Canadian Conservative Leader (And Possible Prime Minister) Promises the Earth

©. Conservative Party of Canada

Andrew Scheer is a climate arsonist.

Just as global warming was too anodyne a term for the climate crisis, one can only call Andrew Scheer, leader of the Conservative party of Canada and running to replace Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a climate arsonist. This is far worse than being a climate denier or skeptic. Scheer and his party kind of acknowledge that climate change is happening; however, their proposals in their climate and economic plans just add fuel to the fire.

So where the current government is cranking up energy efficiency standards in the Building codes, Scheer says this will increase the cost of a new house by $35,000 (with no evidence, as one could make every new house a Passivhaus with that much money), so the Conservatives will establish “a voluntary net-zero ready building standard. Canadians can find comfort in the fact that net-zero ready homes are an option – and not mandatory.” They do offer a green retrofit tax credit of up to $3,800 per year that can go to adding insulation, better furnaces, installation of solar panels, or “replacement of doors and windows with more efficient models.” The last time there was a credit like this, the window salesmen got most of the money.

Blame China.

Emissions by country

Conservative policy paper/Screen capture

But it is the fight against climate change where the Conservative plan gets totally silly. After sorta acknowledging that “it is now considered extremely likely” that humans caused the climate crisis, they then say fine, but it’s all China’s fault, that Canada’s carbon emissions are so tiny by comparison that we shouldn’t worry about them.

Their proposed solution is to sell Canada’s Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to China as a cleaner substitute for coal, and to sell Carbon Capture and Storage tech. “With close to 3,000 coal plants, if China fitted even just the top 100 plants with carbon capture and storage, they could eliminate more than 300 Mt of CO2e per year – nearly half of what Canada’s entire economy produces.”

Oh, and they would spend money on branding.

Canada needs a federal government that is not afraid to champion clean Canadian industries and products to a world that is increasingly looking for green options. We want to give global consumers the confidence that when they purchase a product branded as 'Canadian Clean', they are getting one of the greenest products in the world.

Of course, they will kill the Carbon Tax.

According to the Conservatives,

  • The Trudeau Liberal Carbon Tax hurts commuters driving to and from work trying to put food on the table for their families.
  • The Trudeau Liberal Carbon Tax hurts moms and dads driving their kids to and from hockey practice.
  • The Trudeau Liberal Carbon Tax hurts seniors who are trying to heat their home during a cold winter.
  • The Trudeau Liberal Carbon Tax hurts local businesses on Main Streets across our beautiful country.

In fact:

  • Killing the carbon tax means more SUVs and pickups on the road.
  • Killing the carbon tax means more people driving to Walmart instead of supporting their local businesses on Main Streets.
  • Killing the carbon tax reduces the incentive to turn down the thermostat or put on a sweater or insulate their homes.
  • Killing the carbon tax reduces the incentive to car pool to hockey practice.

Rebating the GST on heating

It’s not enough to remove the carbon tax, Scheer also wants to remove the Goods and Services Tax (a value-added tax) on home heating.

"Heating your home in winter isn't a luxury for Canadians. It is a necessity," Scheer said. "We don't tax other basic necessities like groceries and we shouldn't be taxing home heating."

No matter that half of Canada heats their homes with natural gas, which as never been cheaper. (Quebec uses cheap hydroelectricity.) There is a subset of houses in rural areas that have poor insulation and burn expensive electricity, and they are Scheer’s target market. Note also that “investment properties”, also known as rental accommodation, don’t get the credit, probably because they are mostly in cities and don’t vote Conservative.

All in all, the Conservative tax and climate plans actually encourage Canadians to drive more, to build less efficient houses and buildings, to burn more fossil fuels. But then, if you are from Alberta, that is a feature, not a bug.

But then we see it everywhere: promising lower taxes works, no matter what we lose the process. And with Scheer, we could lose everything.