Next week, the Conservative Party’s climate platform will finally be revealed.

But we already know plenty about the Conservative approach to climate change.

While the rest of the world is taking more action to battle this climate crisis, Canada’s Conservatives want to go in exactly the opposite direction.

'We can hope for the best from the upcoming Conservative climate policy reveal. But we should all prepare for the worst. This is a political party that has lost its way – and it’s Canadians who stand to lose the most,' @CathMcKenna writes.

The finest business minds in the world believe cutting carbon pollution is both necessary and possible to prevent profound harm to our economy and to our wellbeing. Major companies – from Coca Cola, to Ford, Apple, Maersk, and Shell – are re-imagining their business models. And the creativity and ambition we see from small businesses working to improve their environmental performance and adopt more sustainable solutions is beyond inspiring. Governments at all levels should encourage these entrepreneurial instincts – and watch the good things that will happen.

Yet Canada’s Conservatives seem dead-set in the belief that fighting climate change is bad for business. Does Andrew Scheer really know better than these leading global companies?

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who seems to call the shots for Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, says investors don’t really care about climate change – it’s nothing more than a “flavour of the month’’. Tell that to Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, who recently observed that the damages from climate change “decrease productivity and destroy wealth,” and stated that the financial sector has an essential role to play in addressing climate change, for “we cannot ignore the obvious physical risks before our eyes.”

Meantime, the world’s most sophisticated insurance companies say the spiraling costs of climate-related weather disasters will end up making it impossible to offer affordable insurance for many people. In Canada, insurance costs from extreme weather have grown 500 per cent in the last two decades. Yet Conservatives dismiss this expertise. Many – Andrew Scheer among them – appear unconvinced there’s any connection between fast-rising temperatures, human activity, and the fast-rising incidence of storms, floods, droughts and fires. They should educate themselves by reading Canada’s Changing Climate Report. Written by scientists, it explains that, not only is Canada warming at twice the global average, Canadians can expect climate change to intensify weather extremes in the future. You’d think with that prognosis, every major political party in this country would have a credible plan to manage the costly fallout.

Not the Conservatives. But that Party’s blind spot on climate-related risks and opportunities isn’t new.

In 2002, Stephen Harper said the Kyoto Accord was a “socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth producing nations” and an agreement “based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends.” That came two decades after the world’s leading scientists said increased concentrations of carbon dioxide were leading to rising temperatures that would cause extensive climate change if not mitigated.

Some Conservatives today are still trying to persuade Canadians that carbon pollution is simply “plant food”.

For Canadians who wonder why the Conservative Party stands so far adrift of leading economic authorities, as well as the overwhelming scientific consensus, the answer is clear – and disappointing.

The Conservatives have become captive to oil lobbyists. Mr. Scheer and his campaign director (a founder of right-wing Rebel Media) met this spring with a handful of oil lobbyists in a luxury resort in the Alberta foothills, to plan the federal party’s campaign together.

Not long after that, despite more floods and fires, Conservatives again postponed announcing their climate plan, and launched a platform promising unlimited pipelines and tankers instead. Mr. Scheer travelled to Calgary to pledge that, if he became prime minister, he would gut environmental laws just like Stephen Harper did, steamroll Indigenous Peoples’ constitutional rights, and block Canadians from having a say in resource development.

We all know where that road leads: more paralysis and polarization.

A Conservative victory this fall would see Canada join the ranks of other climate free-riders – too blindly self-interested to carry our share of the load, while too blindly ideological to recognize the trillion-dollar opportunity the clean energy transition represents.

That’s not how I, and many other Canadians, see our place in the world.

There is clearly a better path. Investment in Canada from around the world is up a massive 60 per cent. A million new jobs have been created and unemployment is at an all-time low. Our government is using revenues from this healthy economy to make historic investments in public transit, help Canadians make the switch to electric vehicles, replacing polluting coal power with cleaner sources like solar and wind, and make it more affordable for small and larger businesses to reduce pollution. These investments give Canadian companies and workers a more secure future – because the most competitive economies in the world will also be the cleanest.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney have foreshadowed what to expect if Andrew Scheer wins the election this fall. Mr. Ford wanted to privatize Toronto’s Greenbelt, and cancelled all kinds of environmentally important initiatives, from putting a price on carbon pollution to planting trees. He cut forest, fire and flood management programs, too – at the exact moment when Ontarians are suffering from forest fires and floods. Mr. Kenney is spending $30 million in Albertans’ tax dollars on a pro-oil war room (you’d think oil lobbyists could spend their own money) and a dubious campaign to discredit and silence Albertans who care about the environment. More moves straight out of Stephen Harper’s playbook.

For the planet’s sake, we can hope for the best from the upcoming Conservative climate policy reveal. But we should all prepare for the worst. This is a political party that has lost its way – and it’s Canadians who stand to lose the most.

1:52 PM PT Correction: This article stated earlier that 'insurance costs from extreme weather have grown 500 per cent in the last decade.' In fact, costs grew over 'two decades.'

