Justin Trudeau keeps warning about how a vote for Erin O'Toole's Conservative Party would be a deadly return to Stephen Harper's climate policy.
During the recent leaders' debates, Harper was a constant elephant in the room, though Harper hasn't been at the helm of the Conservative Party since 2015 and isn't a candidate in this election despite Trudeau's constant campaigning against him and his policies.
“We inherited a government from a Conservative that did not believe in the fight against climate change and we had a lot of catching up to do, but what we were able to do in six years was to bring a national price on pollution, ban single-use plastics, move forward in protecting more of our coasts, oceans and rivers than any government in history, ” said Trudeau.
But instead of taking Trudeau's protestations about “catching up” at face value, I looked at the Environment Canada greenhouse emissions data from 2015, and 2019. I selected those years because they are markers for when Harper took office, when Harper left office and after a few years of Trudeau at the wheel.
I examined the same data available to Trudeau to see if a return to the Harper-era GHG levels would be such a terrible thing — if you care about that sort of thing, and I definitely don't, but the Liberals keep telling me that they do.
Greenhouse gas emissions were higher when Harper first took office than when he left (and without a carbon tax).
But that's not all: GHGs were higher when Trudeau was driving the country into destitution in 2019 than when Harper last sat in the PMO in 2015.
In 2005, the year Harper finally wrested control of the country from the Liberals, annual GHGs were 738 kilotonnes.
In 2015, the year we said goodbye as a nation to a decade of good governance, annual GHGs were 722 kilotonnes.
By 2019, after 4 years of fancy socks and constant embarrassment, Canada's annual GHGs were back up to 730 kilotonnes.
So maybe a return to Harper's climate policy isn't such a bad idea after all.