Environment v. economy: Canada’s brewing political battle – by Gary Mason (Globe and Mail – August 16, 2017)


There’s a reason the federal Liberals want to include a clause in any rewrite of NAFTA preventing member countries from diminishing environmental safeguards in the name of fuelling investment: It’s an area in which they suddenly find themselves politically vulnerable.

The North America free-trade agreement negotiations are beginning at the same time as the federal government is preparing to bring in new rules that would put more restrictions on companies looking to establish resource development opportunities in Canada.

Provinces are now bracing for the impact of a national carbon tax that is scheduled to be introduced next year in those jurisdictions currently without one, or the equivalent of. (In Ontario and Quebec, that would be cap-and-trade.) The stultifying impact these initiatives could have on resource investment has become a conservative rallying cry in the west, with outgoing Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall leading the charge.

Meantime, those running for the leadership of Alberta’s United Conservative Party, including former federal Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney and former Conservative MP Brian Jean, have been equally withering in their assessment of Ottawa’s plans to protect the environment at what they insist will be the cost of the economy.

It is a mantra now being echoed in British Columbia, where the new NDP government is attempting to stop the previously approved Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

For the rest of this column: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/environment-v-economy-canadas-brewing-political-battle/article35994365/