Greg Tobin is the Digital Strategy Director for the Canada Strong & Proud Network. 

Despite bold policy claims and announcements, Prime Minister Trudeau’s plans won’t have lasting impacts on the environment, but will leave long-term, negative impacts on Canada’s natural resources sector, and the thousands of workers it employs.   

Through empty promises and optimistic statements, Trudeau has done everything to look like he cares – except tangible action. Liberal cabinet ministers change their positions on the energy sector rapidly, adjusting to the most popular international issues of the day. At the recent G7 summit, for example, Trudeau’s ministers refused to sacrifice their climate goals to help our allies in Europe facing supply shortages due to sanctions against Russian oil. Yet Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said, “in the short term,” Canada may be able to supply Europe with liquified natural gas (LNG) from Atlantic Canada. 

That endeavour, however, is expected to take at least five years – which falls well short of Europe’s urgent needs. Thus, the Trudeau government gives the appearance of stepping up to help our allies’ energy crisis while still appealing to their voter constituencies by standing firm on the Liberal government’s climate commitments. But their “help” is just an empty promise. 

Meanwhile at home in Canada, the government has highlighted future projects in the East Coast as critical investments into clean energy, while willfully attacking similar projects in Western Canada in their appeals to Central Canadian voters. Through their politicized messaging, Trudeau’s cabinet has introduced new uncertainty to the energy sector – reducing the chances of new investments into clean energy. However, the Trudeau government’s plan calls for just those kinds of investments. 

Instead of a sin tax on carbon, using innovations like carbon tech would be a modern approach to reducing carbon emissions. Carbon tech traps carbon dioxide from their industrial source – such as steel, oil and gas, cement, or fertilizer – then permanently stores it by inserting them into underground rock formations or by repurposing them to create new products like cement or soap.

Detractors say it’s unproven, pricey, and dangerous, yet Canadian innovators show that carbon tech works. CO2MENT in B.C. uses carbon tech to pipe the airborne pollution through filters which screen out the carbon particles in the air and reuse them for CO2-cured concrete – storing the carbon indefinitely. 

Canada has the resources, innovation, and skilled workforce needed to become a global supplier of clean and responsible energy. We have what it takes to replace energy from autocratic states. And, to their credit, the Trudeau government has signaled they recognize carbon tech and other clean energy innovations as a core part of their climate plan. Ministers Guilbeault and Wilkinson even penned an op-ed to that effect noting the need for carbon tech as part of the solution.

However, the industry needs tangible, consistent financial support to achieve a pathway to net-zero emissions, not promises. Trudeau’s oil patch tax credit is a weak olive branch. The government cannot claim they want to invest in the industry’s green energy transformation at the same time they vilify the sector, hindering the very profits they are asking the industry to reinvest. The sector needs a supportive and consistent government – and a clear path forward. And in this unpredictable economy, it’s what Canadians deserve instead of lip service to ineffective environmental policy.

Every day, it seems like Canadians are paying more at the pumps for the fuel they need to get to work, school, and home. According to Trudeau, the surge in gas prices is the result of everything but their tax increases. By trying to build a legacy as an environmentalist, Trudeau is more likely to be remembered for making life unaffordable for Canadian families, or “painful” to quote Liberal MP Ryan Turnbull’s recent comments. Amidst a global conflict and affordability crisis, Trudeau jacked up the carbon tax, without a thought for family budgets. 

For decades, the energy sector has supported Canada’s economy and development – and created the jobs we need to thrive. We have an opportunity to provide an ethical solution to Europe’s energy crisis, but we need a government that won’t hold us back. We’re leaders in clean, ethical energy – and we can supply affordable and responsible products to the world.   

Canada can have both environmental reform and a stable energy sector, however, the vilification of Canada’s natural resources industry, accompanied by short-sighted “lip service” to environmental policy, will lead to its failure. Canadians can’t afford to wait and see on this issue – and they can’t afford to have unreliable energy. They need a better plan than what Trudeau has offered. 

Greg Tobin is the Digital Strategy Director for the Canada Strong & Proud Network. 

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Gregory Tobin is the National Content Manager for the Canada Strong & Proud network of pages. Working in graphic design, video design, social media management and much more. His career has seen him work on numerous political campaigns across the country.

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