Catherine McKenna is Canada's environment and climate change minister and the Liberal MP for the riding of Ottawa Centre.

It's one thing for the National Observer to stand up for action on the climate crisis. It's another thing to become a mouthpiece for the (pro-big oil, pro-Trans Mountain) Liberal Party. I hope the government paid you a large bundle of money for this ad so that you can refocus on hard-nosed investigative journalism.

Please refund my subscription. This is so disappointing. I became a subscriber to support journalism not political shilling.

Seriously??? You expect the National Observer to just report on what you consider important?? I will continue reading, because in the past, I've learned about Liberal back sliding on climate (and yes, its always an oily bunch of 'experts' behind those concessions). I learned of Jean Charet's contract with an Alberta based oil company discredited his involvement in the Energy East Pipeline hearings....

National Observer is a free media outlet. It takes money from you and me........not Big Oil, the Liberal or Conservative parties of Canada, or Yellow Jackets. In 2016 The National Observer told me about the backroom deals we know go on.....

That it is now sharing Catherine McKinna's take on Andrew Scheer's upcoming climate plan is good reporting. When Scheer releases his plans.......we can measure them against her suspicions.

I want all the facts on the table....and suspect you may be less friendly to that open kind of journalism. Fake news begins with filtered news however, so please reconsider.

Seriously??? You expect the National Observer to just report on what you consider important?? I will continue reading, because in the past, I've learned about Liberal back sliding on climate (and yes, its always an oily bunch of 'experts' behind those concessions). I learned of Jean Charet's contract with an Alberta based oil company discredited his involvement in the Energy East Pipeline hearings....

National Observer is a free media outlet. It takes money from you and me........not Big Oil, the Liberal or Conservative parties of Canada, or Yellow Jackets. In 2016 The National Observer told me about the backroom deals we know go on.....

That it is now sharing Catherine McKinna's take on Andrew Scheer's upcoming climate plan is good reporting. When Scheer releases his plans.......we can measure them against her suspicions.

I want all the facts on the table....and suspect you may be less friendly to that open kind of journalism. Fake news begins with filtered news however, so please reconsider.

I too find it concerning that the NO is allowing themselves to be used for partisan purposes. I haven't even read this piece, and it's hard to believe that it's worth my time to do so. Even if McKenna WAS a worthwhile environment minister (rather than the minister who put NS's coast at unacceptable risk by letting BP drill there after they destroyed the Gulf of Mexico, and let's also not forget, the minister who made the dim-bulbed comment, "I'm minister of the environment for oil workers just as much as for environmentalists"), I would find it inappropriate for the NO to print her partisan attack piece.

Increasingly in the media, the rhetoric of both the Liberals and Conservatives is nothing but a tirade about how awful the other party is.

Election issues are increasingly being framed within the Climate Emergency lens, as it should be, as we have no more time to waste while waiting for Real Climate Leadership.

Yet neither of these parties has a viable plan for meaningful real action on the emerging catastrophic phase of the Climate Emergency we all face.

Both parties are inextricably in collusion with the Tar Sands Industry that is destroying the viability of this planet to support human life and the millions of species at risk of extinction.

Once again, the public is being tricked to vote for the “lesser of two evils”.... one or the other of the ‘traditional ruling parties’ in Canada.

Neither is fit to rule.

Both parties are in collusion with the Tar Sands Industry, each competing with the other to be a ‘better, more generous friend’ to the Industry.

We even have Trudeau saying recently in Ottawa, “that his government is improving a process that failed under former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper.”
“They ( the Harper Conservatives) were unable to get big projects approved because they sidelined Indigenous concerns,” Trudeau told reporters before the weekly Liberal caucus. “Now the Conservatives still seem to think that the way to get big projects built is to ignore Indigenous peoples and ignore environmental concerns.”1

Note that this exact same statement could have been (accurately) uttered by Scheer about Trudeau!

(And I doubt that this is a clue that Trudeau is now planning not to approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline!)

In my opinion, once the National Observer decided to publish an Opinion piece from McKenna, it would have been better for her to speak about what the Liberals are planning to do, that is better than Scheer, not just this tirade about Scheer. (as it really does read just like a political ad!)
And perhaps include an analysis about the (still) woefully inadequate plan the Liberals have.

My family lived in the US for over 3 decades. (As Canadians we could not vote). We saw, from election to election, the struggle our neighbours and friends had to decide which party was less evil than the other. Things only got worse. Now they have Trump!

Let’s expose the ‘fraud’ that both parties are perpetrating on the citizenry with their actions (and inaction) which put at risk the future of our children, grand-children and great grand-children. Meanwhile they wreck the planet and trample Indigenous Rights and lives.

Let’s do our best to elect a minority government with lots of Greens and possibly NDP ( although so far, I am not convinced they are up to it.... yet?).

Thank you, National Observer, for being there. You could have done better on this one, but nobody’s perfect!

