Right in the centre - Climate plan reaches to solve a non existent problem


Ken Waddell
The Neepawa Banner & Press

The PC government of Manitoba has announced a Made in Manitoba Green Plan. As far as green plans go, it is better than many. As far as carbon taxes go, I still oppose them.

They are a tax grab, plain and simple. In itself, the Manitoba Green Plan is OK I guess. Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP) has endorsed it. The plan does call for province-wide adoption of the Alternate Land Use (ALUS) system which was spawned in western Manitoba. In some ways ALUS is a natural extension of conservation district program which was launched in Neepawa in 1971 at the founding banquet of the Whitemud Conservation District which was held at the then new Yellowhead Centre. The conservation district program grew out of the conservation and erosion control work done at the Rosedale Farm. Few will remember, but that project was started by local farmers and the Manitoba Department of Agriculture in the 1960s to combat the severe erosion in the RM of Rosedale.

The problem with the Manitoba Climate and Green Plan is that it will tax fuel and use that money to fund some programs. It will set up yet another bureaucracy and as usual, a good percentage of the money will be absorbed by bureaucracy. The remaining money will be used by various government agencies and quite frankly, I don’t trust government to make wise investment decisions. It could be better this time but I am skeptical.

The underlying problem with any “green” initiative in Manitoba, or in most of Canada, is that we are already very “green”. There are portions of the country that have some “smokestack” problems but even that may be simply visually superficial. If you drive by McCains in Portage or Hylife at Neepawa, especially in cold weather, you will see huge emissions from their “smokestacks”. The trouble is, it only looks like smoke, it is mostly water vapour or steam if you wish.

If you fly over Manitoba, you will see that the percentage of land that is Industrialized versus the fields, forests, swamps and lakes is very small. Manitoba is already one huge carbon sink without any green plan. All those fields, forests, swamps and lakes  combined with a hydro based power system makes Manitoba a green leader without a carbon tax. 

There is one interesting wrinkle in the Manitoba Climate and Green Plan. It doesn’t meet the federal government standards except for the first two years. After the first two years, the feds have said Manitoba will have to raise the carbon tax even higher to meet federal standards. Perhaps the saving grace for Manitobans is that before that time comes there will be a federal election. Perhaps, if Manitobans think about this process, they can dump all the Liberal MPs. Manitoba doesn’t need a green plan. The feds are enforcing a green plan that is harsher than the made in Manitoba plan. The answer is really quite simple isn’t it? It is simple, as long as the rest of the country sees our logic and votes for a lower tax regime. I still say, we don’t need a carbon tax but if it is forced down our throats, it should be as small as possible.