Get the carbon out of natural gas

Turning natural gas into hydrogen might sound like the alchemists dream of turning lead into gold but the technology has been around for decades.

image: FuelCellsWorks

It’s long been the dream of our fossil-fuel hungry society that we can continue to burn fuel without the consequences of climate change. We’re totally hooked on fossil fuels and the future of reliance on renewable energy sources is decades away.

One proposed solution is to extract CO2 out of the air by sequestration: capture and store CO2. But that technology is unproven and even if it worked, would require billions of dollars to build. 

It would help a lot if we could, at least, remove the carbon from the natural gas used to heat our homes, cook our meals, and heat water. Fifty per cent of Canada’s household energy needs come from natural gas, with electricity at 45 per cent in second place, and heating oil at 4 per cent.

As far as gas goes, hydrogen is the fuel of the future. When burned, it produces nothing but water.

The feds are big on hydrogen. Last year, the federal government released its Hydrogen Strategy for Canada. It’s an ambitious plan to get Canada to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and make Canada a global leader in hydrogen technologies.

There are a number of ways of producing hydrogen including the electrolysis of water using green sources of electricity. There are even pockets of hydrogen beneath the ground that could be mined.

And since a massive system of natural gas pipelines already exists, the hydrogen could be sent through those pipelines.

However, sending hydrogen through natural gas pipelines is a bad idea, says professor Michael E. Webber of the University of Texas at Austin:

“Moving and storing gaseous hydrogen is also a challenge. Because of hydrogen’s low density, it takes a lot of energy to move it through a pipe compared with denser gases such as methane or liquids such as petroleum. After several hundred kilometers the inefficiency makes moving hydrogen more expensive than the value of the energy it carries (Scientific American, April, 2021).”

A better solution would be to convert natural gas to hydrogen at the end of the pipeline -at home. The process is called pyrolysis. It breaks down in natural gas into hydrogen and solid carbon. The method is efficient and eliminates CO2 emissions. It’s been known for decades. Pyrolysis takes conventional natural gas and converts is to nearly zero carbon.

However, pyrolysis is not magic. It requires heat which would have to come from renewable electricity sources. On the plus side, the solid carbon produced is a valuable industrial product; more valuable than any other product we place at our curbsides. It could be collected with other recyclables. Also, the gas jets in our appliances would have to be replaced to burn hydrogen.

The installation of home pyrolysis generators would be expensive but compared to the billions of dollars being put into carbon sequestration, not prohibitive. The sale of the valuable solid carbon collected would partially offset costs.

Home-based natural gas converters would allow us to have our fossil fuels and burn them too. And feel good about doing so.

Green is my favourite colour of hydrogen

When I first made hydrogen as a kid, I wasn’t aware that hydrogen came in different colours.

Back then, I simply attached two copper wires to my model train transformer, immersed the wires in water, turned voltage up and waited for bubbles to form. I held a glass over the negative terminal to catch the hydrogen. A lit match held under the inverted glass gave a satisfying “pop” as the hydrogen ignited.

image OpenEI

The effect was less than satisfying in 1937 for the hydrogen-filled Hindenburg. As the dirigible touched its mooring mast in New Jersey, it burst into a fireball that killed 36 passengers and crew-members.

The second way I made hydrogen as a kid was to immerse pieces of aluminum in a pop bottle filled with lye (sodium hydroxide). I then placed a deflated balloon over the neck of the bottle and watched it fill with hydrogen. I then tied off the neck of the balloon and watched it drift through the house, following the air currents.

I now know that the first method produces “green” hydrogen when made from renewable sources of electricity.

The second method I used is dangerous according to a Wikipedia article. “Don’t try this at home, kids,” –a message I guess I never received, or chose to ignore.

Hydrogen now comes in colours that distinguish the source of production. Grey is the colour of hydrogen produced from dirty fossil fuel sources. Blue is for hydrogen produced from natural gas. Natural gas, so the argument goes, may be a fossil fuel but when burned it’s not as bad as coal.

Hydrogen is a perfect fuel because it produces no carbon greenhouse gases. Making it without fossil fuels is the challenge.

Green might be beautiful, but right now only a fraction of global hydrogen is produced by non-renewable sources. Only one-fifth of one per cent of total hydrogen comes from renewable sources, such as hydroelectric, wind and solar power.

Most of the rest is grey hydrogen. The International Energy Agency says hydrogen production spews out 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, equivalent to the combined emissions of Britain and Indonesia.

