereotypes about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2) communities” and that practices that “reinforce heteronormative and cis-normative ideas… [are] harmful.”
La torture par l'espérance.
This bizarre document is framed in such a way as to give the impression that LGBTQ2 orientation is actually the default sexual status. Protecting one’s children’s biological sexual identity is now a criminal offense, leading to children being removed from the home and becoming wards of the state, an act of totalitarian state terror. Naturally, couples without children are spared the trauma; many appear to be indifferent or are even unaware of such an atrocity.
The federal government is pondering legislation, such as Bills C-11 and C-18, also known as the Online Streaming Act, analogous to the U.S. government’s just created Disinformation Governance Board, which will increase regulation of the Internet to combat what the government conveniently calls “disinformation.” People will no longer be free to express their personal convictions online without fear of cancellation or even worse.
The next step is the newly formed Canada Financial Crimes Agency (CFCA), clearly intended to block popular crowdfunding sources such as those upon which the Truckers Freedom Convoy relied. Legitimate protests will be starved of financial support. Individuals who donate to such movements will also be exposed to financial penalties.
Furthermore, not content with having bought off the Canadian print media with lavish multi-million-dollar “gifts,” Justin Trudeau has established a so-called Qualified Canadian Journalism Organization (QCJO) which renders certain unfavored news outlets like Rebel News ineligible for tax credits and other programs. According to the assessment of the Canadian Revenue Agency, (CRA) “Rebel News does not produce original news content, on the basis that the content was found to be largely opinion-based and focused on the promotion of one particular perspective.” For such federal agencies, truthful reporting by independent sources unbeholden to government subsidies, a rarity in this country, can only be partisan opinion to be suppressed or rendered difficult to locate.
These communication technologies and currency manipulations are tantamount to human rights violation machines. Using the FINTRAC system, originally meant to survey money laundering and terrorist financing operations, the government can shut down bank accounts without court warrants and suspend credit cards and other financial assets at will. The resemblance to the National Socialists' Enabling Act of March 23, 1933, especially Article 2 which specified that “laws enacted by the Government may deviate from the Constitution,” is quite distressing. In the present context, mutatis mutandis, the April 26, 1938 Decree for the Reporting of Jewish-Owned Property, effectively freezing the assets of Jews at a certain prescribed limit, is no less disturbing.
That is only the beginning. As political commentator Diana Sitek writes, “We are becoming monetized data,” an apt phrase. One’s “digital wallet” can be pilfered at any time by the government, a form of digital mugging. “Creating digital IDs and digital currency,” warns The Trumpet, “is all about government control.” The political authority would know everything there is to know about us, track our movements and activities, and intervene at any time to “shut us down.” These are the kinds of measures adopted by a police state. The right to hold “unacceptable views,” the freedom to dissent from the government line and its authoritarian agenda, and the ability to lead our lives as we see fit, are being efficiently suffocated.
Admittedly, at present, we are experiencing what seems to be the lull before the storm. Many of the coercive Covid mandates, for example, have been relaxed. We enjoy a degree of municipal freedom. My wife and I can now shop unmasked and patronize restaurants for the first time in the better part of a year. We no longer need a QR code to visit the planetarium, scope out the museums and theaters, take in a movie or a symphony, attend a wine tasting, or enjoy the paintings of my favorite Canadian painter Jack Shadbolt at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, which I had been unable to visit though it is only a half hour’s drive away.
Within the confines of our cage, we are now reasonably comfortable. But as former CF-18 fighter pilot and Aviation Project Engineer Major Russ Cooper, president and CEO of the C3RF non-profit, points out, “The mere cancelling of pandemic measures on the heels of their seasonal recession is just not good enough. What good would it do if all of the same factors were allowed to combine in a future emergency so that Canadians, once again, were forced into a ‘Gulag’?”
He is right, of course. Under the demagogic rule of Justin Trudeau, there is every likelihood that our assets will be frozen, a sixth, seventh or eighth politically manufactured "viral wave" will force us to mask up again or remain indoors, articles such as this one will be inaccessible as constituting “hate speech” or, according to the aforementioned proposed Parliamentary bills and more to come, causing “online harms,” and the vaccine passports, as noted, will be reintroduced and extended for travel. A redoubtable fighter for civil rights, former Newfoundland and Labrador premier and the last living signatory to the 1982 Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms the Honourable Brian Peckford is currently mounting a Federal Court challenge to the ban, but I fear, despite his qualified confidence, that the outcome remains problematic.
