This week, Stats Canada reported that Canada’s economy shrank by 0.1 per cent in the first three months of 2015. Our southern neighbours are in the same boat: the U.S. economy shrank by 0.7 per cent over the same period. When our most important market is shrinking, that’s very, very bad news for us. The federal government has to do something, and fast.
Unfortunately, it’s even worse than it sounds. Last week, CBC reported that TD Bank economist Randall Bartlett said that things are so bad that our central bank will move to cut interest rates again some time this year. Rates are already so low that it’s hard to see what more the federal government could do to stimulate the economy.
By the way, the shrinkage is all in mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction, construction, wholesale trade and manufacturing. There was growth in finance and insurance, utilities, agriculture and forestry, but it was too weak to make up for the impact of collapsed oil prices.
Clearly, continued government investment in oil and gas seems a stupid move right now. It’s time to wake up to the fact that the rest of the world is currently investing almost as much in clean energy as it is in fossil fuels:( Clean Energy Canada reports that, in 2013, $207-billion (U.S.) was invested in clean energy deployment, compared to the $270-billion invested in fossil fuel power generation.) Global corporate players such as Google Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Apple Inc. and Ikea AB are investing heavily in renewable energy projects in order to cut their own greenhouse gas emissions. So are countries like the US, Japan and China. Every time a new clean energy project gets the green light, people get jobs and money flows into the economy.
In Canada, some provinces have figured it out: British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario all have pro-renewable policies. Alberta’s new government will likely move fast to get us into the lucrative green energy game. But the federal government is spinning its wheels, ignoring the facts, and holding us back from prosperity in the emerging green global economy.
CEO, Green Party of Canada for Battle River – Crowfoot
Submitted to local newspapers on May 31, 2015