However, the colour designations for hydrogen may be a bit of a distraction. What matters is “carbon intensity.” In other words, how much carbon is produced in the production of hydrogen regardless of the source?

Dan Woynillowicz, a Victoria-based climate and energy policy consultant says:

“Blue is better than grey. But we can’t ignore the fact that green is cleaner than blue. All that said, the colour labels are poorly defined. Ultimately, it’s not the colour that matters, it’s the carbon intensity.”

Carbon intensity is a measure of how much carbon is produced in the total manufacture of hydrogen. If carbon can be captured and stored underground, then its carbon intensity is reduced.

After losing $1.5 billion of taxpayers’ money in the Keystone XL gamble, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is looking to hydrogen to lift his sagging polls.

With much fanfare, he, along with the mayor of Edmonton and two federal cabinet ministers, announced the building of a low-carbon hydrogen plant. Carbon dioxide would be injected underground using existing infrastructure.

Maybe there is a way of green-washing hydrogen.

The graves of Indigenous children cry out for justice

The discovery of children’s graves at the Kamloops residential school was not a surprise to many. What made the findings so graphic was the stunning detail of the remains as revealed by ground-penetrating radar.

image: Inside Edition

Deceased children as young as three, sometimes wrapped in a blanket, sometimes just buried in shallow graves, were buried in the grounds around the school.

While the discovery was startling to national and international audiences, it was no surprise to former residents of the school.

“It is a great open secret that our children lie on the properties of the former schools,” said Sol Mamakwa, an Indigenous member of the Ontario legislature.

And the graves were no secret to those who dug them, such the former students of the Edmonton Indian Residential School. One such student, Jackie Williams, remembers being hired to dig some of the graves when he was a child.

As long as the remains of children remained hidden under often grassy fields, out of sight, we didn’t have to face the horror of this open secret.

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) has brought details of the remains to the surface and to anguished scrutiny.

GPR may be revealing but the process is not as simple as, say, X-rays. First, a GPR machines about the size of a toaster on wheels are pulled around the area to be surveyed. Initial scanning only takes about as long as it does to walk the grounds being searched.

Then data is downloaded and processed by computers. The set-up cost about $35,000 and requires training to interpret the images.

While the GPR images may look like little more than “blobs” to the untrained eye, experienced researchers can recognize details.

A bit like ultrasound images, I imagine. I watched as an ultrasound was done on my abdomen. Fuzzy images floated into to view on the screen. What I saw as fuzzy blobs, the trained health professionals saw as my liver, kidneys and spleen –and measured with great accuracy.

Dr. Terence Clark is skilled in the use of GPR. He used it to discover gravesites at the former residential school on the Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan in 2018.

Cark, a University of Saskatchewan researcher and professor who specializes in community-based archeology, said: “It seemed like this was a validation that their memories were real, this really happened, and they wanted to see it on the screen. They wanted to know that what they experienced was true.”

As researchers view the underground images, it must be like an under-earth diver swimming through rocks, bones, and other artifacts. As details emerge, the children come to life and cry out for justice.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, a lawyer and former judge who is of Cree and Scottish descent said: “To me, the dead children themselves in this Kamloops school, and others, have human rights. We have an obligation to them to provide respect for the deceased and take practical steps to address the indignity that might’ve been done to them and their bodies.”

Kamloops is now the focus of global attention in a way that I would have not have preferred. But there we are, and now we need to cooperate with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation to see that justice is not only done but seen by the world to be done.

Why do I feel apprehensive as the pandemic lockdown lifts?

I should be thrilled at the lifting of the pandemic. Instead, I feel a little uneasy.

image: InfoWorld

I’m not the only one. In a recent survey of Canadians by the polling firm Leger, 52 per cent said they fell somewhat anxious about returning to what life was like before the novel coronavirus.

Young people felt even more apprehensive. Those aged 18 to 24 showed the highest levels of unease at 68 per cent.

We’ve lived with it so long with it that this way of life now feels familiar.

It took a little getting used to but I’m comfortable wearing a mask. In the cold weather of winter, it actually provided some warmth.

At the grocery store, the shopping carts have all been sanitized. Added staff have been hired to wipe down freezer handles and any other surfaces that people touch. Security staff ensure that everyone is wearing a mask. “Have a nice day,” they cheerfully tell me as I exit.

