First, our apologies for the headline… but we couldn’t resist. Really, does anyone believe Andrew Scheer’s passionate cries demanding justice for the oppressed working class? We refer, of course, to the Tory leader’s stand against the Liberal government’s carbon tax, which Scheer claims to oppose because it will hurt working people. Coming from a political party which has consistently attacked the rights and living standards of the working class for over a century and half, this rhetoric has zero credibility.
But Scheer and other right-wing politicians will use any expression of popular discontent to win votes, even if it means reaching out to racist and fascist elements of the “yellow vest” movement and other forces aiming to stir up hatred and bigotry. The Tories are well-known as shills for the largely US-based oil and gas industry, which explains why they haven’t uttered a word about corporate gouging at the gas pumps this spring.
It’s also true that higher taxes on gas and heating fuel will not help to hit Canada’s fossil fuel emission reduction targets by 2030. Contrary to claims by climate change deniers, a very real global crisis underway, with catastrophic impacts already affecting hundreds of millions of people. Canada does need an emergency comprehensive plan to slash greenhouse gas emissions. Such measures should include much stricter caps on emissions, an end to fossil fuel extraction and export projects, mandatory zero-waste policies, rapid expansion of renewable energy such as solar, wind and geothermal, a 75% cut in military spending, a massive effort to provide free public transit, a genuine food sovereignty policy, and other steps to reduce Canada’s overall carbon footprint. Such a radical change is only possible if energy resources are put under public ownership, to allow governments to plan the shift to a sustainable economy.