Climate change will be a central issue in the upcoming Canadian federal election. Some polls show the electorate considers it one of their top three issues of importance. Access to affordable, reliable, clean energy is also a concern to many Canadians. As a result, Deidra Garyk, a Canadian Energy Advocate and EnergyNow contributor based in Calgary working in the oil and gas sector, has reviewed each party’s plan, and has written an open letter to each leader. All responses received will be shared publicly to help you make a decision on Election Day.
Dear Ms. Elizabeth May,
I reviewed the Green Party of Canada’s climate Plan, Mission: Possible. While I like some aspects of it, I need clarification on a few items that cause me concern.
I give the Green Party credit for putting together a more comprehensive, well-thought-out climate plan than the NDP’s. Plus, I like the catchy title — Mission: Possible. However, anything’s possible, but few things are probable, Ms. May.
Let’s go through a few of my favorite points of your Mission.
No. 1 is “declare a climate emergency”. Mission accomplished. You’re well on your way! Although, I find it odd that you’re worried about the condemnation of a 16-year-old (Greta Thunberg).
No. 5 – “Respect evidence”. I really like this one. I think all parties should do this, but you can’t cherry pick what evidence you choose. You have to accept the evidence even if it contradicts what you, a lawyer, and not a scientist, believe to be true.
No. 7 – “Ban fracking”. This is where you lose me. Why don’t you support natural gas as a bridge fuel for times when renewables are unable to provide the required power? Canada has up to 300 years of supply, and it’s the cleanest of all the fossil fuels — natural gas emits 50 – 60% less CO2 from a new power plant compared to an old coal power plant. Plus, the Alberta government implemented strict methane emissions reduction standards for the industry to meet, and we have risen to the challenge through industrious innovation. There’s also the need for fracking if we are going to include the use of geothermal into the energy mix.
Nos. 8 & 9 – “Green the Grid” and “Modernize the Grid”. Your manifesto wants to remove all fossil fuel-generated electricity from the grid by 2030. In the same year you expect to have the grid upgraded so that we can transfer electricity from renewable sources from province to province. That is in 11 years. How do you plan to accomplish this massive project? How will you address the opposition that new transmission lines are currently facing from the anti-development crowd? I’ve heard that if market penetration of EV’s reaches 15% in Edmonton that would require a massive upgrade of their grid. That’s only 15%. What happens when you mandate 100% EVs? I won’t even get into the greenhouse gas issues with SF6 (sulphur hexafluoride).
No. 10 – “Plug into EVs”. By 2030 you want all new vehicles to be electric, and by 2040 you want all internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles replaced by EVs. You have also committed to building a cross-Canada charging system, which is good because I hear stories of people pulling up to the one lonely charging station in the middle of nowhere on a road trip only to find it out-of-service or incompatible with their vehicle. That could be deadly when you live in a vast country like Canada and your EV’s range doesn’t quite get you to your final destination, especially in winter when batteries can lose 40% of their efficiency. All I’m saying is that you may run into some challenges enacting another layer of government control over the masses by mandating the replacement of ICEs.
That said, I’m very excited about the vehicles of the future. Can you imagine how much quieter our roads will be with EVs? One thing I would like to better understand is how you’re going to “encourage” (your word, not mine) EV makers “to ensure the production of whatever additional electrical capacity (from renewable sources) their cars will require”? If they have to pay to create the power, which will inevitably be passed on to the consumer, how much will an EV vehicle cost to purchase?
No. 12 – “Complete a national building retrofit”. I think I asked you about this in my last letter to you – how will you pay for this? I’m still waiting for a response to my questions sent to you on February 9, 2019. I know your auto-response said that you receive a larger amount of mail than other politicians, and it has only been eight months, but I do look forward to hearing from you.
No. 13 – “Turn off the taps to oil imports”. Lucky number 13! I agree completely that Canadians should use Canadian oil and gas, and only import when absolutely necessary. I’m so glad that you are publicly proposing this.
No. 18 – “Change planes”. You want to cancel the purchase of the F35s in favour of water bombers to assist in fighting wildfires. I like this idea. If we ever have to go to war, we can water-bomb our opponents. They’ll never see it coming. If you do it correctly, you can use the water to attack and to water all of the trees you want to plant around the globe – a win-win. (of course, I’m being facetious.) But, seriously, I’m sure we can all agree that war is very destructive to the planet, so maybe you can find a way to minimize its impacts.
I notice there is no mention of economics in your climate mission and the 6 core values listed as your Party policy foundations. This is concerning. Is your Party not concerned about economics, prosperity and job security for Canadians? When you wipe out all of the fossil fuel-adjacent jobs in the very near future, as you propose, this causes me consternation.
Although I can tell the Green Party has thought through your climate Plan, which I appreciate, I’m deeply troubled by some aspects of it. We have a group of politicians, such as yourself, that are creating hysteria and spreading fear and misery for political gain and a new social order. You have been quoted saying, the Greens are the “only party that have a plan that allows human civilization to survive.”, and “It’s not a Canadian lifestyle choice. All of humanity is at risk.”, and “Holding to 1.5 degrees is not negotiable. It is do or die.”
In a March 2009 article that you wrote for The Star, you said we only have hours before civilization is destroyed. In that same article, you quoted that Prince Charles said we only have 100 months left (what a nice round number!). That would have meant humanity would have catastrophically ended sometime in 2017. It’s now 2019.
All of this is pure political posturing at its best, and I would like to understand why you are doing this. You’ve said all of these things while opposing pipelines in favour of shipping oil by rail, which leads me to believe the Green Party has no real interest in proposing or enacting policy that is good for the environment — there’s another agenda.
I know you are a strong proponent of a Green New Deal in Canada and have aligned your Party with the Green New Deal proposed in the USA. You compare Mission: Possible to Churchill’s efforts to defeat fascism. Fascism, that’s dreadful stuff. Who are these fascists you want to defeat? (Side note — it’s interesting how many fascists’ goals back in the day were to defeat Marxism/ socialism/ communism. Some things never change. Everyone wants power… and a new social structure.)
I look forward to hearing back from you with more information on the Green Party’s climate and energy plans prior to the upcoming federal election.
Please note that I will be publishing this as an open letter, so any responses I receive will be shared to help voters make an informed decision in the upcoming election.