We now know that all that wiping down isn’t necessary given that the virus is spread by expelled droplets and aerosols and not contact. Still, it’s reassuring and helps make us feel safe.

But it’s probably just theatre.

Every Loblaw store, including the ones in Kamloops that go by a different names, are doing increased sanitization including frequent deep cleaning of all areas of the store.

“In fact, we go above and beyond what was required,” said Loblaw director of corporate affairs, Mark Boudreau, adding that some of the grocery chain’s COVID-19 cleaning protocols might become permanent.

But experts say that it’s time to move past “hygiene theatre” that give people a sense of security and protection but are actually unlikely to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission.

Then there is the environmental impact of all those disposable wipes, the cost of disinfecting supplies, and the burden on restaurant and retail employees to maintain strict COVID-19 cleaning measures, are further reasons to start being pragmatic – and stop wiping down groceries and mail.

Sure, it may be “hygiene theatre” but I worry that the lack of concern for hygiene after the pandemic could lead to more transmission of viruses. After all, this year’s flu season practically disappeared.

And what will talk around the dinner table be like in our post-pandemic future?

Leger polled Canadians and asked what they discuss at the dinner table. One out of five talked about COVID-19; five times as much as they talked about Canada’s perennial topic –the weather.

For those over the age of 65, one out of three talked about COVID-19 at the dinner table. Understandable, when you consider the higher risk for older Canadians.

What will we talk about around the dinner table once the pandemic is over? Maybe we’ll be at a loss for words.

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there,” said LP Hartley in his novel.

The future is a foreign country. It will unlike any future since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. We will do things differently there, but in what way?

Unlike the past, the future is yet to be inhabited. When the post-pandemic order arrives, we will stumble into it, blinking in the brightness of a new world.

Why people knowingly share falsehoods

It used to be that liars would be embarrassed when caught in their lies.

But in our post-truth era, the truth is secondary to beliefs. Lies no longer result in humiliation.

image: The Conversation

Oxford Languages, the world’s leading dictionary, explained the essential characteristic of our new age when they chose post-truth as the word-of-the-year in 2016. In a press release, they said we are living in an age in which there is no distinction between truth and feeling; we were entering an era in which “objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” 

That was the year when the Great Pretender became president of the United States.

Fact checker Daniel Dale itemized the sayings of President Donald Trump and found he had made a total of 30,573 false and misleading claims throughout his presidency.

The torrent of lies would have brought down a president before the post-truth era. But even after his falsehoods, 54 per cent of Republicans said they would vote for Trump again.

Naively, I thought that if people were educated on how to assess the quality of information that they would stop spreading falsehoods. Not so.

Researchers in Denmark found that the truth is no barrier in the spread of falsehoods. Using a series of educational videos, researchers educated 1,600 Twitter users on how to identify untrustworthy content online. Then they compared their Twitter interactions before and after they had watched the videos.

The study found that, while training taught people how to identify false content, it did not dissuade them from sharing it. “Participants performing well on the ‘fake news’ quiz were just as likely to share untrustworthy news stories.”

Huh? Even when people knew that was they were sharing was false, they did so anyway?

It turns out that people don’t share fake news because they actually believe it to be true. Rather, they believe in its value. Sharing demonstrates their allegiance to a particular social group.

I now realize that the boundary between facts and opinion has blurred. A comment on one of my columns was: “This is opinion?” I thought it was obvious that what I write is my opinion. Sure, I quote what I hope are reputable sources to support my opinion but in the end it’s just my view.

I now realize that what the commenter was looking for in an opinion piece was a rant. Anything that wasn’t bombast was a statement of fact.

Viviane Fairbank, a professional fact-checker for Harper’s and the Walrus, struggles with the difference between fact and opinion. Maybe everything we read, aside from science, is a matter of opinion:

“I’ve now come to believe there’s another, more salient characteristic of our age, beyond the post-truth designation. It is a relic of the past few centuries of rationalism in the Western world: the idea that there can ever be a definitive distinction between fact, on the one hand, and everything else, on the other (the Walrus, April 7, 2021).”

Fact-checking has become a form of allegiance signalling. Fact checks that begin with the implicit premise “look how wrong and stupid these people are” only lead to greater mistrust between groups.

What really matters is social bonding. The only way that minds will be changed is by influencing group leaders.

In the post-truth era, that’s a fact.

