Bay du Nord: the malaise of the tightrope walker Guilbeault

The announcement of the Bay du Nord project by the Trudeau government causes real unease, particularly following the conclusions of the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

There is something deeply frustrating for the country’s progressive electorate when a party that is supposed to be opposed to the staunchly pro-petroleum policies of the Conservative movement changes its tune or plays a tightrope when it comes to decision-making.

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The discomfort was evident in Minister Guilbeault during the interviews he gave. The poor man was unable to answer when asked if he personally – the former environmentalist – would have made the same decision.

We doubt that he would have made this decision, because the Bay du Nord project is still moving us away from the environmental targets announced barely a week before.

Unacceptable compromise

The excuse given to justify this project: “we must represent the interests of ALL Canadians. Ministerial solidarity is all well and good, but when a compromise runs counter to the commitments of one’s own government and this disguises the protection responsibilities incumbent on the Ministry of the Environment, that’s another story.

The general impression of many citizens and the strong trend that we observe is that the economy prevails over the environment, regardless of the government in place in Canada.

However, economic choices and respect for the environment do not have to be opposed, they can coexist in mutually beneficial projects. This is the essence of the IPCC recommendations: stop investing or authorizing projects without taking into account negative externalities.

The unfortunate decision on the Bay du Nord project is an example of what needs to be stopped. To hell with the independent experts of the IPCC and their recommendations, we are playing short-term politics.

Election logic

Too bad if consistency is not there, you have to make sure you are re-elected. This electoral logic is problematic for progressivism in general. Every four years, the progressive electorate has to face the same dilemma: let in the conservatives, who do not even hide to say that the economy should be favored at the expense of the environment. Or vote for the liberals for… why exactly? Because they’re at least going to give us a nice smoke show?

The reality is that they make similar decisions, simply more diluted or better disguised. Progressives are either losers or slightly less losers, but rarely winners. One step forward, two steps back, and so goes the waltz!

Cynicism

We then wonder why the population is disengaged from politics and disillusioned with politicians.

All of this history offers an important observation: currently and for too long, the environment and the social are at the service of the economy, whereas fundamentally, it is the economy which should be at the service of the social and this, in the limits imposed by the environment. In short, the economy should serve to maximize welfare, not to maximize profits. This paradigm could guide each of our collective decisions. Growth at all costs has no place in 2022.

Mr. Guilbeault, do you remember why you made the leap into politics? Was it to play the game or to change the rules?

Alexis Robert Lacroix, Holder of a master’s degree in environment

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