March 14, 2022

Beware the Words – “Just Transition”

March 14, 2022
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Amidst recovery of a global pandemic, when many Canadians are hurting from illness, isolation, financial hardship, and record level uncertainty of the future, the Government of Canada quietly rolled out an announcement that proved they are tone deaf to the working class who built this country.

The announcement proclaimed the government was interested in hearing from you on the topic of “Just Transition” of natural resource workers and communities impacted by the federal governments intentions to shut them down.

Oh, you didn’t hear about it? We’re not surprised. The announcement was made in June of 2021, with an initial deadline of September 30 for receiving submissions.

The quietness with which it was rolled out suggests they didn’t want you to hear about it… or for you to think too much about what it means for you either.

A number of responsible resource advocates called them out and on October 1st Natural Resources Canada announced, via twitter, the deadline was extended to April 30, 2022.

The government describes “Just Transition” as a principle determined to see that displaced resource workers are treated fairly as the government slowly eliminates the industries that provide jobs.

Hold on Ottawa. We think you missed a step in this decision-making process; but again, why should we be surprised. The working people of this country are seldom included in the decisions that directly affect them. We are always last to know.

Make no mistake, the decision to phase out resource industries, towns and workers has been made. The federal government’s ‘Just Transition’ exercise isn’t an engagement; it’s a decision to ‘decarbonize’ the economy.

The words ‘Just Transition’ are simply flowery marketing to lull you into believing you have a choice in the matter. You don’t.

The federal government are targeting what they deem high carbon industries first. So, if you work in Canada’s hydrocarbon sector, mining, agriculture, or what are deemed ‘heavy emitter’ processing plants you should be preparing yourself for the decisions that have been made without you.

Northern BC will be most directly hit and first impacted. It will take a bit of time, but the trickle down means urban centers will eventually feel the impact as demand for natural resource industry services and supplies dries up.

Introducing this at a time when Canadian workers are needing certainty and recovery is a calculated and callous act. “Just Transition” is just nice wording for poverty and unemployment.

Internationally, it’s also the wrong policy at the wrong time. Canada has the resources, knowhow and environmental advances to provide ethical oil and gas to customers currently trapped by tyrannical suppliers.

The North Matters, as a citizen led group, has engaged Ottawa on this. Our questions for them:

  • What is “just” about a decision that throws families further into turmoil and uncertainty?
  • What is “just” about putting the planet’s leading sources of GHG reducing capacity in jeopardy?
  • What is “just” about ripping economic reconciliation away from First Nations communities who are finally gaining independence through partnering in natural resource development?
  • What is just about withholding ethical Canadian resources from countries who desperately need it now and in the future.

You can participate too by visiting the Natural Resource Canadas website. While you are there download the word salad they call a discussion paper.

The government’s “Just Transition” is not about global carbon reduction. It is a contrived barrier to global success and a deviously underhanded attack on Canada’s working class.

The North Matters Team

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