Canadian competitiveness under threat

It’s time Canada took stock of the very negative impact the so-called climate policies have imposed on our economy and Canadians. Pictured: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Photo Credit: Justin Trudeau/X. 


Some time ago, this author wrote about the efforts of various international regulatory bodies to promote a regime to harmonize global reporting standards for emissions. This was part of the big “net zero” thrust, intended to move the world toward zero carbon emissions by a certain year. The year 2050 is frequently cited as the goal, whereas some other countries have named later dates that they supposedly intend to work toward achieving net zero. For example, China has often cited the year 2060 as their goal. 

The international body overseeing this process is the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which governs the way in which accounting events should be reported by business. The organization responsible for climate-related disclosure is the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB). Countries that have opted to participate in this process have their own offshoots of this. In Canada, given our Liberal government’s propensity to follow all foolish climate-related undertakings, we have the Canadian Sustainability Standards Board (CSSB).  

All of these organizations are working toward imposing a complex set of standards related to ESG (environment, social and governance) on businesses all over the world. Or at least those parts of the world that are stupid enough to buy into them. In Canada, there is currently a consultation going on, where interested parties have been asked to make submissions on this new and onerous regulatory regime by June 10 to the federal government. The Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada (CCMBC) will certainly be making a submission based on all of the reasons the Canadian government should not inflict this complicated, red-tape laden, absurd regulatory burden on Canadian businesses and further damage our economic competitiveness in the process. 

And this is surely an absurdly complicated and expensive process for any business, large or small, to implement. Many of its elements are quite subjective, such as trying to predict how a business’s products may be used by final consumers and therefore how much emissions will be generated in that process. These standards are theoretically going to be imposed only on publicly listed companies, which would be bad enough. But many small- and medium-sized businesses which are not publicly listed are suppliers or have other relationships with the larger, publicly listed firms so will also be sucked into the system. 

Some members at the CCMBC have already been contacted by larger firms they deal with, asking for things like the ESG plan of the smaller business or their DEI (diversity, equity, inclusion) plan for employees within their business. So, the notion claimed by supporters of these policies that they will only impact the large, publicly listed companies is simply not true.  

Canada’s competitiveness has already been hobbled by a number of Liberal policies such as the carbon tax. Businesses in countries that do not impose a carbon tax nor implement some of the high environmental standards required of companies in Canada are free to export their goods into Canada where they unfairly compete with our domestic companies. This is a disgrace that should not be permitted, yet the current Liberal government doesn’t seem to be too bothered by the fact that their policies hamstring Canadian companies while benefitting those in other countries with environmental, safety and labour standards much below our own. 

If Canada is to implement these new ESG standards promoted by the ISSB, as seems likely, the competitiveness of Canadian businesses will be even further damaged. Looking at our major trading partners, the US has already gotten the imposition of many of these new standards tied up in litigation, which will delay their implementation by years if it ever takes place at all. Our other major trading partner in the USMCA trade agreement, Mexico, has no intentions of doing anything at all to conform with these standards. So, in other words, some of Canada’s major trading partners will not be implementing a system that will greatly disadvantage Canadian businesses relative to other countries. Yet our federal government doesn’t seem concerned about this ridiculous situation. 

Much of the developed world seems keen to kneecap their economies with excessive and costly red tape and restrictions related to net zero that the less developed world has no intention of pursuing. China is the biggest polluter in the world by far, and although it pretends to buy in to these international goals, their actual behaviour suggests it has no intention of really scaling back such things as their use of highly polluting coal to achieve net zero goals. 

It’s time Canada took stock of the very negative impact the so-called climate policies have imposed on our economy and Canadians. The scientific evidence is growing that we should not even be concerned about climate changes, which have been natural for thousands of years. As well, predictions of imminent climate disaster have been around for decades yet never seem to actually come to pass. Ridiculous, complex and expensive climate-related regulatory impositions such as are being proposed by international bodies and their Canadian counterparts should be rejected. Unfortunately, the current federal government appears set to adopt them without question. Hopefully, a future more sensible government can reverse that before even more damage has been done to our economic competitiveness.   

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