Why white snow and black dirt matter: Canada's middle class




Imagine if Hawaii banned beaches, taxed surfboards into extinction and made airplane landings so difficult that airlines instead flew to Fiji?

Crazy, right? A state that kills its own natural advantage, the one that creates jobs, incomes, and taxes to pay for government. 

Canada, of course, is not selling Hawaii's weather. But we're beset by (some) politicians and activists who crater Canada's natural advantages: Natural resources, location and even cold.

That's killing middle-class opportunities through blocked projects and harmful 'macro policies. Examples:

  • A B.C. ski resort still unfinished 27 years after the backers first began the project. 
  • Power prices that shoot up in Ontario care of the government and which hobble manufacturing.  
  • Politicians and activists who oppose natural gas exports and thus, ironically, prevent not only prosperity at home but lower carbon emissions worldwide.

Problem: Unbalanced agendas which wrongly put sustainability and prosperity at odds. 

Big Sky Clarity: Economic prosperity and green progress are achievable, twin goals

Canada can have her economic cake and green progress but both must be anchored in real needs and real-world possibilities. 

Reality check: Care about carbon reductions?

  • In the United States, carbon emissions were down twelve per cent over one decade, mostly because of increased natural gas use in the electricity sector. 
  • Canada's natural gas could help China cut coal use and thus particulate and carbon emissions, if much more Canadian gas could be exported from the west coast.

Reality check: Care about Canada's prosperity? 

  • In the last decade, Quebec’s resource-rich regions saw double the income growth over cities and towns without resource development. 
  • For decades, Alberta said yes to resources. That meant those without a high school diploma could easily find work. In Alberta, their unemployment rate averaged nine per cent over one decade. That compared to seventeen+ per cent in Ontario and Quebec and twenty+ per cent in Atlantic Canada.   

The benefit? A clear-eyed view for audiences on the rise and fall of investment dollars and how that impacts jobs, incomes and tax revenues; the potential to reduce particulate and carbon emissions; the future of investment in Canada.