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Do It or Else!

Tue, April 06, 2021   |   Author: Vicki Gunn   |   Volume 28    Issue 14 | Share: Gab | Facebook | Twitter   

I remember as a child being told to “Do it or else.” I was never courageous enough to ask what the “or else” option was. As a matter of fact, I didn’t know anyone courageous enough to ask what the second option was. It was in our own best interest to just stay away from the dreaded “or else!’

The Federal Government and the Provinces got into a “Do it or else!” situation that has wended its way through the Provincial Courts to the Supreme Court of Canada.

What precipitated the Federal Government to tell the provinces to “Do it or else!”? The dispute was the Carbon Tax.

There is a whole lot more to the Carbon Tax than just Greenhouse Gas Emissions. This is a huge issue that digs in on different levels of government.

This latest ‘Do it or else!’ comes from 2018 when the Canadian Parliament passed the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (Bill C-74), which would raise carbon costs beginning in 2019 each year until 2022 for a total of $50 per tonne of CO2. On April 1st, we experienced one of those increases . . . while Canadians faced financial hardships due to repeated lockdowns of our economy. But the problem with charging for carbon is that in northern countries like Canada, we depend on carbon-based energy products for staying warm during our long, cold winters.

But, it’s not just the temperature of my house that concerns me. In Canada, we drive! People often must drive long distances to work (in heated cars!). It is not possible, for instance, for my husband to strap his equipment to his back and go to work without the benefit of his truck in -20C (or any temperature). Besides the danger of his becoming hypothermic, he just wouldn’t be able to get his work done. He’d spend most of his time walking! “Extreme Cold Weather Alerts” are there for a reason; they warn people not to be outside for more than a few minutes.

This agreement also affects our use of electricity. I’m a “lights out” buff. We keep very few lights on in our house. If we’re not in the room, we don’t need the light on. Ontario Hydro once said in a notice that I use substantially less electricity than my neighbours. So, you can see, I do my best to conserve without sitting in a cold, dark house.

On the other hand, we have people like our Prime Minister who, at taxpayer expense, ran up electricity bills totalling $28,629 in six months for one residence.

Back in 2015, our Prime Minister signed the Paris Agreement, promising to reduce our carbon footprint. However, a large, sparsely populated country like Canada only accounts for about 2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Our compliance would have a minimal impact on GHG levels—but achieving this target would have a huge negative effect on us. We would need to decrease our use, from 2015 totals, by the equivalent of 100% of our Gas and Oil Sector and the equivalent of 52% of our Transportation Sector. Do we need to look again at northern climates to see the problems it would create for us? Heating our houses and driving our cars is really important . . . especially in the winter.

But, there are also huge ramifications to turning our Constitution on its head, which is what this “or else” does.

Prime Minister Trudeau told the provinces that it was their jurisdiction, so they needed to come up with a Carbon Tax Plan equal to or greater than the federal plan . . . or else!

The “or else” was made very clear . . . the federal government would impose their tax plan on Canadians in any province that didn’t ‘toe the line.’ What does this mean? It’s like saying, “It’s your decision whether you implement a Carbon Tax but, if you don’t, even though I have no authority to do so, then I will implement it.” Either the provinces do it or the federal government does it, but either way, like the “basic dictatorship” for which Trudeau has professed admiration, he has decreed it and so it will be done.

According to the Constitution Act 1867, resources are under the control of the Provinces. This is what our Constitution says—not a judge, not the Prime Minister, but our Constitution, which is the paper that says we are a sovereign country. If there’s one thing that is becoming increasingly apparent, it’s that when something can’t happen by going through the front door, our government will find a back door, an open window, or a piece of loose panelling—any way to get what they want!

According to the minority view of Supreme Court Justice Côté: “I am of the view that certain parts of the Act [Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act] are so inconsistent with our system of democracy that they are independently unconstitutional.” She also says, “The result is a permanent and significant expansion of federal power at the expense of provincial legislative authority unsanctioned by our Constitution.”

What happens when we start dismantling our Constitution to battle the “no” word? We’ve already seen greater talk of separation. There are varying levels of talks in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. The Constitution is legal paper that holds us together. If it means nothing then . . . .

Will the autocratic rule of our Prime Minister, digging through our Constitution to find loopholes to do exactly as he pleases—without the constraints of law—cause further separatist discussion? Why wouldn’t it when he is re-imagining our country to a place where he is the higher law? Our Constitution says that “Canada is founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law,” but for many years, we have watched Mr. Trudeau evade obeying the laws that the rest of us must follow. Whether it’s the numerous ethics violations for which he has been convicted, or the SNC-Lavalin affair, or smoking illegal drugs while serving as a Member of Parliament, we have seen that laws are not a deterrent to him or the Liberal Party.

In 1215, the Magna Carta was signed. It put everyone—including the king (now the Executive branch of government)—under the law. This heritage has been severely diminished during Mr. Trudeau’s tenure as Prime Minister.

It is time to restore law to the rightful position it holds in our tradition. Join CHP Canada. It’s time to require equality for all before the law—including the Prime Minister and Supreme Court Justices—rather than separate laws for the aristocracy.

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