1. 'It's scary': Pro-pipeline activists in Calgary anxious about Trudeau policies
By Matthew McClure in News, Energy, Politics | June 14th 2019 and the National Observer.

You are unfortunately living with rose-coloured glasses. A minority government with Greens and NDP will never happen. Supporting any party other than Liberal will equal a vote for regressive and nonexistent conservative policy.

National Observer is playing with a full deck. We should be too. But even in your credible critique of the two old world parties, you have to stick a bit of a dagger in the NDP....

Which leaves all of us in this country with exactly what choices?
If the party of Tommy Douglas and Jack Layton isn't quite up to it yet....do you actually believe that the Greens are going to rescue us??

One thing I know for sure, living in Alberta. When a progressive party (and please don't try to tell me that the NDP is just the same as Libs and Cons) takes power for the first time, what it discovers is the tangle of everything those old line parties have put in place over the last 100 years. If you're an alt right thinker...like Trump or Harper....you just take in the wrecking ball and smash as much of what's in your way as possible.

That has consequences of course, but not for the elites. But if you're at all democratic, you start trying to 'do the right thing'....while not bringing the wrath of big money and big media down on your overloaded head.

Neither Greens nor NDP........though of the two the ND's have more experience in government.....will be able to solve our problems for us through legislative fiat.

We need to pressure them to think more boldly...for sure. But government moves slowly. We have 11-12 years. A whole wack of us citizens had better learn how to step up, change, invest differently...take Green risks also.........or our kids are going to curse us.

Yes. Curse Us....Because what they are facing is already here. And we ignore that reality....or try to pin it on government....at our peril. Get those panels, buy that electric car, if you're able. Forgo that vacate on to some mafia hotel in the impoverished south. Stop living like the rich. Join an environmental group. Donate to robust groups like the Leap.

There's lots of opportunities out there. Getting our tail in a knot about McKenna's take doesn't make sense.

Dear Ms McKenna. Though the glass house you and the rest of the current government may live in has fewer rooms than that one populated by the conservatives, it is still a glass house! Best not to throw stones in an obvious attempt to win the upcoming election!

People need to be reminded of what's at stake this election. Some commenters obviously don't like the truth and take the low road, rather than allowing themselves to be enlightened. I thank Ms. McKenna for this piece.

The Liberals showed their intentions when the British Columbia government indicated it was going to take every legal action to prevent the TMPipeline. The same afternoon , a Sunday afternoon, the industry minister went on major media to trumpet that the pipeline would proceed. This disregarding that the Liberals knew full well that the pipeline neither had indigenous support, nor had the National Energy Board run an environmental review that had integrity. And in addition the Liberals knew the ideology driving the pipeline was to continue the grandiose 'development' of bitumen extraction enterprises in northern Alberta. This is key, it is coupled to the urge to get more dollars per barrel of course, but 'progress' in CAPP's view, and the Liberals, is more grandiose mining and in-situ projects, all flying in the face of the Paris climate accords. Ms McKenna has been silent regarding this and other pipeline proposals. She is not an environment minister with integrity. She is all about free enterprise, with fig leaf feel good programs to put a Liberal shine on industrial scale environmental carnage.

True enough. But letting her speak, let's us critique, so in some respects, its all good. What I'm waiting for now is the NDP plan, which we'll all bash...directing voters who do understand climate change, to vote Green.

Now there's a long shot I'm not putting any money on.

So let's remember, how the Big Boys play us....and stop falling for silver bullets...or one pat answer to the biggest crisis we've faced in our time on earth.

Be well.

True enough. But letting her speak, let's us critique, so in some respects, its all good. What I'm waiting for now is the NDP plan, which we'll all bash...directing voters who do understand climate change, to vote Green.

Now there's a long shot I'm not putting any money on.

So let's remember, how the Big Boys play us....and stop falling for silver bullets...or one pat answer to the biggest crisis we've faced in our time on earth.

Be well.

To be clear, a pipeline doesn't have to have indigenous support to pass muster. The process of approval has to take their input into account like it does any other input. It's then weighs that input with all the other input. Of course it would be better if the plan had complete indigenous support, but of course you also have to know what you mean by indigenous support since the indigenous, like most groups identified by some racial or cultural identifiers, are not a monolith. Some may support it, some may oppose it.

I don't know enough about the Cons plan to say if it is good or bad because we don't know enough yet, but Scheer is right that it is a global problem to which Canada's direct contribution is negligible. But where Canada could be very effective is if it can help the major contributors like China and India reduce their output of greenhouse gases. Canada's direct contribution to the fight in terms of reducing our own emissions is mostly symbolic showing that we are a team player willing to sacrifice to achieve global goals. But other than that it will achieve next to nothing in terms of the change in global climate. This is simply a fact that can't be denied. That is very much worth taking into consideration in formulating the greatest contribution Canada can make 2 reducing the impact humankind's role in climate change.

Having said that, I am not confident Andrew Scheer and the conservative party will come up with a good plan in this regard. But hopefully we will find out what the answer to that is within the next short while and before the election.