Canadians, Your Government Hates You

This isn't the worst thing that Canada's Liberal government has done -- that once-proud nation's dystopian embrace of euthanasia and organ harvesting probably tops that very long list -- but this tweet from Justin Trudeau's Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, demonstrates a similar contempt for their citizens:

This despite the fact that Canada's contribution to the tons of plastics floating around in the world's oceans is negligible -- as has been well documented, the vast majority of plastics in the ocean (between 90 and 99 percent) get there from just ten rivers, eight of them in Asia and two in Africa. Which is to say, this is less a story about single-use plastics in Canada or the U.S. than it is of poor waste management in third world countries.

Put another way, if you are a sick, sad, or poor Canadian, even if you're a wounded veteran, the Canadian government can't think of any way to help except to kill you. But if you're a Canadian who wants to serve potato salad at a summer picnic or doesn't have enough silverware for everyone who wants a slice of Granny's famous fruit cake on Boxing Day, sorry, you're out of luck.

Contempt is the only word for it.

In Canada, the 'Climate' Is the Crisis

Last year at the big United Nations climate conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about a town in British Columbia: “There was a town called Lytton. I say ‘was’, because on June 30 it burned to the ground.” The cause, and therefore the meaning, of the fire was clear to Trudeau: People are emitting greenhouse gases, raising temperatures, and the world will be plunged into fiery chaos... unless, under the wise guidance of “world leaders” at the U.N., we change our wicked ways.

“How many more signs do we need?" he asked in righteous exasperation. He warned that “what happened in Lytton can and has and will happen anywhere.” His ungrammatical prophecy is mysterious. Was he claiming that towns everywhere would burn to the ground, and already had? Perhaps he meant that every town on the planet was now as likely to burn to the ground as tiny Lytton—surrounded by vast forests, where summers are generally extremely hot and dry compared to most places in Canada.

In any case, the climate was in" crisis." As it always seems to be: It was in crisis back in 1989 when Canada hosted the first international climate conference, and in 1992 when Brian Mulroney’s government signed the U.N.'s Framework Convention on Climate Change. It was still in crisis 2015 when Trudeau’s government signed the U.N.'s Paris Climate Accords.

2016: Trudeau smiles as he signs away Canadian sovereignty on Earth Day.

And in 2021, after three decades of international conferences and agreements, emissions plans, countless new regulations, a metastasizing climate bureaucracy, climate taxes, subsidies, and investments—100 billion dollars in climate spending over the last seven years alone—the climate was still in crisis.

It was still in crisis last week, of course, at the most recent U.N. conference. This time the Canadian sermon was delivered by the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault, once nicknamed “the Green Jesus of Montreal.” Instead of a fire out west, the sign this year was “the wrath of Hurricane Fiona” out east, proof of “the cost of climate inaction.”

A normal person might wonder whether the hurricane—or fire, or whatever—was perhaps a sign that all this stupendously expensive action was futile. Maybe the “world leaders” don’t really know how the climate works, or how to fix it? Maybe they don’t want to fix it. But, unfortunately, there are no normal people at climate conferences, and these questions go unasked.

How does the climate work? Greenhouse gases released by human activity are believed to play a role in the Earth's getting slightly warmer: roughly one degree Celsius since the industrial revolution, maybe one more by 2050. But there are other influences on the climate: ocean currents, the earth’s orbit tilt, the sun. None are fully understood. Greenhouse gases are natural components in the atmosphere, and the human contribution is small. (The earth naturally emits ten times as much carbon dioxide as we produce.) The climate, then, is the interaction of all these complex systems and their interaction with human activity. Which is also extremely complex, come to think of it: farming, road construction, air traffic, wars, migrations, hunting, garbage collection, elections, drug smuggling, etc. 

So the “world leaders” claim that just the right policies will control the purely human aspect of one factor in this hyper-complex scenario—and thereby control temperatures, decades later, within fractions of a degree. To articulate the claim is to see how absurd it is. Was the fire in Lytton a sign? Do we even know that climate change is having any effect on the behavior of fires in Canada? 

