There’s a growing irony in the carbon tax increase falling on April Fools’ Day every year, since it now offers an annual reminder of just what a joke the Conservative Party of Canada’s approach to climate change has become. As if to really underscore that point, former CPC environment and climate change critic Dan Albas shared a piece from a retired economics professor named Steve Ambler that seemed to question the science behind climate change. "If greenhouse gases are a problem,” it reads, “they’re a global problem. Canada can do nothing by itself to solve it.”

That “if” is a massive tell, but it’s hardly the only one in the piece. It also suggested, bizarrely, that a recent study shows “we should be subsidizing rather than taxing the use of fossil fuels” and trades in the obvious straw man that Canada is supposed to solve climate change on its own. What’s worse than these sloppy arguments is the fact they were published in The Hub, an online publication that’s generally regarded as the home of serious and sophisticated conservative thought in Canada. Its willingness to endorse what amounts to warmed over climate change denialism speaks to just how far the Conservative movement it supports has slipped since 2022 when Pierre Poilievre took over as leader.

So, too, does the contrast between the CPC’s current beliefs on the issue and those its thought leaders espoused back in the pre-Poilievre era. As the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Brian Lee-Crowley wrote in a piece for the National Post back in 2022, the CPC needs an “adult position on climate change.” That position “must acknowledge that climate change is real and poses a serious risk to the environment and Canadians’ well-being. What we need is the fastest, least costly and most effective path toward cutting emissions.”

In other words: we need carbon pricing, albeit with some modifications from the Liberal government’s rebate-oriented approach. Instead, the Conservatives have doubled down on their efforts to salt that field, trading any hope of an adult position on climate change for a decidedly childish willingness to lie, dissemble and otherwise misrepresent the carbon tax. And so far, at least, the people advocating for the carbon tax don’t seem to fully appreciate that they’re now dealing with glorified adolescents.

The recent letter from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Canada’s premiers, for example, still assumes they’re engaged in rational dialogue rather than actively perpetuating political vandalism. An open letter signed by most of this country’s eminent economists mistakenly assumes a shared interest in pursuing solutions where none exists. “The most vocal opponents of carbon pricing are not offering alternative policies to reduce emissions and meet our climate goals,” it says. “And they certainly aren't offering any alternatives that would reduce emissions at the same low cost as carbon pricing.”

The fact of the matter is that today’s Conservatives aren’t interested in reducing emissions unless it involves the oil and gas industry getting credit for it. Previous CPC leaders were at least willing to feign interest in addressing climate change, and there’s some lingering support for doing more on that front in certain dimly lit corners of the party. But these are now exceptions to the CPC’s new rule, and it’s one that all the well-meaning open letters in the world won’t change. Poilievre’s party is not for turning, least of all here.

That’s why the carbon tax conversation is a distraction at this point. Worse, it actually helps the CPC avoid talking about its preferred climate policy of doing nothing. We should instead be talking about what a Poilievre government would do here and what that could mean for our future. Might it eliminate the entire carbon pricing infrastructure, including the industrial pricing system that long predated the federal carbon tax and will do the heaviest lifting on Canada’s emissions? Might it even pressure provincial governments in Alberta and Ontario to repeal their own industrial carbon pricing systems?

That’s a very real possibility. And while it would thrill those within the Conservative base who helped elect Poilievre as leader, it would also put Canada at odds with the vast majority of our major trading partners at the very moment when they will be accelerating their investments in clean energy and decarbonization. In the process, we would surrender whatever control we might have had over the energy transition’s impact on our export-oriented economy. As University of Alberta economics professor Andrew Leach noted in his recent book, “There is no option for business-as-before. Our choice will increasingly become whether to act responsibly on our own initiative or have standards imposed on us by the rest of the world.”

Poilievre might actually prefer the latter, if only because it would give him someone new to blame. And if Canadians really want to zig at the moment when the rest of the global economy is zagging, well, I suppose we have that right. The British voted for Brexit, after all, even though its negative economic impacts were obvious at the time and continue to reverberate. But if we’re going to commit economic and environmental suicide, we should probably talk about it first.

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What we need are responsible grownups in the room having mature, politically unbiased conversations with honest, truthful points of view and solutions representing both sides of the issue. And then properly reported.

That means real solutions, Pierre. No agendas. No fancy slogans. No trucker bumper stickers and flags.

But that's not going to happen as long as most of the mainstream media is controlled by far right leaning conservatives. We need to do so much more of our own homework now to sift through the ongoing federal and provincial conservative vitriol, with help from your stable of real investigative reporters like Max.
And having access to a voice of accuracy like CNO.

Thank you both SO MUCH for revealing the truth.
Keep spreading the word, before we are really doomed.

It's very unfortunate that Canada's official opposition refuses to respect climate science. What third rate private schools did they attend?
We need to defeat them at the polls every chance we get.
If they ever show up for candidate fora (here in Alberta they have a habit of not showing up. The Council of Canadians used to hold fora in which potted plants served as stand-ins for con candidates.) ask them embarrassing questions about their climate policies or lack thereof.

