'Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads'

Tom Finnerty25 Feb, 2024 2 Min Read
Guilbeault: he'd rather fight "climate change."

This just in from the Green Jesus of Montreal:

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Monday the federal government will stop investing in new road infrastructure — a comment that immediately drew attacks from the Opposition Conservatives and some premiers who said the climate activist turned politician is out of touch.

That's from a CBC report which engages in what is known in the U.S. as "Republicans pounce" reporting. You know the style: A prominent leftist says or does something outrageous and the papers feel obligated to at least mention it. But instead of telling their readers that it happened, they tell them how their hated adversaries on the right responded to it. So Canada's environmental-extremist-in-chief, minister Guilbeault, states plainly that the Trudeau government isn't going to fund any new roads, because that money is "better invested into projects that will help fight climate change and adapt to its impacts." Conservatives react by pointing out that this is an insane policy, and the story CBC's runs with is mainly about how they are bent out of shape.

And it is an insane policy. Canada is a largely rural country whose population has nearly tripled since 1950, to roughly 40 million today. The Trudeau government's policies promoting mass immigration have only intensified this explosion. The governing Liberals recently set their immigration targets at 500,000 people per year, more than 65 percent higher than when Trudeau came to power in 2015, and a Stats Canada report recently found that the number of Canadian residents rose by more than a million in 2022, with "98 percent of that growth [coming] from net international migration."

The wisdom, or lack thereof, of these policies is a topic for another time. The point is, Canada's infrastructure was built with a wildly different population numbers in mind. And more and more people are using those roads every day, as anyone who has had the misfortune to sit in Toronto's rush hour traffic will tell you. For the government to suddenly declare that they're not going to fund any more roads (or at least any more "large" roads, to quote the weak-sauce "clarification" Guilbeault issued after Conservative criticisms started to leave a mark), is irresponsible and indefensible.

Of course, Guilbeault disagrees. As he put it, Canada "can very well achieve our goals of economic, social and human development without more enlargement of the road network." And, "the federal government also wants to encourage "active transit," which means getting people to walk and cycle."

It's hard to imagine residents of northern Alberta, say, cycling to the nearest town to buy a new plow. But even in an urban context this doesn't make sense. Toronto is a case in point. Sure, if you live downtown, walking and cycling are probably part of your way of life. But the wider Greater Toronto Area is characterized by sprawl. One of the "large" projects which might be cancelled by policy shift is the planned Highway 413, connecting booming areas like Vaughan and Brampton. Those two cities are about 25 miles (or 40 kilometers) apart. How many people are going to make that commute by bike every day, especially in the depths of Canadian winter?

Here's hoping that current polling holds out and that, before too long, the drivers of Canada are able to kick these clowns to the curb.

Tom Finnerty writes from New England and Ontario.


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