The Ministry of Silly Wokeism should be the Mandated Name for the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change

Anyone who was a fan of British comedy in the last century will no doubt recall “Monty Python and the Flying Circus” which aired from 1969 to 1974 and they may even recall one of the funny sketches, called; “Ministry of Silly Walks”.

The memory associated with the foregoing sketch came roaring back after reading the Toronto Sun’s editorial titled: “Electric car sales quotas are a bad idea”. “The federal government wants half of all new passenger cars sold in Canada to be zero-emission vehicles by 2030, and reach 100% by 2035“. The article also claimed: “Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault is now saying the country needs a national mandate to force auto dealers to sell a certain number of electric vehicles.“

A visit to the Natural Resources Canada website reveals; “The transportation sector is responsible for 27 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Canada. Light-duty vehicles – the cars, vans and light-duty trucks we drive – are responsible for almost half of that total.”  If Minister Guilbeault had math skills and bothered to work out Canada’s emissions from ICE vehicles he would discover they represent 0.056% of global emissions which is less then China emits in one day! 

It is also humourous to find out Guilbeault doesn’t ride his bicycle back and forth from his Montreal riding to Ottawa and instead is apparently chauffeured in an EV.  This was disclosed when he was granting $9.5 million to Quebec to add fast-charging stations on a summer day when he was Heritage Minister. The short video in which he appears has him saying: “My ministerial vehicle is 100% electrical and I can tell you we need to charge when were between Montreal and Ottawa.“ The distance between Montreal and Ottawa is only 198.2 km.  The foregoing is an indication of what is worrying about replacing ICE vehicles with EVs particularly with Canada’s cold winters when EVs loose much of their range.  The winter’s effect on EVs was highlighted in a consumer report recommending, when purchasing an EV you should “Double Down on Range”! The article went on to say; “EV buyers who drive in colder climates should strongly consider getting a car with a range about double what their daily driving needs are, so they’re not left stranded in a cold snap.”

Guilbeault should note: “The record for coldest day in Ottawa history is minus 33.1C, set back in 1996“ so, perhaps he should consider dumping the EV and get chauffeured in a reliable ICE for those trips back and forth between Montreal and Ottawa or at some point he may find himself stranded.

Minister Guilbeault should also realize the costs associated with how much more will need to be spent on the charging infrastructure for EVs. A U.S. based study indicated what Canada’s expected costs would be noting: “this country’s equivalent required total investment in charging infrastructure works out to about $10.5 billion.“  The present budget for Canada’s “Zero Emissions Vehicle Infrastructure Program” is a miserly $280 million spread over 5 years so represents only 2.7% of the requirement. 

The facts noted above will hopefully spur Minister Guilbeault to drop his concept to mandate the push for EV sales!

Should he refuse to drop the proposed mandate we should all sincerely hope the Ministry be retitled as The Ministry of Silly Wokeism!

ESG appears to be the acronym for Economic Spurious Gibberish

The term “environmental social and governance” (ESG) appears to be a concept developed by Ivo Knoepfel of the University of Zurich via his paper “Who Cares Wins”. The paper led those who claim mankind is responsible for “climate change” to advocate the use of ESG terminology to further their “net-zero” by 2050 target! Interestingly, a recent referendum held in Switzerland related to the plan to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 was rejected by Swiss voters so their politicians will have to back away from their signature to the “Paris Agreement”.

The hypocrisy of those recognized as the “super rich” or the “elites” of the world pushing the “net-zero” emissions by 2050 and the need to audit ESG commitment(s) by all corporations is mind-blowing!

The foregoing was recently highlighted by the world’s largest asset manager BlackRock and one of Canada’s largest, namely Brookfield

An article in the FP highlighted their hypocrisy, with the headline: “Brookfield, BlackRock bids for Saudi Aramco pipeline underscore an ESG dilemma”. Both of these institutions have pushed the “climate change” agenda and the focus to reach net-zero, so one wonders; why are they competitively bidding to acquire a gas pipeline and how would it allow them to achieve their purported end goal?