Fawcett is correct that climate politics has been dumbed down. The Liberals are debating the issue with juveniles. The Conservatives have infantilized their voting base. Whose angry tantrums and refusal to face facts on just about every file suggest the trials and tribulations of early childhood.
Was it not ever thus?

"Conservative delegates reject adding 'climate change is real' to the policy book' (CBC, Mar 20, 2021)
"Conservative delegates at the party's policy convention have voted to reject adding green-friendly statements to the policy book — including a line that would have stated the party believes 'climate change is real' and is 'willing to act.'"

Fawcett's thesis — that the Conservative's maturity on the issue has declined under Poilievre — seems doubtful. Under what leader did the Conservatives embrace serious climate policy?

It's true that in March, 2021 Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole urged party delegates to take climate seriously. The point is he had to urge them! He acknowledged that taking climate seriously would mean embracing new ideas and going against party orthodoxy. O'Toole was ousted less than a year later (Feb 2, 2022).
O'Toole was the outlier.

Fawcett himself acknowledges the pre-Poilievre state of affairs:
"As the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Brian Lee-Crowley wrote in a piece for the National Post back in 2022, the CPC needs an 'adult position on climate change.'"
The CPC needed an "adult position on climate change" in 2022 because it did not have one.

Lee-Crowley's 2022 op-ed in The National Post embraces the same simplistic, unscientific bromides and energy myths that permeate Conservative prescriptions on climate. Lee-Crowley still argues for fossil-fuel expansion and magical technological fixes that allow us to keep producing and burning oil and gas. If he represents the leading edge of Conservative thought on climate, they are still playing in a sandbox.

"Brian Lee Crowley: Conservatives can reject destructive left-wing policies and still take climate change seriously" (National Post, Mar 23, 2022)
"The scientific consensus they are so fond of invoking says the world, including Canada, will be dependent on fossil fuels for decades to come. Demonizing fossil fuels and preventing Canada from developing its resources by obstructing pipelines and the like does nothing to combat climate change, but it does have a devastating effect on the Canadian economy and makes us and our democratic allies vulnerable to energy blackmail by some of the world’s nastiest regimes.
"… Domestically, we are obstructing the production of liquefied natural gas and thereby keeping global coal consumption and greenhouse gas emissions higher than they need to be.
"… That means embracing a carbon tax — not necessarily the current one, but a serious form of carbon pricing that takes account of Canada’s real circumstances of export dependence, extreme cold, great distances and small population, while supporting emission-reduction technologies, including via carbon capture, hydrogen extraction and nuclear power."

"...the world, including Canada, will be dependent on fossil fuels for decades to come." -- Lee Crowley

That may be technically true, but it says nothing about the rate of transition to renewables or the financial feasibility of petroleum companies seeing the demand for their products erode in their export markets as wind, solar and batteries ramp up.

The most recent observations are witnessing the rate of transition ramping up. Renewables are positioned at the lower and less steep slope of the S curve. The steepest incline is a few years -- not decades -- away.

The conservative mind set has now decidedly rejected science and economics. It seems their powers of observation have been occluded too.

With the Conservatives on the warpath against the carbon "tax", let us not forget or forgive the betrayal of this key climate policy by politicos on the centre-left.
Let the Conservatives attack the carbon tax. All sound and fury. But when the progressive politicians join in, that spells its defeat.

All Alberta NDP leadership candidates have ruled out against a consumer carbon tax.

"Ontario Liberals rule out provincial carbon tax as part of 2026 election platform" (CBC, Mar 18, 2024)
"Leader Bonnie Crombie says she has an expert policy panel to lead consultations on party's climate platform"

"Manitoba premier says he'll take up PM's challenge to find carbon tax alternative" (CBC, Mar 31, 2024)
"Kinew says measures in this week's provincial budget will put Manitoba on path to net zero without federal tax"

"Trudeau says N.L. premier bowing to political pressure over carbon tax increase" (CBC, Mar 15, 2024)
"Andrew Furey, a Liberal, called this week for the carbon tax increase to be delayed"

When the conservatives go on the attack, carbon pricing can still stand as long as progressive politicians defend it.
It's when progressive politicians fail to defend carbon pricing that the roof caves in. For that, federal and provincial Liberal and provincial NDP politicians are to blame.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
On climate, the federal Liberals and provincial NDP do far worse than nothing. They build pipelines, greenlight LNG projects, approve offshore oil projects — and insist we need to sell fossil fuels in order to transition away from fossil fuels. Worse, they abandon science and lead their followers over to the Dark Side. Putting a progressive stamp on petro-politics and implicit climate change denial.
When it comes to "climate villainy", right-wing politicians and climate change deniers are noisy but ineffective. When centre-left leaders join in, that's when the fire takes hold and spreads.

"Pierre Poilievre’s climate policy is a joke"

Lest we forget …
The Liberals' climate policy is also a joke.

Having a better climate plan than the Conservatives do is not something to boast about.
It's still a plan to fail.

