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Canada’s Conservatives’ Principles Ignore Climate, COVID, Great Recession, & BLM

We would expect a set of principles and policies adopted in 2021 to address climate change, COVID-19, the economy and discrimination with robust measures. It’s not that all governmental policies should be focused on these four major themes. Governance is complex and nuanced. But there should be acknowledgement of each of them and substantial sections devoted to conservative thinking around these very real concerns.

A version of this article previously appeared on The Future Is Electric.

The CPC is virtually silent on climate change, except to say that it refuses a federal carbon tax, wants to pump a lot more oil and gas, and would like to spend a bit of time thinking about adaptation in the far north.

On racism, it is almost entirely silent. They give more explicit attention to supporting religious groups freedom to discriminate than anything else.

I think this means “Wexit sympathizers, sit down and shut up,” and is paired with 2.1.3.

They won’t work to ensure access. They will let backward religiosos refuse to even refer women or those suffering painful and degrading quality of life with fatal condition to other doctors who will deliver service aligned with the laws of Canada.

Oh FSM. “All Lives Matter” apparently. There are many parts of this document which are tone deaf, but this one is particularly jarring.

So a top-line dog whistle to monarchists, but no biscuits for them when they come wagging their tails to be fed.

Yay! They like the federal government. Oh, wait. Yes, more trying to strip power from the federal government and devolve it not to cities, which are the true economic powerhouses and centers of population, but to the sub-national level where there are lots of rural votes. Very 20th Century at best, perhaps 19th even.

This one is droll. Decades of bad fiscal management by Conservative administrations which gets cleaned up by Liberal administrations, a pattern familiar south of the border as well, and they still have this as a principle. This is just rank hypocrisy and a refusal to accept that they are bad at this.

Of course, this is also another small government principle. We are experiencing COVID-19 when big government is critical, and are in the climate crisis, also where big government is critical, both of which the Conservatives are silent on in the 22 top-line principles, and the Conservatives are about small government.

Especially because they are the ones who keep driving debt up every time they are in office without the excuse of a global pandemic.

“Respond to”… hmmm. Fend for yourselves, and if you don’t, the government will … uh… say hi when you call? More rugged individualism, more dog whistles to people who blame the poor for being poor is the way I read this.

But I want them to do that with a very modern perspective on what the actual risks are in the 21st Century, training focused on addressing those concerns, and equipment and budgets commensurate with the 21st Century. I want a military that is looking ahead, not looking backward.

This conflation of the military with stodgy tradition isn’t helpful at all in an age of cybersecurity risks, asymmetrical warfare, vastly diminished military actions globally, strong global coalitions against aggressive militarism by any bad actor, specialization, and drone warfare.

Oh, isn’t that quaint. Except for climate change. And oil and gas remediation. And air pollution. And water pollution. And brownfields. And preserving and extending national parks and their protections. Yeah, except for everything, the Conservatives are for preserving the environment for coming generations.

What conservative environmental movements seem to have have mostly devolved to is rich people having places owned by other rich people where they can enjoy nature without concerns about hunting seasons and the like.

And there are the devils in the detailed document, like this one: “We believe that an effective international emissions reduction regime on climate change must be truly global and must include binding targets for all the world’s major emitters, including China and the United States.”

Yeah, lots of love for oil and gas. Climate action isn’t just missing in action in CPC policies, the policies are actively climate hostile.

Yes! Like Harper pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol! And Conservatives fighting against the (very conservative) carbon pricing policy instituted by the Liberal government. And promoting expansion of oil and gas emissions which are harming everyone in the world. It’s unclear what obligations they have in mind, but not many of the ones that count.

Amusingly, Section 143 which follows immediately is on protecting marine biodiversity, as long as the area doesn’t have any “non-renewable resource extraction presently occurring and after a socio-economic impact analysis on the coastal economy and communities has been conducted.” Yeah, protection unless offshore drilling is an opportunity and only after lengthy study of any potential economic concerns.

That considerably weakens access to both abortion and medical assistance in death, and uses the heavily emotionally charged language that medical assistance in death avoids.

Yes, health policies are based on their social conservative regressive arm. They can’t even use 21st Century language, despite managing to use the acronym. I’m sure that the religiosos were frothing, speaking in tongues, and thumping their bibles in discussion of this, and finally the sane Conservatives — yes, I know you are out there — just capitulated.

But what’s missing from the top end of the principles? How about promoting public health and having resilience in the face of epidemics and climate change exacerbated disasters. Silent in the 22 top-of-mind principles for the Conservatives. In the middle of a global pandemic. During lockdowns and vaccine rollouts. After substantial setbacks to in-country vaccine manufacturing in both the Mulroney and Harper administrations.

And to remind everyone, Canada’s ability to manufacture vaccines was significantly degraded first under Mulroney and then again under Harper. Yes, the Liberals didn’t correct Conservative mistakes when they were in power on this file, but the mistakes were clearly made by Conservatives.

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Written By

is Chief Strategist at TFIE Strategy, Board Observer and Strategist for Agora Energy Technologies, and co-founder of distnc technologies. He spends his time projecting scenarios for decarbonization 40-80 years into the future, and assisting executives, Boards and investors to pick wisely today. Whether it's refueling aviation, grid storage, vehicle-to-grid, or hydrogen demand, his work is based on fundamentals of physics, economics and human nature, and informed by the decarbonization requirements and innovations of multiple domains. His leadership positions in North America, Asia and Latin America enhanced his global point of view. He publishes regularly in multiple outlets on innovation, business, technology and policy. He is available for Board, strategy advisor and speaking engagements.


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