The Policy Corner: Why policy matters

Government action is more important than ever, but why is that?

Image supplied by: Noah Lee
Liberals search for votes in Atlantic Canada.

When tensions are running high and both our domestic and international circumstances are reaching a boiling point, the focus of policy decisions become blurred.

The phrase “unprecedented polarization” has become everyday jargon. Whether or not Canadians are more polarized than before is up for debate, but it seems that politics is now dictating policy stances rather than merit and facts. Take carbon perceptions and reduction policies, for example. You’ll find evidence that support for carbon reduction measures is tied to political ideology, rather than beliefs about climate change.

With a growing emphasis on party loyalty instead of critical thinking, there’s been increased villainization, name-calling, and flat-out incivility in government discourse.

In past conversations, I’ve been critical of progressive political candidates only to have subsequently been called sexist, racist, and a bigot. I have also seen multiple arguments stating that those who support domestic natural gas production are climate change deniers by extension.

The Supreme Court of Canada recently deemed the federal Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, unconstitutional. Bill C-69 assesses the environmental impacts of project developments and outlines project-related activities that would require a federal review.

The court ruled the act failed to draw distinctions between activities that fall under federal and provincial jurisdiction, a theme that’s critically important in constitutional law called federalism.

Critics of Bill C-69 labelled it the “No More Pipelines Act,” and business groups lamented  the bill created investment uncertainty and increased barriers to project development.

The Supreme Court ruling comes as both Alberta and the Canadian Federal Government spar over the feasibility of a net zero energy timeline by 2035, something Alberta Premier Danielle Smith has repeatedly stated isn’t possible and would put Albertans at severe risk of power outages during seasons of extreme temperatures.

It’s incredibly important we remember the common fabric that ties us all together as Canadians.

When I was running the Toronto Waterfront Marathon this past weekend, I was nearly brought to tears after seeing strangers come together to cheer and celebrate. Regardless of race, gender, culture, or religion, people came together to support a common cause in a celebration of hard work and collective personal achievement.

As young Canadians, we should consider this spirit as we embark on a critical journey together in charting our nation’s trajectory with the policies we enact as a collective democracy. We must strive towards critical thinking when determining how we will tackle maintaining a competitive business environment, managing housing supply concerns, and ensuring the integrity of emerging science and technology spaces.

Policy matters because it ought to provide maximal help to people. What this maximal help might look like may be subject to differing views and perspectives—but that difference of thought is what makes democracy so crucial to protect.


Column, Energy, Environment, federal government, Policy

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