Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing a three-year pause on the carbon tax on home heating fuel oil in Atlantic Canada. Notably, while Trudeau had no jacket and his sleeves rolled up, all 16 MPs standing behind him were more formally attired, with all the men wearing suit jackets. CPAC

 

If you listen to almost any domestic news across Canada, you’re going to hear terms like “affordability crisis,” and “inflation.” You’re probably going to hear about almost every union seeking dramatic increases in wages – from teachers in Saskatchewan to auto workers in Ontario. And you’re going to hear about how housing has become unaffordable, as has food.

This was the plan all along – from the federal Liberal government, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Make everything more expensive, until people change their patterns of behaviour, preferably to a pattern that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. And in so doing, we save the planet from the certain doom known as “anthropogenic (manmade) climate change.”

Until Premier Scott Moe released his “Drawing the Line” white paper a year ago, I had never truly clued into how much the federal government had been rebuilding our nation, our society, along these lines. And this is my daily job, as a reporter. So if I was clueless, don’t feel too bad if you missed it as well.

First we got the federal carbon tax. Initially, it was supposed to only go up to $50 per tonne of CO2 equivalent, and that’s it. But after re-election the Liberals threw that out the window, and added an accelerated time table to hit $170 per tonne by 2030. And even then, that might not be the limit.

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But then came all the other insidious, less visible programs, like the Clean Fuel Standard, referred to as a “second carbon tax” by critics. And then there’s the Output-Based Pricing Program, which is yet another form of carbon tax that I can’t even describe, but for big companies and industries.

Then there’s the Fertilizer Emissions Reduction Target, which will dramatically reduce crop yields, and thus, food.

But the whopper will be the implementation of the Clean Electricity Regulations, which call for the replacement of almost all fossil fuel power generation in Canada by 2035 (up to 87 per cent on any given day in Saskatchewan, and 93 per cent in Alberta). While getting rid of nearly all our existing power generation, we’re expected to multiply it by 2.5x, in 26 years and two months.

The net effect of all of these policies, as well as the ones I’ve missed, is to make almost everything increasing more expensive. If it moves with fossil fuels (planes, trains, trucks and cars), is heated, cooled or powered with fossil fuels (homes, farms, commercial and industrial businesses) or requires fossil fuels to produce (food via nitrogen fertilizer), it will not only get more expensive as time goes on, the rate of the increase will grow.

This is by design, folks. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature. The whole concept is to tax what you don’t like, i.e. anything related to greenhouse gas emissions, until it goes away.

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The problem people are realizing, in earnest, is that now means everything necessary to, you know, live. Food, fuel, housing. And they have precious little in the form of realistic, affordable alternatives.

It is the housing front that Justin Trudeau finally buckled on Oct. 26.

Apparently, up until July 1, home heating oil (basically diesel) was exempt from the carbon tax in Atlantic Canada. I grew up in a house heated in this manner. Dad had it on the farm until about nine years ago, when we replaced it with propane. We did so because the cost of the fuel was bankrupting him. Food or fuel was quite literally the consideration for the retired pensioner. And that was before the carbon tax.

So when Atlantic Canada, where up to 40 per cent of the population relies on home heating oil, got hit with the full application of the carbon tax, the populace started making some nasty calls to their 24 Liberal MPs. Food or fuel, they can’t have both. And that was with the carbon tax at $65 a tonne. In three years, it will nearly double. By 2030, it will be nearly triple the current rate. What then?

The people of Atlantic Canada were spared being the proverbial frog slowly boiling in the pot, as we Westerners have been with incremental increases in the carbon tax. They were thrown right in, and they didn’t like it.

So Trudeau, in what was evidently something of a panic, announced a three-year pause on the carbon tax on home heating oil. In the meantime, he’s going to be writing huge cheques for every Newfie and their dog to install heat pumps. No word on money to build out the grid to supply the additional 50 amps each one of these may need, nor the generation to supply it. Nor did he explain how the Atlantic grid will handle the rapid transformation of its grid to a form of electrically-powered heating in three years. Liberal MPs needed to be saved!