2022: there goes Prince Edward Island.

Back in 2016 there was a serious wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Elizabeth May, leader of Canada's Green Party leader—who maintains that her job is “to save the whole world”—declared that “of course” the fire was “due to greenhouse emissions.” Interestingly enough, Trudeau was more cautious: “There have always been fires, there have always been floods. Pointing to any one incident and saying, ‘This is because of that’ is neither helpful nor entirely accurate.” He may have been on to something.

Natural Resources Canada concedes that fires are caused by a “complex combination of influences.” It is “difficult to identify clearly whether any measurable changes in the patterns of wildland fire over the last few decades can be directly linked to climate change." Moreover, fires seem to be getting less destructive: “the annual amount of area burned seems to have decreased during the 20th century.” And in many large areas where fires have been declining in number and severity, this positive trend “might be the result of climate change causing greater amounts of precipitation over time in these regions” (emphasis added). 

So their position is that climate change may cause fires in some places, but there’s no strong evidence that it ever has. Meanwhile, it may also prevent fires, or limit the damage they cause. Is this what we're calling a crisis?

There were over 12,000 fires in 1989 and again in 1995. Over 14 million hectares burned in total. By contrast, in 2021, the year of the Lytton fire, there were fewer than 8,000 fires burning less than 5 million hectares. In 1825, the Great Miramichi Fire burned over 1.5 million hectares in New Brunswick. It’s believed to have been the largest fire in North American history. Was the climate in crisis back then? Maybe it was. Apparently, the crisis consists in very small changes in average temperatures over decades and centuries. That’s what Elizabeth May and other activists call a “destabilized climate.” By this standard, the climate has never been “stable.” The climate is the crisis.

This madness dominates public culture in much of the world, but it is especially potent in Canada. The official narrative sounds like it should be shouted by a homeless man on a street corner: The end is nigh, and the signs are everywhere. 

Desperate Times Mean Desperate Measures

One sign that the Democrats are getting increasingly concerned about their potential losses in the upcoming midterm elections is that they're frantically trying to find ways to, at least temporarily, deal with the soaring price of gasoline. The president's decision to further deplete the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is a prime example, but it isn't the only one. Here are a few others:

Da Mayor.

California deserves its own special mention here. Golden State governor Gavin Newsom recently unveiled an $11 billion relief package in the hopes of combating the state's highest-in-the-nation gas prices. The average price in California recently hit $5.88 per gallon, though it has passed the $6 mark in many areas. As the Wall Street Journal notes dryly, "Gasoline prices in California are often higher than in other states due to higher fuel taxes and stricter regulations." No kidding. More than $1 billion of the Newsom proposal comes from the gas tax reduction.

The biggest chunk of money, however, is allocated to issuing $400 debit cards for all registered vehicle owners (with a two-car maximum). Unlike the Chicago gas card plan mentioned above, which is directed towards middle and lower income residents, Newsom's plan has no income cap. Neither is it targeted towards the owners of gas-powered cars. Electric vehicle owners are also eligible. For some reason. The cost: a cool $9 billion. Newsom also called for $750 million to be spent on free (at the point of service) public transportation for three months and, this writer's personal favorite, $500 million to "promote biking and walking."

Now, all of these plans are expensive workarounds which ignore more straightforward solutions. They're also transparently self-serving, temporary in nature, and of questionable efficacy -- as Jinjoo Lee recently argued, the degree to which these temporary cuts "translate to lower pump prices partly depends on the size of the market and how strained a region’s refining system is." Still, as vacation season approaches and the war in Ukraine drags on, it is better than nothing.

And, more important, it is a refreshing sign of politicians' accountability to the voters. To see the opposite response, here's Steven Guilbeault, former Greenpeace activist, and (God help us) Canada's current Environment Minister, explaining his opposition to proposed fuel taxes in that country. He said, "All of these crises will go, but climate change will still be there, and climate change is killing people." Guilbeault's party just made a deal that keeps them in power until 2025. He's not accountable to anyone.