Dale Swampy: Liberals’ emissions cap is short-term thinking that will hurt economy for generations
Climate change. Inflation. Indigenous reconciliation. These are undoubtedly complex policy problems. Complex for policy wonks and outright mystical for everyone else, because addressing them causes an avalanche of unintended consequences across Canada’s entire economy.
One might ask how we are supposed to solve climate change when addressing it drives up the prices of consumer goods. Or how we are supposed to support Indigenous reconciliation if our government is unable to implement effective and sustainable climate change policy.
Many Indigenous people like myself follow the philosophy of seven generational thinking. Its main idea is that a decision you make today needs to benefit people seven generations from now. In a democracy like ours, that is much further into the future than the next election in three years or less. If we apply this idea to our most significant challenges — climate change, inflation and Indigenous reconciliation — we can look beyond popular narratives and focus on the real problems. We can talk about climate change without villainizing an entire industry. We can see that further stifling the energy industry with new emissions caps will drive up the price of consumer goods, fuelling inflation, increasing unemployment, creating unmanageable heating and electricity costs, all of which combined would result in an overall cross-societal lowering of our standard of living. Many Indigenous people would particularly suffer from Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault’s proposed emissions-cap approach, harming our quest for economic independence, self-determination and sustainable community infrastructure — the three pillars that define Indigenous economic reconciliation.