When will Canadians finally say ‘no’ to all these expensive, dysfunctional fiscal and climate policies?

power_linesGloomy fiscal and economic news has intruded on Canada’s sunny ways. The Fraser Institute reports that Canadians pay 11 per cent more in taxes than they do for food, housing and clothing combined. Part of the reason is that combined federal and provincial debt has reached $1.3 trillion, or about $36,000 for every man, woman and child. The federal government is determined to see the national debt increase, having tripled-down on its campaign deficit promise, and most provinces are adding to the problem.

Interest payments have ballooned to $61 billion annually, the economy shrank 1.6 per cent in the second quarter, economic growth is projected at a discouraging 1.3 per cent this year and RBC’s CEO said last week it could take Canada’s economy 15 years to reinvent itself.

Perversely, governments are imposing a myriad of taxes and regulations relating to climate change and resource development that exacerbate the problem. Even worse, these policies will have no perceptible impact on global warming.

At what point will Canadians say “no” to expensive and dysfunctional policies? That depends on when they come to grips with the personal burden these policies create, the huge opportunity cost of not diversifying our energy markets, how additional costs undermine Canada’s competitiveness and move oil production to foreign jurisdictions and the minuscule decline in global temperatures that will result from international actions to reduce GHG emissions. Unfortunately, these issues are rarely raised by most mainstream media.

I witnessed an interesting consequence of this phenomenon in two Munk public policy debates held in Toronto, where votes are taken before and after two teams of notable speakers present their cases. The team that sways most minds wins the debate.

One resolution a few years ago was: “Climate Change is Mankind’s Defining Crisis and Demands a Commensurate Response” (on the pro side: George Monbiot and Elizabeth May; for con: Bjorn Lomberg and Lord Nigel Lawson). After the debate, eight per cent of the audience was less likely to believe the alarmist climate claim. A debate a few months ago centered on immigration. In favour of allowing mass immigration were Louise Arbour and Simon Schama. Nigel Farage and Mark Steyn were against it. In that case, 22 per cent of the audience changed its initial pro-immigration sympathies (in both cases the pros retained a slim majority).

I can think of several possible reasons the con side won the two debates. They might have been superior debaters: Perhaps Lawson performed better than May, and Steyn outshone Arbour. Perhaps, but by that much? The most likely explanation is that those spectators who initially supported the affirmative had never really been exposed to arguments supporting the negative views. When provided with new information, some changed their minds. On the other hand, those supporting the negative — those more skeptical of alarmist climate claims, and of mass Middle Eastern immigration — had long been barraged by media stories, opinion leaders and friends holding the more prevalent affirmative position. It is unlikely they heard anything new from the other side.

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Comments (2)

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    When people rummage through the ashes of the failed print media hopefully they can find the point in time when the media switched from challenging and balance to lobbyists .
    The only possible explanation is the scary global warming industry interests aligned with the tradition media who see their days numbered and their Hail Mary is the
    hope people will switch to buy their content electronically . Go Green means Go Electronic . What they miss is by selling out their previous value proposition they have just sewered their businesses . The Editors have , with very few exceptions , misjudged
    and placed their own egos ahead of the best interest of their customers and shareholders .
    Surprising in some ways considering without all those fossil fuel using things paying for advertising the newspapers wouldn’t have even existed .
    The Guardian and LA Times are the poster boys of producing preachy biased crap that is no longer of interest because most of the public is a little smarter than the newspapers think . Backing the promoters of the pretend scary global warming
    industry was just a foolish mistake they can’t and don’t want to do a walk back on .
    Like the Global Cooling scare that just vanished so go the newspapers who misread their role .

    Good riddance .

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    Meanwhile, back in the real world, GISS reports August 2016 as yet another record warm month and so hot that it is in a virtual tie with July 2016 as the warmest months EVER in the historical record.
    As well, Antarctic and global ice is at their lowest points for this date and the Arctic finishes the year 2016 with the lowest maximum and 2nd lowest minimimum on record.
    sCeptics now losing credibility faster than evidence for JayPee’s no greenhouse gas non theory (2 chuckles, 3 giggles and a guffaw).

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