Implicit climate change denial with a Liberal stamp is no better than the Conservatives's brand of explicit denial. In many ways, it is worse.
The new denialism. Just as delusional as the old kind but more insidious. And far more dangerous.
"The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention" (The Narwhal, Sep 26, 2016)

The likes of Justin Trudeau, Rachel Notley, John Horgan, and David Eby will take us over the climate cliff as surely as the conservative deni-osaurs will. With climate plans premised on fossil fuel expansion, petro-progressives are leading us to disaster, just as surely as their opponents would.
Whether we go over the cliff at 100 kmh or 50 kmh, the result is the same.

Under Trudeau, Canada remains a climate laggard, not a leader. Climate Action Tracker's 2023 report rates Canada's efforts overall as "highly insufficient". Same rating since 2011 -- in every year but one.
Pandering to the fossil fuel industry.
Building out fossil fuel infrastructure (new oilsands export pipeline: TMX) in a climate "emergency".
Greenlighting LNG projects.
Letting fossil-fuel interests dictate the agenda.
Deliberate sabotaging their own climate policy.
Weak-kneed defence of carbon pricing.
Policy incoherence.
Climate doubletalk.
Insisting that Canada needs to sell more fossil fuels to fund climate action.
Persuading Canadians that we can both act on climate and double down on the problem: fossil fuels.
Ignoring the best available science.
Taking science-based climate policy off the table.
Funnelling billions of dollars in subsidies to the überwealthy fossil fuel industry.
Investing billions of dollars into fake climate solutions favored by the O&G industry: carbon capture (CCS), SMRs, and blue hydrogen.
Grossly undercounting emissions in the O&G and forestry sectors.
Selling future generations down the river.

Our political system has failed us. All sides are unable to deal with our most urgent peril — the issue of our times.

Good perspective as usual Max, and good collating of the ever-more-abundant material showing what surely has got to be the eventual demise of the entire political right wing.
"Glorified adolescence" appeals to everyone with its youthful enthusiasm but is definitely more suited to the pep rally part of the game. So when the same youthful energy spirals downward into vandalism ("political vandalism" is perfect, is exactly what's happening) we're talking instead about outright juvenile delinquency, reminding us of how unthinking, irrational behaviour can result from a brain still undeveloped in critical areas of judgment and reasoning.
Poilievre will only continue to show his true churlish colours over time, the gift we fortunately have thanks to Trudeau and Singh getting together as the adults in the room after the wholly unprecedented gong show that was the convoy rally, recognizing the danger.
Recently on 22 Minutes (just completing its 31st season, so a bit of a Canadian institution now), Poilievre was confronted at one of those aforementioned rallies by a young male cast member in Mary Walsh style, where his complete lack of a sense of humour was on full display. It was striking because even Harper summoned some good-naturedness when accosted several times. I thought a little bit better of him in spite of myself. And cast member Chris Wilson has just about perfected Poilievre's droning nasal voice to good effect. Trudeau is portrayed almost as well as being somewhat effete and melodramatic, but not evil.
And on the day the Liberals announced the generous school food program, I saw Boilievre on CBC, filing it under just "another bureaucracy" ALONG with the ruinous carbon "tax!"
And again, about "The Hub" as a worthy place for conservative "thought?" An oxymoron, and just another example of "bothsidesism." Until we collectively tailor our Canadian tolerance and fair-mindedness to the times, we're all still sinking.

Reading your comments is hilarious

This government has failed in basically every portfolio .

I’m a proud Canadian . I just want my country to be run reasonably well. I do lean small government / leave me alone .

If things were going well I could ignore a lot of the other silly progressive, big brother , nanny state stuff

However , This has been an absolute dumpster fire of a government .

Everything that matters is crumbling . Defence , foreign affairs , housing , the economy.
All show, no go

And this climate “ crisis “ lol

100 holes in a dam…… Canada responsible for 1.5 of those holes ….. and you folks want to , and applaud , when we turn away $$$ and business, and pretend like we are going to fix the 98 and a half holes in the dam on our own .

Brilliant . Clearly none of you have ever run anything greater than a household
And if you ran your household like this government runs our economy , you would
Quickly end up joining the food bank line up and indebted to the bank for all your overspending

“ let’s spend more…. And DECREASE our revenue / turn away business at the same time ! And pass the debt on to our children and grand children”

And the world will recognize our self flagellation!!!! Glory to socialism and self impoverishment !!!


Omg . You

Where do you people live? Come from ?

Are you grandfathered ( sorry , grand person with a penis ) members of the council of Canadians ?
The idealistic horse crap is funny, but dangerous

There is a real world out there folks
Get your head out of eachother’s asses

Where do you people live? Come from ?

Are you grandfathered ( sorry , grand person with a penis ) members of the council of Canadians ?

@ Ray Marks

You actually paid for a subscription in order to sock it to independent progressive media, this time CNO readers? Good gawd, that's a quarter tank of diesel in a convoy F350, maybe a dozen coal rolls while motoring down those socialist government-controlled public highways.

Troll away, Ray. It's actually quite entertaining reading kneejerk comments that don't actually engage in the details of key issues.

And thank you for financially supporting independent media. Have a nice day.