Threat of separation led to a superior immigration system

No federal government likes to give up control but in the case of immigration, it’s worked out for the best.

image: Study International

Our immigration system is admired globally. Canada has largely avoided the divisive immigration debates that have plagued our close allies: the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia.

A Gallup poll shows that Canada is more welcoming to immigrants than any other country in the world.

Decentralization of immigration began in 1991 with Quebec’s demands to have more control over French-speaking immigrants in order to better integrate them into Quebec’s distinct society.

The federal government, worried about Quebec separation, acquiesced to Quebec’s demands. Ottawa still controlled family sponsorships, refugee migration, and ensured that newcomers passed health and security screenings. But other than that, Quebec could create its own system and decide how many new immigrants to accept each year.

Then the me-too effect kicked in. Once Quebec had some control of immigration, other provinces wanted it. Ottawa was happy to give up some control to provinces because, at the same time in the nineties, Ottawa was going through a debt crisis and was happy to transfer those costs to the provinces.

So, in 1996, the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) was created. The federal government would retain the rights it had in Quebec’s case but the provinces would design the programs themselves and much of the work -and cost- would be borne by the provinces.

Under the PNP, employers and postsecondary institutions with the cooperation of the provinces, would select applicants.

The provincial programs offered an easier route to permanent residency than federal programs did.

Critics argued that the PNP would be a disaster. Employers, provinces, and postsecondary institutions, they argued, didn’t have national interests at heart. And they don’t have the expertise to support language skills and integration of newcomers. Those who ran the immigration programs were often unskilled and open to fraud.

Another criticism of the PNP was that Immigrants could shop around for provinces that offered the best entry programs and then move to wherever it suited them.

At first, it was so. Big cities attracted immigrants because of their existing multiethnic communities where newcomers share the same languages and observe the same customs.  Toronto, Montreal, or Vancouver were often the final destinations because they already had networks of friends and family to help them launch a Canadian life.

As a result, only 28 percent of nominated immigrants to Prince Edward Island since 2008 were still living there. Manitoba did better, retaining 84 per cent. The difference, says Kelly Toughill in her feature-length article, was each program’s ability to support newcomers (the Walrus, May, 2021).

But despite initial problems, decentralization of immigration has successfully continued with groups like the non-profit Kamloops Immigrant Services. The Canadian Labour Congress is now controlling some phases of immigration to fill the looming construction labour shortage.

The number of localized immigration programs has swelled to more than 100 scattered from coast to coast to coast.

Canada now has one of the most complex immigration systems in the world.

Flexibility means that provinces and agencies design programs attract who they want, where they want.

Our complex immigration system has also resulted in the highest public support for immigration of any country in the world. And it’s why Canada is winning the global competition for labour.

Languishing: the malaise of our pandemic times

Our journey through this pandemic is unprecedented in modern times.

image: NBC News

We won’t know what the exact effects of the pandemic will be until it’s over.

Meanwhile, psychologists suggest that if we can find words that describe how we feel now it helps us cope; words like “grief” and “languishing.”

I thought it might be helpful if I could find the expanded use of commons words during the last pandemic of 1918. But I couldn’t.

Instead, I did find some technical terms in the aftermath of the Spanish Flu epidemic. We know that fifty million people died globally in four waves during the pandemic. And, similar to this third wave of this COVID pandemic, it hit young people hard. Many died within three days of showing symptoms.

One diagnosis from the Spanish flu pandemic was “encephalitis lethargica.” It was characterized by excessive sleepiness, abnormal eye movements, fever, and movement disorders, although virtually no neurological sign or symptom could be found. The chronic phase was characterized by Parkinson-like signs that could last months, even a year, after the pandemic ended.

“Grief” is one of those words for which the meaning can be expanded to describe the way we now feel. One dictionary meaning is: “deep sorrow, especially that caused by someone’s death.” But more recently, the definition of grief has been expanded to mean “mourning the loss of normalcy.” Psychologist Adam Grant says that the expanded meaning of grief gives a sense of familiarity:

“[The expanded meaning of grief] gave us a familiar vocabulary to understand what had felt like an unfamiliar experience. Although we hadn’t faced a pandemic before, most of us had faced loss. It helped us crystallize lessons from our own past resilience — and gain confidence in our ability to face present adversity (New York Times, May 4).”

Languishing is another useful word. Dictionary meanings include: to be or become feeble, weak, as in Plants languish in the drought. Adam Grant expands the definition:

“It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.

Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.”

