Part 2 – Deidra Garyk
The manifesto doesn’t want to leave anyone behind who is dependent upon the fossil fuel sector for their livelihoods. What the proponents don’t seem to realize is that EVERYONE is dependent upon fossil fuels for their livelihoods, and their lives. Without fossil fuels there is no Skip the Dishes, no toilet paper delivered on demand by Amazon, no PPE. There is no viable alternative to ensure an uninterrupted supply chain right now without large amounts of capital investment.
Social Distancing, Self-isolation, and Self-control
How much longer are you willing to stay inside your house and not buy anything other than essentials? Don’t you want to go to the mall to buy yourself a little something to pass the time? Even just a little bit? A continued economic shut down like we’re currently experiencing is going to make it difficult to find the financial means to do so. Implementing the policies proposed in the Green New Deal would result in a similar, long-term economic collapse.
The Green New Deal wants free post-secondary tuition for everyone, pharmacare, free public dental care, income security, and public housing. It also calls for the expansion of local and national public transit, cycling, and pedestrian infrastructure, and postal service transformation.
It’s like an episode of Oprah. You get a car! And you get a car! And you get a car!
Unfortunately, this isn’t a TV show. Someone has to pay for all of these “free” goods. There will be a day of reckoning after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. Eventually the billions of dollars our governments have borrowed will have to be paid back. How will we do that in Canada if the oil and gas sector has been reduced to rubble? Think about it for a second. What industry is going to replace the tax revenues and job-related incomes in the just-in-time manner in which we will need the money?
It’s going to become increasingly difficult for taxpayers to fund these large-scale social programs when they’re struggling to put food on the table for their family as a result of job losses or lost hours due to the economic collapse from COVID-19. Add in an escalating carbon tax and billions of dollars in requested subsidies for renewable projects, and the tax burden will become too much for many. Where’s the justice in that?
At the top of the list of “Green Line” items in the Canadian Green New Deal is Indigenous sovereignty. Unfortunately, if the manifesto is adopted, Indigenous communities will be adversely impacted when the industries that employ their people or provide benefits agreements are shuttered under its policies.
The Northern BC First Nation of Haisla recently donated $300,000 to area hospitals to help purchase ventilators and other necessary equipment to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharing wealth is only possible when communities are prosperous. The Haisla First Nation has gained prosperity due in part to natural resources. Taking away opportunities for wealth creation destroys any chance for economic reconciliation and results in dependency on government assistance.
The Green New Deal is getting attention because it’s being endorsed by celebrities. You know, those climate experts who selflessly live a meagre lifestyle off minimal wages. Of course I’m being facetious. Unfortunately, their hypocrisy is lost on many people.
Some of the celebrities include: Neil Young, k.d. Lang, Pamela Anderson, Leap Manifesto architects Naomi Klein and husband Avi Lewis, Alyssa Milano, William Shatner, Mia Farrow, AOC, Bernie Sanders, and 350.org’s Bill McKibben.
It’s also endorsed by many unions, including: Unifor, Amalgamated Transit Union, British Columbia Teachers Federation, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, and CUPE Ontario. An altruistic desire to save the planet may not be the motivating reason for their support. The manifesto calls for an increase in unionization across all sectors.
Most recently, Michael Moore has reinvigorated interest in the Green New Deal. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, an environmental documentary he backed, Planet of the Humans, was released for free on YouTube. The film concludes that the green movement has been hijacked by corrupt people who selfishly make money off it and that renewables are not helping the environment as promised so we need to depopulate and change our consumption habits. Moore, in a post-documentary-release interview on April 22, 2020, voiced his support for implementing a Green New Deal as the solution to all our problems.
I realize that the Green New Deal and climate activism give people a purpose and a cause to rally behind. However, being able to support these initiatives is only possible through privilege, privilege so blinding one cannot see it. I hope the lockdowns due to COVID-19 give us time to reflect on what is important so that we are more conscious about our consumption, which greatly contributes to waste and pollution.
We all want to be on the right side of history. However, we cannot solely focus on one side of the equation – emissions – at the expense of our economy and democratic freedoms. If “we decide our future” under the terms of the Canadian Green New Deal, then we are also responsible for acting, not abstract entities, such as governments. We have a responsibility to take care of the planet, but we also have a responsibility to take care of each other, today and into the future.