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Canada Conrad Black: Erin O'Toole's tacit support for COVID policy has been a grievous mistake

14:40  24 april  2021
14:40  24 april  2021 Source:   nationalpost.com

Conservative climate plan will impose a $20-per-tonne carbon charge on fuel

  Conservative climate plan will impose a $20-per-tonne carbon charge on fuel OTTAWA — Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has released a climate platform that puts a $20-per-tonne carbon charge on fuel — a major change for a party that has repeatedly attacked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal carbon price on fuels. O’Toole has steadfastly promised to scrap Trudeau’s “carbon tax,” but he insisted on Thursday that his plan is not a tax because the money will go into a personalized “low carbon savings account” that consumers can spend on environmentally-friendly purchases. The Liberal program, meanwhile, sees the money collected by the federal government and redistributed to consumers through tax rebates.

Expanding on the last several weeks’ columns here, the federal Liberals apparently believe that just 20 months after the last election, they can win back a majority on the basis of their handling of the COVID pandemic and of the much declaimed “existential crisis” of climate change. They will probably be justified in their confidence if the Conservatives, the most unsuccessful principal political party in any important country in the world, allow them to get away with such a spurious reformulation of these issues. In fact, Canada’s entire political community voluntarily panicked with great shared enthusiasm at the arrival of the novel coronavirus, and unanimously agreed with the general drift in the Western countries towards an almost total shutdown of the country in order to “flatten the curve.”

Opinion: With green O'Toole bucks, the Conservatives have embraced carbon taxes

  Opinion: With green O'Toole bucks, the Conservatives have embraced carbon taxes Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole is set to lose the trust of millions of Canadians and betray hard working taxpayers by embracing carbon taxes. The Conservative Party has long promised to repeal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal carbon tax mandate immediately after forming government. Former Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer’s promise to repeal the carbon tax was on page one of the party’s 2019 election platform . The Conservative Party actually won a plurality of the popular vote on election night with a commitment to repeal the carbon tax front and centre. Until yesterday, the Conservative Party was adamantly opposed to a carbon tax.

a bicycle parked on the side of a building: A pedestrian wearing a mask walks past a shuttered business now for lease on Toronto's Queen Street during the Covid 19 Pandemic, Wednesday March 24, 2021. © Provided by National Post A pedestrian wearing a mask walks past a shuttered business now for lease on Toronto's Queen Street during the Covid 19 Pandemic, Wednesday March 24, 2021.

All of the parties in Ottawa and the provinces signed on to similar draconian measures and followed the federal Liberals. Our politicians are never more contemptible than when jointly celebrating the solidarity of their governments in the imposition of ghastly misconceived policy. When the shutdowns began in March of last year everyone knew that until there was a vaccine, the incidence of the coronavirus would swiftly rise again when the shutdowns ended. Everyone knew the shutdowns could not continue indefinitely without the economic, fiscal, and psychological collapse of society. And by April it was clear that 80 per cent of the fatalities were among people over the age of 65 and/or with otherwise compromised immunities. As mentioned here last week, Canada had the worst record of any advanced country in protecting its elderly from COVID. And everyone knew a year ago that the survival rate in the whole population was approximately 98 per cent and over 99 percent for those in good health below the age of 65. Yet we have persisted with these insane lockdowns and intensified them in recent days.

Erin O'Toole's faces backlash from 'surprised and frustrated' Conservatives over carbon pricing plan

  Erin O'Toole's faces backlash from 'surprised and frustrated' Conservatives over carbon pricing plan OTTAWA — When Conservative leader Erin O’Toole announced on Thursday that his party will include a carbon price on consumer fuels as part of their election platform, internal backlash was inevitable. Scrapping “Trudeau’s carbon tax” is a core promise the Conservative Party has made to its supporters for years. O’Toole won the Conservative leadership race last year while repeatedly promising to get rid of it, even signing a pledge that he would never introduce a carbon tax of his own. Now, he’s committed the party to putting a carbon levy on fuel, while insisting it can’t be called a tax because the money doesn’t go into government accounts.

Thus the Liberals deftly staked out a position that in public policy terms is nonsense, but which no other party can oppose because they all fell in together behind it when the pandemic struck. The reasoning is that no one can dissent from it because every party has been committed to it for the last year. Opposition leader Erin O’Toole has explicitly agreed with the general policy but has tried to execute the usual Conservative gambit of saying in effect that the Liberals are doing the right thing but we could do it better. Any such tactical misjudgment could only have been taken by a political party profoundly possessed by a political death wish. What he should do is break ranks with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and others and say that since there are fewer than 2000 people in intensive care with the covid virus in the entire Canadian population of 38 million, the shutdowns have been a disaster and should be ended at once, as the UK has largely done. He could also say that this country, like most others, was correct or at least justified in imposing a substantial shutdown in the early stages of the coronavirus when we knew very little about it, but that the subsequent year has been a catastrophe of self-inflicted damage to almost every area of national life, and that it has been compounded by an unimaginable fiasco that leaves Canada out of the top 50 countries in per capita inoculation with the coronavirus vaccine.