Languishing is the “blah” feeling we have during the pandemic.

I originally read Adam Grant’s column in the New York Times after my cousin sent me a link. She added: “I think these days I’m languishing. Seems I’m putting in time until we can travel and see people again. Melancholy isn’t the right word.”

Part of the danger is that when you’re languishing, you might not notice the dulling of delight or the dwindling of your drive. You don’t catch yourself slipping slowly into solitude; you’re indifferent to your indifference. When you can’t see your own suffering, you don’t seek help or even do much to help yourself.

If this pandemic is like the last, we will experience depression and anxiety disorders for years, even if we aren’t suffering from symptoms today.

B.C. needs a Consent and Capacity Board to prevent seniors’ loss of liberty

Unlike Ontario, B.C. doesn’t have a Consent and Capacity Board. That means seniors, or in fact anyone, can be deemed unfit and their lives handed over to the state.

And while there are good reasons why some persons should be deemed unfit in the management of their affairs, there is little recourse once it’s done.

Once a person is declared unfit, a “certificate of incapability” is issued and their assets seized.

The prospect that I could lose my autonomy, and be institutionalized with little recourse, is not what I imagine my “golden years” to be like.

But that’s what happened to Muriel Shaw, in her eighties, of Coquitlam, B.C. It began when her son Jarvis was concerned for her health and took her to the hospital. Jarvis thought his mom didn’t seem herself: she was anxious and confused—“just acting strange (Walrus, March, 2020).”

Hospital staff decided to give her a “capacity assessment”: a common evaluation administered to people who seem disoriented. The assessment consists of questions like, “What is today’s date?” and “What problems are you having right now?”

Muriel failed the assessment. She was deemed to be incapable of making her own decisions and a certificate of incapability was issued.  From that moment on, Muriel Shaw’s autonomy was taken away for good.

A capacity assessment is an imprecise instrument considering the consequences -robbing someone of their liberty. You can take my temperature to see if I have a fever but no capacity assessment can accurately measure my ability to manage my own affairs.

And even if my ability could be accurately measured, it would be essentially a medical evaluation. A medical evaluation should not have legal consequences in the seizure of my property and assets.

A condition of anxiety and confusion can be temporary. Muriel, living alone and survivor of breast cancer, could have had some treatable medical condition.

Things just continued to get worse for Muriel. She wanted to go back home but wasn’t allowed. Her care workers looked to family to see if they could take her. When no suitable place was found within her family, she was placed in a long-term care facility.

When her family couldn’t agree on the management of her finances, the B.C. Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT) took over.

The PGT took control of Muriel’s finances and charged her four per cent of her income for doing so. If the PGT decides to sell one’s home, they will collect four percent of the sale price, as well. She was angry at the loss of autonomy.

B.C. needs a Consent and Capacity Board like Ontario’s. If we had one, Muriel could have taken her objections to the board and they would have convened within seven days, and met at a place convenient for her.

Bob’s case is an example of what Ontario’s board can do. “Bob” was assessed by someone who had little knowledge of his medical, financial, or personal history. The assessor met Bob in a Tim Hortons and noted that he was “vague” in his responses to questions. Bob was asked to count coins she gave him under the table. When he failed to accurately to do, the assessor unilaterally decided that Bob was incapable of handling his finances.

The board found that the assessor, while well-intentioned, made “made a number of assumptions that were proven erroneous.” Bob regained control over his bank account and his life.

Seniors in B.C. need a Consent and Capacity Board that could prevent incorrect assessments and capable seniors being made wards of the state.

Who would benefit from a universal child care program?

As announced in the April 19 federal budget the Liberals will try, once again, to implement universal child care across Canada.

image: HuffPost Canada

They have been promising it for decades but never delivered. In 2005, Prime Minister Paul Martin’s minority government pledged to start a program worth $5 billion over five years. Never happened.

This time, Ottawa is pledging $27.2-billion over five years. The catch is that the provinces, having jurisdiction over child care, must cooperate.  If they do, that would make them partners in a 50/50 sharing arrangement.

The difference between then and now is COVID-19. The Liberals, determined not to waste a pandemic, are back into big government and on a spending spree.

A strong federal government contrasts both Liberal and Conservative governments of the last three decades when balanced budgets in vogue. In his budget speech in 1995, then Finance Minister Paul Martin said:

“We are acting on a new vision of the role of government in the economy. In many cases that means smaller government. In all cases it means smarter government.”

