Ruthless, reckless, damaging: the Hon. Steven Guilbeault is MLI’s Policy-maker of the year – by Heather Exner-Pirot (MacDonald Laurier Institute – December 21, 2023)


Guilbeault has treated the fact that Canada is a democracy, a market economy, and a federation as inconveniences to be overcome.

The Liberals have been chided for focusing on communications over substance, for announcing policies rather than implementing them. But there is an exception to this rule: the ruthlessly efficient Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault. No one else in Canada has been as influential, and, in my view, no one else has done so much damage.

From an emissions cap to toxic plastic straws, and from Clean Electricity Regulations to the Clean Fuel Standard, Guilbeault has been advancing economy-killing and constitution-defying laws at a frenzied pace. He was appointed Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada in October 2021.

At the time of his appointment, Guilbeault appeared as the perfect villain: a caricature of the West-hating, anti-oil Liberal that has confounded the aspirations of Canadians west of the Laurentian corridor for decades. In the last two years he has disappointed few of his supporters and assuaged none of his critics’ fears.

Dubbed the “Green Jesus of Montreal” by La Presse, the 2001 image of Guilbeault being walked off in handcuffs in his faux orange prison jumpsuit emblazoned with the Greenpeace logo, following a CN Tower-scaling stunt to bring attention to climate change, features frequently in the social media accounts of his more outspoken critics.

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