Trudeau's 'Just Transition' is All Hot Air
A recent poll has found that 84 percent of Canadians have no idea what Justin Trudeau's so-called "Just Transition" plan is, despite its being a key plank of his Liberal Party's governing program. And it's hard to blame them, because for all of the times Trudeau and his entourage have repeated the words, "Just Transition," they're generally careful to avoid specifics.
Of course, there's a reason for that. "Just Transition" is an attempt to address what the government has referred to as the “uneven impact across sectors, occupations and regions," of its climate policies, which, the Liberals acknowledge, will "create significant labour market disruptions.” Which is to say, it is the government's plan to ensure that the millions of men and women who work in the nation's enormous resource sector—nearly 15 percent of the nation's work force—will, if all goes according to plan, be unemployed. However, what if those workers were simply shifted into another sector?! Namely the "renewable" resource sector. Magically, you'd have a bunch of oil and gas workers performing green jobs instead, and everyone would be happy!
The idea of giving "green" jobs to oil and gas workers goes back at least to the Paris Climate conference of 2015, and even American liberals have flirted with it. Biden Administration "climate czar" John Kerry was widely and justly mocked for insisting that American oil and gas workers who lose their jobs can just go learn to make solar panels. Of course, the idea was typical Leftist wishful thinking—the vast majority of the world's solar panels are manufactured in China, and those jobs aren't relocating to the U.S. At least not until solar panel manufacturers are allowed to pay comparable wages in Texas and Oklahoma as they do in Xinjiang, an impossible outcome thanks to the 13th Amendment.
Canada has some history with similar plans at government planned employment shifts, which were mentioned in a devastating Auditor General's report on "Just Transition" last year. The first related to the federally imposed moratorium on the cod fishery off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1992, which led to a 15 percent jump in unemployment in the province. The government passed several major pieces of legislation meant to "transition" those affected to other fields, but though a lot of money was spent, the programs were ultimately ineffective. Consequently, the province's population dropped by 10 percent in under a decade.
The second example mentioned is more recent: the still-ongoing phase-out of coal power plants in Canada, and the attempts to transition those workers into other positions. Ultimately, Ottawa just told those workers to collect unemployment. When that money turned out to be insufficient for their needs, their home provinces had to kick in some more. As Don Braid explained, "much of the federal project money was aimed at diversifying local economies but had little to do with the coal workers. In Alberta and Saskatchewan, 83 percent of funding went directly to municipalities."
Meanwhile, the Auditor General pointed out that the Trudeau government couldn't even say how, or if, the program did what it was supposed to do: "The agencies could not demonstrate how the funded projects met the objective to support a transition to a low‑carbon economy for affected workers and communities.” Keep in mind -- this coal transition thus far has affected just 1,100 workers. The full "Just Transition" plan is supposed to directly affect nearly 3 million! Consequently, the Auditor General proclaimed the following:
Overall, we found that Natural Resources Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada were not prepared to support a just transition to a low‑carbon economy for workers and communities.
So Canadians are confused about the content of "Just Transition" because there is no content. Just a lot of expensive bureaucratic nonsense which will leave the country generally, and resource workers specifically, much worse off. In other words, par for the course for the Trudeau government.