Solzhenitsyn tried to warn us.
Canada is in the global forefront of these malignant initiatives. Justin Trudeau, as some believe, may be a nasty piece of work but he is not, in himself, to be condemned solely. He is the people’s doppelgänger, a projection of the vaxxed majority who believe in the validity of his despotic measures and proclamations, who care nothing for the Constitution, are content to have their rights and liberties gradually erased, have no objection to becoming digitized, and have learned to hate as virulently as does the prime minister. “Populace duped, politicians deranged,” summarizes Peter Smith in The Pipeline.
Put another way, Trudeau is a “social construct,” invented by the electorate. The moment the public sees through the façade of counterfeit charm and smarmy concern for “the Canadian people,” Trudeau would vanish in a puff of Woke. Regrettably, none of this is likely to happen. We have nothing like the American 2022 midterms to mitigate the advent of despotism. We are stuck with Trudeau and the Liberal/NDP coalition deal until 2025 and perhaps longer, by which time Canada will have ceased to exist as a liberal democracy. As Milan Kundera presciently wrote of the totalitarian dream in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, once it “starts to turn into reality, however, here and there people begin to crop up who stand in its way, and so the rulers of paradise must build a little gulag on the side of Eden. In the course of time this gulag grows ever bigger and more perfect.”
Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau famously said that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. Neither does the state, as Peter Menzies writes, have any business in the newsrooms of the nation. No less true is that the state has no place in the bank accounts and private affairs of its citizens, a lesson the son has failed to assimilate. The major lesson the Son of Pierre has no intention of learning is that a tyrannical regime has no place in the life of a democratic nation. But this is what we have come to expect. Barring an unforeseen change of course, a dark future is fast foreclosing. Sauve qui peut.
Of Carbon, Carbs, Keto, and Canada
Canada was once a hale and hearty country, or at least, it was not in excessively terrible shape, until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided it was packing too much weight, foundering on a surfeit of carbs. The only solution was to put the country on a high-rez, environmental keto diet. The keto diet, we recall, restricts carbs to 50 grams or fewer per day to promote a state of nutritional ketosis. The body will burn fat instead of carbs, thus producing energy, muscle tone and overall natural fitness. Of course, industrial keto has nothing to do with healthful outcomes—quite the reverse—but the analogy holds.
In terms of radical enviro-thinking, the nation will eliminate or reduce its reliance on carbon and will burn solar and wind to produce energy to power our homes and industries. The nation will then grow stronger, healthier and more productive, and the economy of the body politic will correspondingly improve. The problem with this hypothesis is that environmental ketogenesis has got it wrong way round. It is both ideologically dangerous and environmentally unsound.
For one thing, environmentally speaking, carbs are good. In his various books, The Skeptical Environmentalist, Cool It and False Alarm, Green skeptic and president of the Copenhagen Consensus Center Bjorn Lomborg contends that global paroxysms over the heating of the atmosphere are utterly misplaced. The planet is not facing a climate cataclysm. As Lomborg writes, “more CO₂ in the atmosphere has acted as a fertilizer and created a profound global greening of the planet.”
Good old carbon.
Similarly, in Heaven and Earth, geologist and University of Melbourne Earth Sciences professor Ian Plimerpoints out that CO₂ is avital chemical compound that every plant requires to live and grow and to synthesize into life-giving oxygen. The vendetta against carbon can lead to no good.
Robert Zubrin’s Merchants of Despair and Michael Shellenberger’s authoritative Apocalypse Never effectively lay out the case for environmental CO2 as a crop multiplier and a benefactor of life and prosperity—a counterintuitive fact not understood by the myopic catastrophism of the global warming crowd. “Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels,” writes astrophysicist S. Fred Singer in his blockbuster Hot Talk, Cold Science, “becomes a natural resource for humanity rather than an imagined menace to global climate.” Singer’s examination of the relevant facts is convincing.
