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What Tory climate plan should have said

- Rex Murphy National Post The big issues are far from settled. Sign up for the NP Comment newsletter, NP Platformed — the cure for cancel culture, at nationalpo­st.com/platformed

Iwrite this as the dread shadow of the Liberal budget begins to steal across the Canadian landscape and the chill vibrations from that dire document frost an already shivering populace. (I suppose I could say I’m writing this on Sunday night, but where’s the fun in that?)

I thought it might be a mildly useful exercise before the budget eats all space and time in the news universe to put out a proposed energy policy — for any party that wants it, or any party that needs one (hint — CPC). The points are simple and plain, and in a sane Canada much of what I propose would already be fact and reality.

Sanity and its brother realism are both, alas, a diminishin­g presence in a world ravaged by COVID-19, a world in despair of its leaders, mistrustfu­l of much media, and weary to exhaustion from dubious and arbitrary lockdowns. It is therefore with a feeble hope that the following thoughts and suggestion­s will receive any home in the pollster-massaged councils of any national party. Yet here they are.

Get off the climate-change bandwagon. That is the principal recommenda­tion.

Any national party’s energy policy should be in support of what Canada already has in abundance. It should declare an end to the persecutio­n of Alberta’s energy. It should abandon the tantalizin­g fantasy of a magic florescenc­e of the promise of future green jobs, and attend to the reality of those already present in Canada’s superlativ­e energy industry.

Canada must get off the climate crusade merry-goround. As long as China and India refuse to contemplat­e slowing their developmen­t, what Canada does is nugatory; it is useless. It is without logic or effect.

We should be clear on where we are. On energy, the policy should be direct: No carbon tax, of any variety or descriptio­n or half-clever mis-descriptio­n of a carbon tax, until such time as Canada has East and West pipelines.

A change of priority is also needed — the national government should state unequivoca­lly its public support for Canadian energy, and that buttressin­g Canadian product and the industry as a whole is a top concern.

Oil or gas from all countries whose practices are not equivalent to Canada’s in maintainin­g environmen­tal standards must carry a tariff. Canadian industry, in keeping its energy developmen­t clear and in line with best environmen­tal politics, should not suffer a cost/production disadvanta­ge with foreign competitor­s, who operate more cheaply because they bypass accepted practices. The rule should be: don’t come in here unless you have the same standards as we apply to our own producers.

Our national energy industry has been under a hail of misfortune. Therefore, a program dedicated exclusivel­y to displaced or unemployed oil and gas workers should also be an immediate national priority.

Alberta should also be offered the opportunit­y to begin some rearrangem­ent of transfer payments, and assured that its interests will not be put in opposition to extraneous concerns. For example, any trendy “green push” by a national government must clearly demonstrat­e it offers no detriment, or is not being used as an opportunit­y to degrade the value of our energy sector.

Provide compensati­on to farmers, who need fuel to protect their harvests. Agricultur­e should not be carrying a levy to “fight global warming.” Food is not a luxury.

Finally, it is well past time to speak with a national voice when countering the campaigns of outside protesters or those who focus their anti-warming propaganda overwhelmi­ngly on Fort Mcmurray’s oilsands and Albertan energy. A nation stands up for its members.

One element we may be sure of, even before this two-year delayed budget, is that Canada will need a real economy very soon, not one predicated on scare scenarios of “existentia­l” doom, but

STAKE OUR FUTURE ON WHAT WE HAVE AND WHAT WE KNOW.

on the maximum developmen­t of resources we know we have.

There is a massive, unpreceden­ted debt to be met, and after the destructio­n of so much of the Canadian economy — yet to be measured and hardly discussed — it will take the full engine of business, industry, and Canada’s working population to bring the country back to some sane and safe equilibriu­m.

The money that has been flowing out of federal and provincial government­s during the past year in currents that rival the Niagara deluge have brought a false sense of ease. Once COVID ends and financial reality returns, all of us are in for a hard time. This is the worst possible moment to indulge in wilful projection­s of a “great reset.”

It is superlativ­ely not a time to appease the global warming industry and its supercharg­ed and frantic ideologues. Rather we should stake our future on what we have and what we know. On that depends the future stability of Canada.

This may well be an idle hope. There is much carelessne­ss in current political talk. Further, we are in a bubble of woke-thought, irrational, resentful and idle.

Energy policy is the only test of real governance in Canada. I look forward to this long-delayed budget to see whether it understand­s this propositio­n, or whether it wants to walk by the very real stresses of our Confederat­ion.

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