As it seems we will have this clandestine Liberal government in Ottawa for at least some time to come, the best we can do is to publicize their plans and raise the alarm as to what this will mean for Canadian taxpayers and how, as usual, no cost-benefit analyses have been done. Unfortunately, the news is not good. Photo Credit: AP/Robert F. Bukaty.
It’s hard to keep track of all the very expensive “climate-related” projects that are planned or underway by the federal Liberals right now that are going to represent a huge cost to taxpayers and have dubious if any positive impacts on the climate. One that has recently emerged on the radar is a massive wind farm project off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador that is currently under consideration in the House of Commons as Bill C-49. This Bill has passed second reading and is now under consideration in the Committee stage of the House.
In early December, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey signed on to a memorandum of understanding with the federal government to enable the province to oversee and regulate any wind energy development off of its coast. Normally, any offshore issues are within the purview of the federal government. At the moment, it appears that this transfer of jurisdiction from the federal government to the province will be contingent upon the passage of Bill C-49.
As usual, the politics involved in this issue are also intense. The federal Conservatives have expressed opposition to Bill C-49 as they are concerned about cost, effectiveness and the impact on the offshore oil and gas industry and the fishery in Newfoundland and Labrador. There is no doubt the Liberals have set up this debate as a means of presenting any opposition by the Conservatives as a negative for Atlantic Canada, a region where it is well known the Liberals are losing votes to the Conservative party. Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has been front and centre criticizing Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre for his party’s negative comments on this Bill.
Several issues have been raised recently about offshore wind farms in general. Concerns are mounting that offshore wind turbines are a having a detrimental impact on marine life. From work done to date, humpback whales appear to be especially vulnerable. There has not been enough research yet to determine the total impact of offshore wind farms on whales and other marine species, and work is ongoing. Considering the extent to which the promoters of wind farms on land have worked to understate their negative effects on birds, bats, turtles and other species, despite evidence these turbines are killing an inordinate number of these animals, a keen eye must be kept on the effect of offshore wind farms to ensure they are not having a negative impact on a range of endangered marine species.
The fishing industry is also quite concerned about this potential wind farm development. It has been claimed that the implementation of Bill C-49 will endanger the health of the current offshore fishery and any future expansion. A major concern has been the lack of consultation with affected groups such as the fishing industry and indigenous groups, which claim they have a history of token, ineffectual consultations with this Liberal government. Even some union representatives, typically supportive of the federal Liberals, have expressed concern about the potential impact of offshore wind farms on the fishery, and believe they have not been given enough information on this project.
Another aspect of this project is cost. There have been few if any estimates of the cost of this megaproject, but it will surely be in the tens of billions of dollars. As usual, the federal government is touting all the perceived advantages of going forward with the project with no cost estimates. As all Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook, this is something that should raise alarm bells, especially given the heavily indebted state of all governments at present.
It’s not surprising there are likely few Canadians that will be aware of this massive, expensive project their tax dollars will be expected to pay for. This has been the modus operandi of this federal Liberal government for some time, as secrecy and subterfuge are their hallmarks. The fact that this proposal clearly has a political element of demonizing any Conservative opposition to gain Atlantic region votes the Liberals are currently losing raises even more suspicion. As it seems we will have this clandestine Liberal government in Ottawa for at least some time to come, the best we can do is to publicize their plans and raise the alarm as to what this will mean for Canadian taxpayers and how, as usual, no cost-benefit analyses have been done. Unfortunately, the news is not good.
She has published numerous articles in journals, magazines & other media on issues such as free trade, finance, entrepreneurship & women business owners. Ms. Swift is a past President of the Empire Club of Canada, a former Director of the CD Howe Institute, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages, past President of the International Small Business Congress and current Director of the Fraser Institute. She was cited in 2003 & 2012 as one of the most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network & is a recipient of the Queen’s Silver & Gold Jubilee medals.