Carbon capture, carbon offsets and renewable energy subsidies amount to a fool’s errand. An environmentally-unfriendly, landscape-defiling, uglifying architecture of wind turbines and solar panels is not only largely unworkable and egregiously costly but actually futile. Neither the economy nor the backup electrical grid can sustain them for any length of time. The uncomfortable truth is that wind is capricious and sun prefers the tropics; air and light are non-dispatchable energy sources. The power-intermittency problem is crucial and baseload battery storage to solve the deficits is inordinately complicated, obscenely expensive and far from currently feasible. The aeolian fantasy persists.
These are facts that cannot be “fact-checked” or IPCC’d out of the physical record. Moreover, as Lomborg shows in The Skeptical Environmentalist, there is no dependable method of modeling an open system such as the earth, and there is no climate modeling system that can yield accurate predictions. The data insistently driving industrial keto are highly questionable. The advantages of carbs to the environment are not.
For another thing, the reduction in the percentage of atmospheric carbs owing to “Green technology,” carbon capture and punitive carbon taxes is infinitesimal. One of the few Canadian dailies that appears to have retained a measure of editorial independence, the Regina Leader-Post, reports that Canada’s new climate plan banking on carbon capture is a pipe dream. The newspaper quotes Julia Levin, senior program manager at Environmental Defence and author of the Buyer Beware: Fossil Fuels Subsidies and Carbon Capture Fairy Tales in Canada Report, who dismisses Canada’s climate strategy as“not at all realistic.”
The Leader-Post continues: “Carbon capture utilization and storage (CCUS) projects only capture 0.05 per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the new report, published March 31 by Environmental Defence.” Given exorbitant technology costs and the meagre emissions reductions they yield, the scheme is an administrative delusion. The global record is even worse, amounting to only 0.001 per cent of total emissions. To add injury to injury, in some cases carbon capture systems emit more carbon than they capture.
Lots of CO2 in this atmosphere.
As for carbon taxes, they do far more harm than good, being essentially a form of virtue signaling lavishly emitted by the Canadian prime minister. Their effect is to diminish productivity, raise prices, reduce disposable revenue and elevate the poverty index, all in order to materially change consumption behavior to medieval levels of scarcity. Carbon taxes have increased every year since 2019, when the tax was introduced at $20 per tonne of emissions, and will continue to rise annually up to $170 per tonne in 2030. Added to the rising cost of transportation, housing and food due to inflation, they represent a net loss for most households. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux is very clear about the harmful effects of the tax: “When including the economic impacts as well, most are worse off.”
Carbon pricing especially hurts farmers deep in the pocketbook owing to the mounting expense of propane, fertilizer and transport. The fact is that Canada cannot feed itself without sufficient and high-capacity agriculture and a solvent farming community to harvest its product and move it to market, any more than it can heat its homes and keep a G20 nation running without fossil fuels.
It has been sensibly argued that a northern country like Canada subject to long and harsh winters is uninhabitable without ample and secure supplies of coal, oil and natural gas. As Energy Policy Analyst David Yager states in From Miracle to Menace, to believe otherwise “is against the reality of what is required to live in this large, cold and dark country for much of the year.” The trouble is, Yager says, that we Canadians are living in “a parallel universe where the basic laws of physics, common sense, reality and even basic honesty no longer apply... Canada’s self-appointed climate leadership role,” he concludes, “is a failure.” There can be no doubt that a viable economy is reliant on plentiful and readily exploitable energy and agricultural resources, development and experiment, for both domestic and export purposes, which we are now sacrificing to climate folly.
Indeed, the controversy around fossil fuels is merely academic. Belatedly realistic countries, despite their infatuation with renewables, will tap out of this particular bout against carbon. They may begin to look unfavorably on ESG investment of private pension funds in underperforming alternative fuels concerns. Conventional forms of energy, abetted by nuclear power plants, must necessarily be with us for the foreseeable future. There is no way around this reality unless we are willing to crash our economies and opt for endemic shortages of everyday essentials and a dramatically diminished lifestyle with little prospect of recovery. Interestingly, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted in its 2022 Annual Energy Outlook that hydrocarbons “will increase through 2050 as a result of population and economic growth.”
A virtue-signaling luxury Canada can no longer afford.