To reiterate the latter point it is noteworthy to be aware that Larry Fink, founder of BlackRock in his annual letter to CEO’s in 2021 stated:  “we believe all companies – including BlackRock – must begin to address the transition to net zero today. We are taking a number of steps to help investors prepare their portfolios for a net zero world, including capturing opportunities created by the net zero transition.

Likewise if one looks at the claim made by Mark Carney (Vice Chair of Brookfield), after his appointment, he went on to say publicly: “The reason we’re net zero is that we have this enormous renewables business,” he said, and thus “all the avoided emissions that come with that offset existing investments in entities that emit carbon.“  The media pushback on his remark forced him to admit it was a false claim.

Both Larry Fink and Mark Carney are members of the Board of Trustees of the WEF (World Economic Forum) and Klaus Schaub, WEF’s founder, states you won’t be allowed to join the WEF unless the company or organization you represent have committed to achieve net-zero by 2050 or sooner!

Past and Present Brookfield Actions

Brookfield’s history goes back to 1899 but we will look at only a few of their activities in the past decade. Let’s start with their purchase in October 2012 of Enwave Energy for C$480 million owned jointly by the City of Toronto and OMERS (Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System) at that time.  Enwave was, and still is, a district energy system provider, meaning they don’t generate greenhouse gases as the energy is geothermal (includes lake water) to heat and cool buildings.

Fast forward by almost 9 years to February 2021 and Brookfield announced they sold Enwave for US$4.1 billion (C$5.1 billion) to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Australian firm IFM Investors (each owning 50%) and presumably celebrated a very nice return on their original investment.  What is sadly amusing about this buying and selling occurrence is that one Government of Ontario pension plan (OMERS) sold their position back in 2012 for a fraction of what another Government of Ontario pension plan (OTPP) purchased it for in 2021. 

To make taxpayers more upset, back in 2019 former Minister of the Environment, Catherine McKenna handed Enwave $10 million of our tax dollars saying this partnership will help create jobs and help tackle climate change in asmarter way.“   

Just days ago, the (CIB) Canada Infrastructure Bank, (created in June 2017 to provide up to $35 billion to support infrastructure projects) issued a press release stating:  “The CIB is committing $600 million to the project which allows Enwave to accelerate and scale the build-out of its district energy systems.” The press release is vague in that it doesn’t indicate if it is an investment or a loan agreement. Either event will simply see tax dollars flying out the door while the Government increases our deficit and borrows the money they claim is for the good of the planet. The CIB now falls under the purview of Minister Dominic LeBlanc who in the past was singled out by Canada’s ethics commissioner when he “broke conflict of interest rules when he awarded a lucrative Arctic surf clam license to a company linked to his wife’s cousin.“

So, one should wonder, what did Brookfield do with that US$4.1 billion to assist them in their push to get to net-zero their Vice Chair Mark Carney, surely emphasized?  We don’t really know, but:

Brookfield wound up competing with Pembina Pipeline Co. for the purchase of Inter Pipeline and they won with a hostile takeover offer by outbidding Pembina with an accepted offer of C$8.6 billion.  One should surely wonder how that will assist Brookfield in getting to the “net-zero” target and how it fits with their 63 page ESG report for 2020?

The CEO’s letter within Brookfield’s ESG report contained the following:

Within our ESG initiatives, we are directing our efforts to the transition to a net zero carbon economy. This transition will affect virtually every business in every country, and we are fully committed to doing our part to decarbonize. In March 2021, we took an important step as part of our commitment to achieving net zero throughout our business: becoming a signatory to the Net Zero Asset Managers (NZAM) initiative.”

One should wonder with the foregoing ESG initiative why would Brookfield purchase a pipeline and pursue another one in the middle east in competition with BlackRock (another NZAM member)?

From all appearances ESG, ie: “Economic Spurious Gibberish“ is the acronym for the heading in this article and has nothing to do with “environmental social and governance” they pretend it does!

Quebec, Trudeau’s poster child, trying to reach net-zero by going full blast on EV

The province of Quebec is blessed with natural resources in the form of rivers and lakes that Hydro Quebec has damned to generate what is labelled as clean electricity.  As a result of their resource benefits, their 2020 annual report notes their residential rate of 7.3 cents/kWh (kilowatt hour) are the “lowest in North America”!  The report also states $3.6 billion was a “Contribution to the Quebec government’s revenue in 2020”.

