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If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it

Editorial

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By Steve Davey

As a lot of us did in the 1970s, I too desperately wanted my own car, which was a ticket to freedom, and seemingly a right of passage into pending adulthood. So before starting Grade 11, in 1978, I purchased a 1970 Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible.

Like all cars of that era, rust had taken a toll on the body, and in this case, only the hood and front of the car were unaffected. Using a summer job’s worth of income, I had the first of what would be many body and paint jobs done. The result was not perfect, but it turned the Olds into a respectable ride.

While the body had been rough, the car’s engine ran perfectly, and it had a new exhaust system put in before I bought it. But to me, the stock muffler sounded too tame. I really wanted to increase the “cool” factor of the car and give it a more high-performance exhaust note. So, I decided to cut off and replace the stock muffler and tail pipe with a “Cherry Bomb” muffler, which was essentially a tube with minimal noise baffles.

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This decision proved to be disastrous. The “Cherry Bomb” muffler didn’t sound great on my car, and was too large for the exhaust pipe, so fumes leaked out constantly. To add insult to injury, my placement of it in front of the rear axle allowed hot exhaust to heat up the wheel bearing, causing it to fail prematurely. In the end, I had to purchase and install a new wheel bearing, as well as a new muffler and tail pipe. All for nothing, but a valuable life lesson was learned. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau calling a snap $600 million federal election reminded me of my teenage folly. In Trudeau’s case, his party went in to the election leading a minority government with 157 elected MPs. After the election, he still is leading a minority government, with 158 elected MPs. This works out to $600 million for one additional seat.

The day after the election, the Bennett Jones Governmental Affairs and Public Policy group held a webinar called “What’s Next for Canada Post-Election 2021”, featuring panelists John Manley, who served as deputy prime minister of Canada from 2002 to 2003, John Baird, who served as federal environment minister from 2007 to 2008 and minister of foreign affairs from 2011 to 2015, and former British Columbia Premier Christy Clark.

“What does a second Liberal minority government mean environmentally?” was among the many topics discussed by the panel. Christy Clark said she felt that being in a minority government situation again, has weakened the Trudeau government’s position with the other parties, specifically the NDP. The Liberals can no longer use the threat of an election if other parties don’t approve their initiatives. This will pressure them to follow the NDP’s environmental ideas, which can be very anti energy sector. For example, Canada’s energy sector may face stricter environmental restraints, that will make it harder to get product to market.

Clark says that we need a vibrant energy sector, to provide employment and create wealth, which helps pay for social programs all Canadians need. Also, giving Indigenous communities a financial stake in future natural resource projects, can be a key part of the Truth and Reconciliation process. “You don’t solve poverty with apologies, but with the creation and sharing of wealth. If the energy sector gets killed by over-regulation or deliberate government policy, we lose the ability to truly reconcile with Indigenous people,” stated Clark.

She also said that other provinces should use the B.C. carbon tax model, which has cut fuel consumption and is revenue neutral. Moreover, all the funds collected are being put back into growing the province’s economy. On this note, John Baird said he thinks that carbon pricing will continue to rise, as Canada tries to meet its Paris Accord targets.

John Manley said that key companies in Canada’s oil sector have made extraordinary progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and are now some of the cleanest producers in the world. He said that Canadians need to remember that, if the world can’t have access to Canadian energy sources, it will look elsewhere.

All of the panelists felt that Canada has a bright economic future, but only if we continue to be able to export our natural resources in a reasonable and timely manner.

Finally, the overall feeling of the panelists seemed to be that wasting hundreds of millions of dollars on an unnecessary election, along with valuable political capital, served no one’s interest.

Steve Davey is the editor and publisher of ES&E Magazine. Please email any comments you may have to steve@esemag.com. This editorial appears in ES&E Magazine’s October 2021 issue:

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