Go Green Go Broke


Rex Murphy: Go green or go broke — the Liberals’ new budget does both

In politics, budgets are screenplays for movies that will never get made

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Published Mar 30, 2023  •  Last updated 2 days ago  •  5 minute read

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland participates in a news conference before delivering the federal budget on March 28, 2023, in Ottawa.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland participates in a news conference before delivering the federal budget on March 28, 2023, in Ottawa. Photo by Adrian Wyld / The Canadian Press

Keynes (John, Maynard), Apocryphal: “Monetary policy? I would sooner herd sheep.”

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Budgets, like Bidens, bore me.

Like another in the fellowship of the great minds of our day, I pay no attention to monetary policy. Or to fiscal policy.

And what is a budget but a massive tool of that latter? Budgets get as much attention from “communications advisers” — the most empty phrase and occupation of our time — as they do from … people who might know something about the economy. Most likely more. Besides, budgetary promises do not stand up in time, at all.

You want an example? Recall.

In 2015, Justin Trudeau “looked straight at Canadians” (his phrase) and in that soft, hushed, mellow tone he struggles to adopt when he’s about to burst from the magma force of his urgent sincerity, promised — “being honest the way I always have” — that by 2019 (four years back for those who are counting), Canada would have a “balanced budget.”

Balanced. By 2019. Zero deficit.

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It is now in the year of our Lord 2023. And our Canadian deficit is an admirable — impressive by the finest standards — more than $40 billion. Four years off target. Forty billion plus in the red. And the national debt — well that’s on a rocket somewhere far up in space.

So pay no attention to budgets. In politics, they are screenplays for movies that will never get made. Kind of like “tree-planting ” boasts (two billion promised, 10 million planted), if you want another example.

There was one part of the budget mildly worth paying attention to — the commitment (how they love that word in this context) to fighting global warming. Chrystia Freeland, with nary a scuff on her new finance minister’s shoes, projected something like $21 billion to keep the world from burning up on her watch. Just what we need.

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I wonder how close that comes to the amount Germany just pledged to hand over to Qatar for natural gas. It signed a multi-billion contract mere months after being driven out of Canada because there was “no business case” — as per our green PM — for the same deal here.

Here’s a line that wasn’t in the budget I didn’t listen to. If you turn down revenues that can be produced from natural resources that you have, and spend revenues on dream projects you do not yet have, you probably should not be in finance or business. A portfolio in arts, or perhaps heritage.

Under this mesmerized government, green is god. Which ignores the present-day world (see Russia and Germany), the realities of the Canadian economy, and already existing illustrations of sublime and costly folly.

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Germany went mad for green and, as just said, had to run to Qatar just to keep the home fires burning.

Ontario went mad for green, drove up electricity and fuel costs, cancelled gas plants, shut down coal — and then — had to subsidize the people for the huge household costs these same demented green policies caused. It’s still subsidizing them in the green wasteland left by Dalton McGuinty and Kathleen Wynn. Go green; go broke. And look foolish in the attempt.

Go green; go broke. And look foolish in the attempt

Gerald Butts was the chief adviser to McGuinty during that golden period. He “owns” the vinegar “success” of Ontario’s green dreams. He went from there to Ottawa, where he could pour the same advice into more powerful and certainly more eager ears, already attuned to hear the siren call of green apocalypse and a beautiful, Edenic, net-zero new world.

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Trudeau himself is — if such is possible — even more green than he is feminist, and has had around his high cabinet table the most febrile green zealots — outside of an Elizabeth May celebration dinner hosted by David Suzuki — it is possible to congregate.

So quelle surprise, as our French-Canadian citizens say, that the budget lists numerous more billions to toss down the same vain and failed alleyway?

Canada, being the linchpin and only guardian against existential global warming, must spend, spend, spend on green. What are deficits, what are debt, in the face of a total planetary extinction?

Canada must spend, spend, spend on green

Canada is not the world’s thermostat, but we are — such is the Trudeau vision — the mercury in the tube.

Hence, green before all. Hence, Alberta, shut down. Hence, hydrogen plants in Newfoundland (like that’s going to happen). Hence, bring on another carbon tax while offering subsidies to people buying groceries. The damn carbon taxes are why the groceries are so expensive.

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There’s a bit of fiscal policy I do understand. Green contradicts the economy. It recklessly throws away real advantage for ideological comfort. It is a game of the well-off, paid for by those who are, sorely, not well-off. Many jet flights for our leaders. And more expensive gasoline for the poor proletariat with her barely chugging Civic.

But hey, Joe Biden dropped by. The modern world’s most uncertain leader.

What an honour for Canada.

What an honour for Canada

The menu was great. Mr. Butts was there. No one mentioned the Keystone pipeline. Or Joe’s son Hunter. Or the continued neglect of our own military, while we spend millions on another. Alberta is facing the gloriously termed great transition. Jagmeet Singh has cratered to Justin Trudeau’s fuzzy vision of Canada. But we have help on our grocery bills — inflated by the government’s own policies, and spiked particularly by the always rising carbon tax.

All is well then. It has been a great seven days in Ottawa. And what do days count in any other place?

P.S. Personal note to the “Rapporteur”: Mr. David Johnston, you should decline the special rapporteur position. It puts you in a conflict of interest situation. Friends cannot investigate friends.

National Post

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