Attempting to find the average rates for Ontario is almost impossible and depends on your LDC (local distribution company) and their charges for distribution, regulation etc. on top of the cost of generation.  As one example Hydro One have several residential rate categories combined with TOU (time of use) metrics varying from a low of 13 cents/kWh to over 20 cents/kWh with the average in the range of 17 cents/kWh.  Those costs naturally have an effect on per capita usage so for the 2020-year Ontarians consumed 139.5 terawatts (TW)* whereas Quebecers consumed 171.4 TW*.  On a per capita basis Quebecers consumed just over 20 MW annually whereas it was less than half that in Ontario at about 9.5 MW. 

Back in November 2020 Premier Legault announced a $6.7 billion five year plan to cut emissions. The main focus seemed to be aimed at banning all gas car sales in 2035 and electrification of 1.5 million vehicles, by 2030, including city buses (55%), taxis (40%) and school buses (65%)!

Those various EV will need those large batteries to power them and that means they will weigh more. As expected, the Ford Lightning weights 1,600 pounds more than an ICE powered Ford 150.  That will presumably have more of an impact on the deterioration of asphalt meaning more frequent road repairs but where is that money going to come from?  A large part of our gas taxes currently are slated for keeping our road and highways in reasonable shape but (to the best of my knowledge) those road repair taxes don’t apply to EV! The other issue is recycling those batteries as they “contain hazardous materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly” and “Currently, globally, it’s very hard to get detailed figures for what percentage of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, but the value everyone quotes is about 5%,” says Dr Anderson. “In some parts of the world it’s considerably less.”

As if to amplify the issues with those batteries they are much less effective in cold weather so will require more frequent charging during Quebec’s cold winters which is when their “peak demand” occurs so will Hydro Quebec need to restrict electricity use further?  They already offer customers a “dynamic pricing” break for lowering consumption during 7 hours on a winter day.  The number of EV registered in Quebec as of March 31, 2021 were 85,486 or 1.5% of over 5.8 million road vehicles (2019 stats) so if that increases to Premier Legault’s target of 1.5 million on the road by 2030 we should suspect Quebec will be severely restricting consumption and by then trying to figure out how to recycle the batteries.

It turns out some of those batteries will be manufactured in Quebec as PM Trudeau and Premier Legault in March 2021 got together and announced they would lend Lion Electric Co., a Montreal based manufacturer of electric trucks and buses $50 million each to establish a $185 million lithium-ion battery assembly plant in Quebec. Certain conditions would allow $30 million of that $100 million to be forgivable. Quebec’s Economy Minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, stated “If we play our cards right, we could become world leaders in this market of the future,”

A Financial Post article about Lion Electric said; “The company went public this past May and has Power Corp as a major investor owning 36 per cent of Lion.” Just another epitome of the “Laurentian Elite”.

If one moves along to a week ago the news broke further about Lion Electric and how they received an order (conditional) for 1,000 electric school buses.  Needless to say, that was big news and was carried extensively in various big and small media outlets. Reviewing several of them you find Lion is expanding south as an article in the Cantech site said; “Lion said the construction of a shell building at its Joliet, Illinois, manufacturing facility was 80 per cent complete and was expected to begin production during the second half of 2022.”  One wonders will that site be supplying those “school buses”?

An article in Global News starts off with: “The Lion Electric Co. says it has received a conditional order for 1,000 electric school buses from Student Transportation of Canada, whose parent company is controlled by Quebec’s pension fund manager.” Hmm, all in the family!

So, it appears the “sainthood” sought by Legault and Trudeau by their attendance at COP 26 is being financed by the taxpayers of not only Quebec and the Federal Liberal government but also by the Alberta taxpayers. The latter provided the bulk of the equalization payments resulting in Quebec receiving $13.2 billion of the $22 billion Alberta coughed up in 2019 alone.

The Laurentian Elites love it but we should guess Albertans will hope all those 1.5 million EV charging their “made in Quebec” batteries will cause blackouts!

*Net of imports and exports.