The new Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, isn’t much worried about the size of government. In her budget speech, she said the COV ID-19 pandemic has “brutally exposed” something women have known for a long time: “Without child care, parents – usually mothers – can’t work.”

A universal child care program across Canada would be modeled on Quebec’s. The goal would be to bring child care down to about $10 a day.

It worked in Quebec. Before the child care program was put in place, Quebecois women’s participation in the workplace was below that of the rest of Canada. Now it’s above the rest.

So, who would benefit from a universal child care program? Not younger women aged 15 to 24. Relatively few women in that age group are mothers. Their participation in the workforce has been hit by woes of the retail sector. Child care wouldn’t be a big factor in getting them back to work.

Participation in the workforce for older women in the 25 to 54 age group wouldn’t be affected. Participation rates for them have recovered, and are even slightly higher than before the pandemic hit.

Those most affected are parents, mainly mothers, who when the pandemic hit were forced to work from home at reduced hours and to care for children not in daycare or in school.

Statistics don’t capture the stress of parents still working but juggling the care of children who are at home and learning online.

As Quebec’s experience has demonstrated, a universal child care program can pay for itself over time in two ways. It would put people to work, not only in the child care sector but by allowing previously unemployed parents to enter the workforce. Those workers will now be paying taxes that contribute to the cost.

Also, Canada can pull out of the massive debt just as we did after World War II by “growing out of debt.” As the economy grows, the debt burden relative to the GDP shrinks.

Bold government initiatives define what it means to be Canadian. When we describe the differences between ourselves and Americans, Canadians proudly point to our universal health care.

Universal child care could also be a defining feature of what it means to be Canadian –compassionate and concerned about the good of others.

A stronger federal government makes a post-pandemic Canada stronger

Two developments have strengthened Canada by making the federal government stronger.

The first was a Supreme Court ruling that determined the fed’s carbon pricing to be constitutional.

image: OECD Development Matters

Opponents of carbon pricing like to call it a “carbon tax” but, of course, it isn’t. A tax is a levy for public services rendered. As in B.C.’s case, carbon pricing simply means that burning fossil fuels costs more and that it’s is revenue neutral: total revenues collected remain the same. To emphasize this point, P.M. Trudeau said that if provinces couldn’t come up with a carbon pricing scheme, he would collect it anyway and return it directly back into the pockets of citizens of the affected province.

Because of the Supreme Court ruling, Canada is stronger much to the chagrin of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario who claimed that the feds were encroaching on their provincial rights.

A friend of mine in Alberta is very upset. He told me that Alberta should separate because the feds could now “do whatever they liked” to the provinces.

Well, not quite. The Supreme Court ruling was exceptional. The ruling was based on Canada’s obligations under 2015 Paris Agreement and the real threat of climate change.

 “Climate change is real,” Chief Justice Wagner wrote in his reason for the majority decision. “It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities, and it poses a grave threat to humanity’s future. The only way to address the threat of climate change is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The feds can’t do whatever they like. Under our federation, provinces have considerable powers that cannot be arbitrarily overturned.

Canada is also stronger because of the leadership role of the federal government in saving the economy from certain collapse because of the pandemic.

In 2008, the feds bailed out the financial sector. In 2020, they bailed out the entire economy. Had leaders followed supply-side economists, the pandemic would have unravelled the economy worse than the 1930s Great Depression.

Canada’s federal government provided extraordinary leadership during the pandemic.

David Macdonald, Senior Economist for the Canadian Centre for Alternatives says:

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has required government leadership on a scale that’s unprecedented in modern Canadian times. Including liquidity and unallocated funds, federal and provincial governments have announced almost $600 billion in spending commitments across 849 measures to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.”

Of that $600 billion, only eight per cent is coming from the provinces on average. However, some provinces demonstrated greater leadership than others.

In his report for the CCPA, Macdonald found that B.C.’s contribution was the highest of the provinces -at 16 per cent of the total provincial allocation. The B.C. government stands out as providing the highest per capita individual supports, eight times higher than the next highest province, Quebec.

Albertans, on the other hand, are receiving the highest level of per capita COVID19 spending, worth $11,200 a person—93% of which is on the federal tab. Alberta receives $1,200 more support, per person, from the federal government than any other province.

It seems to me that Alberta is doing very well as a member of the Canadian federation and Alberta Premier Kenney would do well to shut up and cooperate on mitigating climate change.