The federal government heeded the advice of the business dominated Economic Advisory Council and set out a new welcome mat for foreign investors in the recent Economic Statement . The threshold for review of foreign take-overs of Canadian companies will be raised from $600 Million to $1 Billion (up from just $369 Million in 2015); a new agency, the Invest in Canada Hub, will be set up with a mandate to woo foreign corporations; and reviews of the security implications of foreign take-overs are likely to be limited.
A particularly scathing criticism came from a Globe and Mail editorial that suggests the government could have “simply brought in a carbon price and stopped there”. The Globe claims that price signals could have done the job and left more up to “individual choice”, while achieving emissions reductions at minimum cost. This is a policy based on a narrow and ultra-orthodox reading of neoclassical economics, and it is good that Ontario did not limit itself to carbon pricing.
It is now often said, with reason, that the environment and the economy are not in conflict. But it is even more true to say that seriously addressing the crisis of global climate change could revive a moribund global economy.
The World Economic Outlook (WEO) released by the International Monetary Fund in April of this year once again forecast very slow growth, and argued that economic stagnation is likely to be self-sustaining. This is due to very low levels of business investment, combined with high levels of household and public debt which constrain household and government spending.
Recent events have triggered an important discussion on the Left’s approach to climate change policy. The Leap Manifesto is one expression of the desire to transition to a carbon neutral economy while creating a more just and “caring” society.
The new Canadian government has certainly shot off the starting blocks at breakneck speed on climate policy. Catherine McKenna was more or less packing for a ministerial meeting in Paris while swearing her oath to become Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Justin Trudeau has announced that the Liberals “won’t set a specific emissions target” for greenhouse gas emissions to address climate change. His reasoning is that, “what we need is not ambitious political targets. What we need is an ambitious plan to reduce our emissions in the country.”
There has been a lot of talk during the federal election campaign about how to create more good, “middle-class” jobs. But there has been only limited recognition of the need for a much more active government role if we are to build the more innovative and sustainable economy we need to create such jobs.
You’d think that milk in Canada was coloured red considering the debate about our dairy industry.
The way we manage our milk supply is being scrutinized by our trading partners in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. They don’t like how farmers run the dairy industry and want the federal government to let them in to sell us their products. This country’s think tanks and pundits have lined up to lambaste the system.
Pope Francis has set out to transform the issue of climate change into a moral imperative, not just for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, but for everyone. He is unambiguous about the role of human activity in producing the greenhouse gasses that are the decisive contributor to global warming and the connection between these climactic changes and global justice challenges facing humanity and the planetary environment.