Let's tackle government CO2 hypocrisy first
Whether you agree or disagree with the notion that Canadians “need” to reduce our carbon emissions, a lot of good policies can come from calling out governments on their “carbon emission” hypocrisy.
For instance, every year, our long health care waiting lists lead to thousands of Canadians getting in their cars (or flying) and heading to the United States for faster health care. If the government truly wants to reduce carbon emissions, they should keep our public health care system, but allow private companies in Canada to offer the same services as the public system; something they aren’t allowed to do right now. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, this move could support our economy at the same time.
Next, let’s tackle the ongoing problem of politicians and bureaucrats going on exotic trips and wasting our tax dollars.
Ironically, the “climate change” summit in Paris late last year is a great example. While the United States and United Kingdom sent approximately 150 and 100 representatives respectively, Canada sent over 300 representatives – each contributing to carbon dioxide emissions as they flew over to Europe. With that in mind, let’s demand governments cut air travel by 90% and start video conferencing for more of their meetings – saving taxpayers millions of dollars while also reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Speaking of transportation, why is it that politicians and bureaucrats can drive government-owned SUVs and gas-guzzlers but the rest of us are supposed to buy ‘green’ vehicles and curb our carbon emissions?
In Alberta, a list of vehicles used by cabinet ministers was recently released and it included a Ford F150, a Jeep Grand Cherokee and all kinds of other fuel inefficient vehicles. Let’s call on governments to replace the fleet of vehicles available to politicians and top bureaucrats with those little eco cars that look like pimples on wheels. This move could save a bundle of tax dollars while also reducing carbon emissions.
And let’s not forget about photo radar vehicles. Did you know they run all day long in order to power their equipment? As photo radar is an ineffective policing tool (and a cash grab), let’s ban photo radar vehicles from running constantly.
We can also get a good victory against corporate welfare by calling on governments to stop subsidizing the production of carbon dioxide-emitting cars (eg. GM and Chrysler) and private jets (Bombardier). Just like that, we could save billions of tax dollars.
Here’s another idea – this one involving liquor stores. Archaic government regulations in most provinces prohibit someone in an urban centre from picking up their groceries and a bottle of alcohol at the same place. Thus, this often results in driving to two destinations instead of one; leading to higher carbon emissions than necessary. In the name of reduced carbon emissions, let’s push for modernized liquor regulations!
Finally, government-run golf courses (many often lose money) should be sold off and replaced with dense housing. This move could help save taxpayers money, reduce housing costs (by increasing supply) and cut carbon emissions by reducing urban sprawl.
Whether you agree or disagree with the “need” to reduce carbon emissions, hopefully you can see there are plenty of good policies that could come from calling the government out when it comes to carbon emission hypocrisy.
Colin Craig works for the Manning Centre and is the author of The Government Wears Prada
This column was published by Sun Newspapers (Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa) on November 13, 2016