A generation of right-wing politicians ruins Preston Manning’s dream of ‘green capitalism’

Preston Manning in 2013 (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).
Photo: David J. Climenhaga

Let’s start with a pop quiz. Who said this?

“One of the biggest issues will be the question of how much of current revenue from non-renewable resources should be saved and how those savings should be invested … so that, if the day ever comes that oil and gas isn’t as significant as it is now, there’s something to replace it.”

If you thought Rachel Notley, you would be wrong.

The answer is Preston Manning, once upon a time the godfather of the Canadian right. He was speaking back in 2006 in an interview with Canadian Business Magazine.

Later in the same interview, he noted “there is a growing concern about environmental conservation and I think the question is not whether you make a major effort to improve environmental quality and environmental conservation but how is it to be done? Do you rely increasingly on government regulation and intervention or do you rely more on the marketplace?”

In other words, something like the carbon tax Jason Kenney has promised to eliminate in Alberta if he is elected in two weeks and that Andrew Scheer vows to destroy if he becomes prime minister next fall, or the cap-and-trade system in Ontario that Premier Doug Ford has already torn up and tossed away.

Manning has spoken about this a lot over the past 20 years, although for some reason he is awfully quiet lately. He may or may not have seen that the environmental impact of unchecked capitalism threatened the survival of the planet, but he certainly figured out that a deteriorating planetary environment presents an existential threat to capitalism.

He may also have worried that a cynical new generation of Canadian right-wing politicians would not be able to resist picking the low-hanging fruit offered by new taxes and higher prices, which are always unpopular at first but are key parts of the market-oriented solutions Manning had in mind. MORE

%d bloggers like this: