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Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government is once again knee deep in a wave of controversy.
This time, it’s not for turning his back on the “woke feminist” character he consistently portrays, nor is it for relieving cabinet members from their duties.
Instead, the Trudeau government seems to be unable to stop giving large corporations massive benefits. As the country’s executive head, it’s particularly troubling that he is unable to separate his government from the financial elite.
In early April, the Liberals decided to gift Loblaws Companies Limited $12 million to purchase new refrigeration systems that produce lower emissions. The plan is to have the systems installed in 370 stores.
According to the company, “the new refrigeration systems will reduce its overall carbon footprint by 23 percent.”
On a superficial level, this transaction looks like nothing more than simply helping a Canadian business adapt to fighting climate change. Let’s not forget that a cornerstone of Trudeau’s policies has been to better equip the country to combat the risks posed by destroying the environment.
Moreover, allow me to be very clear; climate change is an existential threat we all face. It would be imprudent to ignore the effects harming our earth can cause.
However, the timing and overall action taken seems to have nothing to do with fighting climate change and is nothing more than a strategy to secure the support of environmentalists, while providing a steep benefit to fortune 500 businesses.
This is nothing new from the Trudeau government.
When Catherine McKenna decided to shower Loblaws with government money, it caused an uproar throughout the country.
The federal government originally designated a fund to help “businesses, not for profit groups, and lower tier governments cut their emission levels.”
But the decision to help the food retailer was completely unforeseen.
Another point that must be addressed is that there is nothing inherently wrong with the fund Trudeau created. Unconstrained by partisanship, or ideological orthodoxy, I am quite pleased that our government is actively seeking to help companies reduce their carbon emissions. If Andrew Scheer wins this year’s federal election (as he is poised to do), he ought to do the same.
While the federal fund is praiseworthy, overseeing the proper distribution of its resources can leave room for serious debate. This is just the case with the Loblaws affair.
Loblaws Companies Ltd is no small player in Canada’s private sector, and is doing just fine, making Trudeau’s decision to subsidize $12 million bizarre.
Per the Globe and Mail, the company has been ranked amongst the country’s top employers.
In 2018, it reported growth in digital sales of over $500,000,000 according to the Toronto Star. That same year, Loblaws had a total revenue of $11.2 billion, a strong increase from the previous year ($10.99 billion). It also sits as Canada’s highest-earning retailer in 2018, followed by the Hudson’s Bay Company.
Naturally, the question arises; if the company is doing so well, why is the Canadian government handing over a lump of cash worth $12 million?
Loblaws can easily pay for their very own fridges. Our government should not waste federal funds on a corporation that is adequately suited to address its own needs.
44% Canadians depend on their weekly paycheque, and many more are saddled with debt. Yet the Liberals continuously demonstrate that they’d rather help business elites.
Repeat un-needed corporate aid
The Loblaws announcement was the second to look like direct corporate welfare in just 2 months. Back in February, the Prime Minister was grilled for providing a $40 million to Blackberry, for a program the company said it didn’t need aid for.
Rather than providing for Loblaws or Blackberry, attention should be directed towards small businesses.
In 2015, there were 1.14 million small businesses in Canada, constituting 70.5% of the private sector employment, roughly 8.2 million workers. These businesses are operated by entrepreneurs who faced many risks, have high levels of ingenuity, and are financially sound. Although government interference in the market is something I personally object to, small businesses should rank higher on Trudeau’s priority list of which entity is entitled to the subsidies.
With the new carbon tax into effect, over 500,000 small businesses will once again be on the receiving end of our government’s lackluster policies, and there still exists no plan for their compensation.
Trudeau’s government has come under attack by the Conservatives, NDP, and the PPC over their decision to help Loblaws.
Jagmeet Singh, leader of the NDP suggested that the government should take back the $12 million.
Tories Andrew Scheer, Kelly McCauley, and Michelle Rempel also went on the offensive, with the CPC leader outright calling it “disgraceful” in a Tweet.
As it stands, the Liberals have everything to lose, as they’re currently falling behind in the polls, and a Conservative government looks increasingly likely.
It’s very possible that Trudeau is trying to buy votes, although as someone who wants to do politics differently, this is an old, unethical, trick.
Different group, same story
Not only is the timing all wrong, but it’s verification that Trudeau is doing everything in his power to look after his allies in the private sector.
The SNC-Lavalin scandal led Parliament into uncertainty and vicious divide. It was recently discovered by the CBC, that executives in the Quebec engineering firm made donations to the Liberal Party, in order to influence the Canadian election.
Subsidizing Loblaws is a slap-in-the-face to all small business owners and entrenches Justin Trudeau as another corporatist politician.
The “sunny ways” slogan is just a facade to hide the nebulous workings of a scandal- ridden government.
This “crony-capitalism” is just another day under the Liberals.