It’s time to have an honest and pragmatic conversation about environmental policy. This need became desperately clear when, on the second weekend of January, Alberta faced an electricity shortage. This led the province’s utility administrator to issue an Emergency Grid Alert, asking Albertans to cut their electrical consumption or risk facing rolling blackouts and the possibility of serious grid disruptions. This move seems unimaginable in a country like Canada, let alone a province like Alberta, where our energy resources are vast. This needs to spur an honest debate about how we approach our environmental policy.
The reason for the shortage can be attributed to one main factor: the sky was dark, and windless. At one point, out of the maximum capacity of 6131 MegaWatts (MW) of wind and solar, there were only 121 MWs of wind and 0 MWs of solar being produced—that is less than 2% capacity. When power consumption peaked, Alberta’s power grid was short by several hundred MWs of the more than 11,000 MWs the grid required. Thankfully, disaster was averted when both demand was reduced and our neighbouring jurisdictions were able to provide us with the power needed to keep the grid stable.
I wish I could say this was a surprise. For years, pragmatic voices in Canada have been saying how we need to be realistic about energy, but they have been drowned out by a chorus of those who refused to be realistic. This was evidenced recently when many high-profile, left-leaning figures criticized Alberta’s advertising campaign they don’t want Canadians to “freeze in the dark.” Yet those same figures (left-leaning politicians, commentators, and so-called experts) labelled anyone who dared question them as climate deniers or planet-haters.
Greenwashing is when you label something as “green” or “environmentally friendly” but don’t talk about the real impacts. We saw the impact a couple of weeks ago with Alberta’s power grid. In Ottawa, we see it daily on mainstream media, scientific literature, and popular culture; greenwashing is everywhere and is promoted without potential consequences being realistically considered. It should not be controversial to ask tough questions about the reliability of our power grid, or any other environmental policy.
But greenwashing doesn’t stop at our power grid. Oil and gas production is another example. While the Liberals brag about reducing emissions by phasing out carbon-based fuel, Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberals’ policies have directly funded dictatorships and the wars they perpetrate while making Canada poorer. The carbon tax that doesn’t work and costs a bundle. Or think of the recently announced electric vehicle mandate, which has been criticized by virtually everyone except those looking for government subsidies and activist groups (who, in many cases, are funded by foreign money). Or the “plastics ban” that is not only unscientific and found to have been an overreach of federal jurisdiction, but very well could lead to a larger, negative environmental footprint. This is just to name a few things. Our country and world need to honestly look at environmental policy and rate it not on ideology or celebrity endorsements, but on facts.
Let’s end the greenwashing of policy. And that doesn’t mean saying ‘no’ to new technology. In fact, it’s the opposite. If new technology is going to work, be beneficial for the environment, and lower costs, then it will prove itself without the lies. Only then will it be trusted by the people (and trust right now is in short supply!). It is possible to be realistic, lead the world in innovation and have both a clean environment and a strong economy. That is the Conservative Party of Canada’s vision, and it will ensure Canadians can keep their lights on.