Andrew Leach: O’Toole's climate plan isn't a good one, but it may be good enough for voters

  Andrew Leach: O’Toole's climate plan isn't a good one, but it may be good enough for voters Last week, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole crossed the metaphorical Rubicon: his party’s new climate plan not only recognized that “the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms,” it proposed to implement a carbon tax. It took me the weekend to recover. With the initial chaos now behind us, it’s time to reflect on a few things. First, can Erin O’Toole bring his caucus and his party with him? Second, how can the policy he introduced be improved? And finally, what does this mean for the governing Liberals and the other parties in the House of Commons? O’Toole isn’t new to climate change policy.

The Conservatives have followed a parallel track with climate change. O’Toole’s candidates should shriek from every rooftop and at the top of their lungs that the entire country, but particularly the energy-producing provinces, have been oppressed needlessly over a false version of what the prudent stewardship of the environment and of the ecology of the country require and for the perpetration of this fraud the government should be abruptly disembarked. With a three-ocean shoreline and the greatest physical extent of any country except Russia, Canada is uniquely placed to conduct the kind of definitive research that will enable the whole world to deal seriously with the subject, instead of throwing masses of people out of work on the basis of frenzied theories of the imminent end of human life, which has been the policy of the present government. The Conservatives must not be climate stooges or climate deniers, but climate researchers and scientists.

A book about to be published by former U.S. President Obama’s chief energy department scientist, Dr. Steven Koonin, titled Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters, explains there is almost no consensus on any important aspect of the climate change debate. What can be agreed is some change is in progress, that the world temperature has risen in by approximately 1 C since about 1900 (though estimates vary) and will likely gain another degree in the next century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been the chief generator of hysteria on the subject, is now reduced to acknowledging a wide divergence of equally credible models about climate change. The U.S. government’s 2017 Climate Science Special Report concluded that there are many more scientific conclusions that the country’s temperature is increasing than it is decreasing, but this was because there have been fewer new temperature lows, while new highs have remained static. It is also now clear that reduction of carbon emissions will not significantly alter the world’s temperature, particularly given how much carbon is already in the atmosphere, and that in any case, because of the conduct of China, India and Russia in particular, no such reduction is foreseeable. So the Trudeau government’s pretense to protecting our future by subsidizing endless sustainable energy boondoggles and making war on Canada’s oil and gas industry and the provinces where it chiefly operates, and on not lifting a purposeful finger to become petroleum self-sufficient and to pursue our potential as a petroleum exporter, is all nonsense. In the hands of a skillful opposition leader, it would also provide a weapon of mass destruction of Liberal political candidates. Instead of stating that “the argument is over,” in respect of climate change, Erin O’Toole should point out that the argument has not seriously started.

NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup

  NHL evaluating alternate plans for North Division's playoff setup As the Stanley Cup Playoffs creep closer and closer and there has been no change at the Canadian border, it is seeming more and more likely that there will be some form of relocation in the postseason. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the NHL is not rushing to any conclusions, waiting to see if border policies are relaxed, but have to evaluate alternative plans for the North Division winner to be able to compete in the semifinals and Cup Final this season.

For good measure, the third thunderbolt that should be hurled in the face of this incompetent regime is Justin Trudeau’s claim that for 400 years Canada has been engaged in cultural genocide against the indigenous peoples. This is an almost complete falsehood. There have been many mistakes, there is much to be done and reparations will have to be made. But this government is responsible for encouraging a political ambience in which the distinguished founder of our country, John A. Macdonald, has been repeatedly likened to Adolf Hitler and other monstrous criminals of world history and Canadians have, through their elected leader, groveled and abased ourselves with the incessant confession of genocidal acts. It is a blood libel on all non-indigenous Canadians and the author of it is unfit to be the head of the country’s government.

Instead of mounting this counter-offensive, (as Macdonald, Brian Mulroney, and even John Diefenbaker would have done), the Conservatives have allowed the liberals to make the running, have implicitly approved their goals, and then tried the most unpromising form of catch-up sport by claiming that they, the Conservatives, could do a better job of achieving Liberal goals than the Liberals could. This is essentially how the Conservatives have lost 24 of the last 36 federal elections since the rise of Wilfrid Laurier in 1896, (compared to 13 losses in 25 elections since 1929 by the British Labour Party and for the U.S. Democrats, 24 of the 41 elections since the first Republican victory in 1860-just 16 Republican to 15 Democrat since 1900). Canada’s Conservatives have been astonishingly unsuccessful, and they are at it again.

It is very late to adopt a winning formula, but not quite too late. In addition to the attack upon this thoroughly undistinguished regime for the egregious failings described above, almost every policy area is a target rich environment if the Conservatives can only rekindle their imagination. (To be continued.)

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