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The rest of Canada looked at this crass vote-buying scheme and immediately said, “What about us?” Nowhere was it louder than in Regina on Oct. 30, when Premier Scott Moe laid it out plainly. If the feds don’t drop the carbon tax on natural gas heating in Saskatchewan, on Jan. 1, SaskEnergy will stop collecting and remitting the carbon tax.

For my dad, he paid $178 in carbon tax on natural gas in January, 2022, when the rate was a quarter lower. So it will have an immediate impact on him, and everyone else in Saskatchewan.

Trudeau’s home heating oil announcement was the crack in the dam. Moe’s declaration that we’re not paying was the removal of the finger. And now that dam will burst.

The carbon tax was the key policy around which all these other climate change initiatives were built. It had to be universal and unwavering. If its foundation cracked, so, too, will every other initiative. Get rid of coal and natural gas and let our people freeze? Go to hell, Ottawa.

If people in Atlantic Canada can’t handle a $65 per tonne carbon tax, how are any of us going to handle it at $110 in three years? Or $170 in seven?

The key flaw of taxing that which you don’t like into oblivion is there has to be feasible and affordable alternatives. Trudeau, himself, acknowledged that the “pricing signal on home heating was not, in itself, sufficient to be able to transition.”

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And that says nothing about heat pumps inability to handle frigid weather. The tech can’t handle it without supplementary heating. And when it’s -28 C in Sydney and every Nova Scotian and his grandma plugs in their baseboard heaters to supplement their heat pumps at the same time as their electric cars, expect rolling blackouts to hit. The grid can’t handle it.

As with electrical generation, the federal government keeps pushing us away from what we know works, and has worked for decades (natural gas, coal, gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles) to what we know does not work in our climate when it’s -38 C for three days (wind, solar, electric vehicles, heat pumps). And Atlantic Canada is finally wizening up to that fact.

FILE – A home heating oil delivery truck climbs a snow covered road, Feb. 28, 2023, in Derry, N.H. Americans who struggled because of inflation may get a break on heating costs this winter. The US federal government says nearly half the nation that uses natural gas for heat is projected to see lower costs while electricity remains relatively stable, but there’s angst in the nation’s northeast corner with projections for higher heating oil costs. The Biden administration released most of the current $4 billion in home energy assistance to states on Tuesday, Oct. 24. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

 

Even the Saskatchewan NDP backed up Moe’s plan. Hell, it even moved the resolution, backing Moe and ending the carbon tax on natural gas. The vote? Unanimous.

Unless it is universally and evenly applied to all, the carbon tax cannot and will not stand. And that begs the question about all those other initiatives, from the Clean Fuel Standard to Clean Electricity Regulations. If some Canadians are more equal than others, the unity of the nation is at stake, as I’ve been saying for over a year now.

Affordability crisis? We know who to blame.

Don’t forget – the Liberals wanted this. They wanted to tax everything that moves, eats, or needs to stay warm. They got what they wanted. But now that people can’t afford to move, eat, or stay warm, those same Liberals are finding the people don’t want what they’ve got.

In the coming weeks, the carbon tax dam may well burst. If it does, the rest of the Liberal climate change initiatives will be washed away in the resulting flood.

 

Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online. He can be reached at brian.zinchuk@pipelineonline.ca.

 

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Pipeline Online provides the in-depth coverage on energy issues in this province that no other media comes close to. It does NOT receive federal journalism subsidies, and it will NOT allow the federal government to limit its freedom of speech, as it is now moving to regulate podcasts. With recent action from Facebook to block news links, it’s important to follow Pipeline Online in other manners. The easiest is to check each morning at PipelineOnline.ca, with the top story posted at 7 a.m. Monday to Friday, and additional coverage throughout the day and weekend. But you can also follow on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can follow editor Brian Zinchuk online at LinkedIn as well (you’ll see more stories that way). You can subscribe to a weekly newsletter. And if you wish to advertise and support this journalism, call 306-461-5599.

 

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