Trudeau’s ‘Just transition’ program for millions of ‘green’ jobs? It doesn’t exist says auditor-general

Ottawa itself believes there will be ‘significant labour market disruptions’ in sectors of the economy employing 2.7 million Canadian workers — 13.5% of the nation’s workforce

By Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, Jan. 21, 2023

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised it in the 2019 federal election and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said recently he hopes to unveil it early this year.

But when the federal environment commissioner, part of the auditor general’s office, reported on the progress of the government’s “just transition” program in April 2022, presumably after three years of planning, he concluded there wasn’t a program.

“We found that as Canada shifts its focus to low-carbon alternatives, the government is not prepared to provide appropriate support to more than 50 communities and 170,000 workers in the fossil fuels sector,” Jerry DeMarco said.

In the case of phasing out coal, DeMarco reported, “The transition was being handled on a business-as-usual basis, relying on existing program mechanisms such as the employment insurance program to deliver support.”

And DeMarco only examined the energy sector.

The independent Ottawa digital news service Blacklock’s Reporter revealed last week that the federal government itself believes there will be “significant labour market disruptions” in sectors of the economy employing 2.7 million Canadian workers — 13.5% of the nation’s workforce.

Not just in the energy sector, but in transportation, agriculture, building and manufacturing as well.

Seven major job sectors to be affected

Even that under-reports the enormity of the issue. According to the federal government, there are seven major sectors of the Canadian economy that produce significant industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Obviously, jobs will be impacted in all of them.

They include heavy industry (mining, smelting and refining, pulp and paper, iron and steel, cement, lime and gypsum, chemicals and fertilizers), electricity, waste and “others” (light manufacturing, construction, forest resources and coal production) in addition to those cited in the government briefing document.

Obviously, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is concerned about the implications of this energy transformation to her province. She should be.

The fact she overstated what the report said by claiming it anticipated 2.7 million jobs would be lost — it said there would be “significant labour market disruptions” in economic sectors employing 2.7 million workers  — doesn’t diminish the seriousness of the issue.

She’s not the only Alberta politician saying it.

In an interview with the Calgary Herald, NDP leader and former premier Rachel Notley demanded Ottawa scrap its looming “just-transition” legislation and called its 2030 greenhouse-gas emission-reduction targets unrealistic and unachievable.

“My view is that the federal government has to put the brakes completely on its legislative plans for this spring with respect to the sustainable jobs legislation, as well as plans for the emissions cap,” Notley said, describing the situation as a “crisis” with “wide-ranging consequences, particularly to the people of Alberta.”

Notley also blamed “the incompetence and chaos and conflict” of Smith and her United Conservative Party government, unsurprising given the coming provincial election in May.

More jobs gained than lost? Don’t count on it…

The larger point is that despite the arguments of the Trudeau government, their media apologists and the occasional oil industry executive saying Canada’s green energy transformation will create more jobs than it costs (in an energy sector seeking huge subsidies from the federal government to help pay for that transformation), don’t be misled.

There are enormous risks to transforming an economy to “green” energy. All you have to do is look at the ongoing energy crisis in Europe to know why.

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