March 03, 2023

(Un)Sustainable Jobs and an (Un)Just Transition

(Un)Sustainable Jobs and an (Un)Just Transition

I’ve been speaking a lot lately about “Just Transition” and Trudeau and the green Left’s plan to shut down the Canadian oil and gas sector and shift workers away from those “carbon intensive” jobs in the oil and gas sector into “sustainable” “green energy” jobs. 

On February 16th, the Trudeau government released its much anticipated “Sustainable Jobs Plan” that lays out the strategy for how the Liberal-NDP alliance in Ottawa proposes to achieve the destruction of hundreds of thousands of oil and gas jobs in Canada. 

According to the Trudeau government, “What Canada needs now is a dedicated plan for workers in a net-zero future… A plan to create jobs, to create prosperity.”  This plan is the “Sustainable Jobs Plan.”

What exactly are “sustainable” jobs? 

We’re told that “sustainable jobs” are those jobs which are “compatible with Canada’s path to a net-zero emissions and climate resilient future.” 

As an afterthought, they also add that the term “sustainable jobs” also “reflects the concept” of “jobs that can support workers and their families over time.”

To recap: according to Trudeau’s definition, “sustainable jobs” are not ones that are stable and well-paying. Rather they are ones that help to advance the government’s green agenda. If the jobs aren’t “green,” then they aren’t “sustainable.”

Let’s take a step back and consider this carefully. 

In suggesting the government will be creating ‘sustainable’ jobs, they are saying that the existing jobs in the oil and gas sector are not sustainable. But with any previous definition of “sustainable” Canada’s oil and gas jobs were not only “sustainable” – they were the engine of the Canadian economy, at least in Western Canada and Newfoundland, and, to some degree, almost everywhere else. 

Of course, it used to be that the Left tried to convince us that Canada’s oil and gas resources were rapidly depleting, and the world would need to move beyond using these resources. Since the 1970s predictions have been made about the decline in oil and gas reserves. For example, in 1998 the Scientific American published a paper titled “The End of Cheap Oil” that suggested that within 10 years we’d reach ‘peak oil’ and that oil supplies would begin to decline.

This has proven not to be the case. Thanks to human ingenuity, we continue to find new ways to extract oil and gas.  That paired with the discovery of new reserves, oil and gas supplies will continue for the foreseeable future.  

By 2040 global demand for oil demand is anticipated to increase to 106.3 million barrels per day.  In countries like China and India, oil consumption and energy demand are growing significantly. 

Canada has an abundance of oil and gas, and our energy industry operates in one of the world’s most stringent regulatory environments.  

The bottom line is that the demand for oil and gas is increasing, and Canadian energy could help meet that demand. And our oil and gas jobs: highly sustainable!

But now the Trudeau-led green leftists are peddling the idea that oil and gas is unsustainable because of climate change. Yes, Trudeau and his green cabal are shutting down our oil and gas industry to achieve their Net Zero emissions goal. 

This is fueled by the preposterous notion that we can somehow affect the climate if we reduce our green house gas emission from 1.4 percent of global emissions to 0.4 percent. This will be achieved in part by shutting down the industry that is a major contributor to the Canadian economy. 

So no, oil and gas jobs are not “unsustainable.”  What the Trudeau government is really getting at now is that oil and gas jobs will no longer be “sustainable” because of its own plans to destroy the industry and phase them out. And we have seen their efforts to advance this objective already from carbon taxes, to blocking pipelines, to mandating electric vehicles. 

Shutting down this industry will leave hundreds of thousands of Canadians unemployed who rely on these well-paying jobs to provide for themselves and their families. 

But don’t worry! The government will come to the rescue to solve the problem that they themselves will have created. 

They will “Establish the Sustainable Jobs Secretariat” and “create a Sustainable Jobs Partnership Council” and “develop economic strategies” and “introduce a sustainable jobs stream, and “advance funding for skills development towards sustainable jobs”. The list goes one and on, but I think you get the point. 

The government has a plan to spend an enormous amount of your money and government resources to create and then solve this self-inflicted problem. 

There is nothing sustainable about this plan. It is a costly “solution” to a problem of their own making. And everyday Canadians will be the ones to pay the price.