Canada, however, remains oblivious to such findings as it continues to believe in and advocate for renewables, which is merely whistling past the oilpatch. Should we improbably win the war against carbon, we will then have lost everything. Canada sees itself as the bellwether in an ostensibly noble fight that, in reality, garners nothing but parliamentary plaudits and massive corporate profit. As Rupert Darwall reveals in his must-read Green Tyranny, it is not Big Oil that is the villain of the piece; it is Big Green. Everyone else will suffer. The writing is on the factory gate. Energy costs, stemming from both foreign sanctions and a modicum of domestic production, are sending retail prices through the roof.
Any way one looks at it, the climatological keto diet is a prohibitive farce. Taking carbon out of the planetary ecology is a very bad idea to begin with. If the project is ever carried out to putative net-zero, the dieter will sicken and find himself on intimate terms with sparsity. As Ian Plimer argues with abundant evidence in his recent Green Murder, “It has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming”—which, as noted, is by no means a catastrophe but a benefit. We should take heed. Carbon deficiency means less fecundity, less productivity and less prosperity. It will likely mean famine in many parts of the world.
Two years ago, we at The Pipeline reported on Justin Trudeau's bizarre decision to go ahead with a planned doubling of Canada's Federal Carbon Tax -- on April Fool's Day, no less -- despite the fact that the entire world was in the midst of a rapid economic downturn brought about by government imposed lockdowns intended to slow the spread of the then-extremely novel Wuhan coronavirus. Trudeau's defense of this move was more ludicrous than the decision itself. He said,
We know that it is important that we put more money in the pockets of Canadians at this point when they’re stressed. Our plan on pricing pollution puts more money upfront into people’s pockets than they would pay with the new price on pollution. We’re going to continue to focus on putting more money in people’s pockets to support them right across the country.
That is to say, Trudeau held that Canadians would be better off having their carbon emissions taxed -- "price on pollution" was at the time a newly developed p.r. consultant phrase whose object was to convince Canadians that the tax would be paid by Captain Planet villains rather than themselves -- because they would actually be getting more money back on the tax rebate than they'd paid in the first place.
There's a sucker born every minute.
This deal sounded too good to be true at the time, and it turns out it was: just last week, Yves Giroux of the Parliamentary Budget Office issued a report which found that "most households in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario will see a 'net loss' resulting from federal carbon pricing." The National Post reports,
As the carbon pricing increases, lower income households should continue to receive rebates, but middle-class and upper-class households should be expecting to pay hundreds, if not thousands [of dollars per year] according to the P.B.O., depending on their carbon consumption. In Alberta, the PBO expects that lowest-income households could expect to receive up to $246 back in their pockets this year, but highest-income households can expect to pay up to $1,925. In the end, Albertans will end up paying $507 per household on average. In 2030, the PBO calculated that these same households in Alberta could be receiving $660 or paying up to $7,402. The net loss on average would be $2,282 per household.... In Ontario, this year, lowest-income households could get back $150 this year and the highest-income households would be paying $1,137. In 2030, lowest-income households could get back $460 and those with a higher income could pay up to $4,866 for carbon.
These numbers are shocking, even to those of us who said at the time that the Liberals' math didn't add up.
Higher gasoline, diesel, heating oil, propane, and natural gas prices, and higher electricity prices wherever those hydrocarbon fuels are necessary to generate electricity (remember that when wind isn’t blowing or hydro levels aren’t there – as often happens in the winter – you need backup power).
Higher food prices, as farmers have to pay more for energy to produce food, and all of us have to pay for the higher energy costs to transport food to grocery stores. (Have you noticed the price of a litre of milk lately?)
Higher prices for consumer goods like clothing, and furniture, and everything else – which is everything – that is dependent on energy.
A fool and his tax dollars are soon parted.
Of course, Putin's war means that those increases will come from a higher baseline than they otherwise would have. And all in the service of hitting impossible emission reduction targets. As McTeague explains in a more recent post, the Trudeau government's stated goal is to cut Canadian carbon emissions by 40 percent over the next eight years, despite the fact that they've only succeeded in cutting them by 1 percent over the past fifteen years. And that was achieved via the low-hanging fruit of transitioning away from coal and towards natural gas.