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11 May, 2020 18:34

Trudeau makes Covid-19 aid intended to ‘save Canadian jobs’ conditional on meeting climate change goals

Trudeau makes Covid-19 aid intended to ‘save Canadian jobs’ conditional on meeting climate change goals

Adding insult to the injury of Covid-19 closures, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that businesses seeking emergency payroll funding will have to demonstrate their compliance with ‘climate change’ guidelines.

Citing the need to protect “Canadian middle-class jobs and safeguard our economy,” Trudeau on Monday rolled out the expansion of the Large Employer Emergency Financing Facility (LEEFF), intended to provide bridge liquidity to companies unable to meet their payroll due to the shutdown. 

There is, of course, a catch. Among the standard safeguards listed in the government announcement – limits on stock buybacks, verification of a company’s tax status, protections for unions and pensions, among other things – there was this as well:

“In addition, recipient companies would be required to commit to publish annual climate-related disclosure reports… including how their future operations will support environmental sustainability and national climate goals.”

Asked whether the aid would be given to oil and gas companies, Trudeau said the government expects them to “put forward a frame within which they will demonstrate their commitments to reducing emissions and fighting climate change,” and that many have already made commitments to net-zero emissions by 2050.

The climate requirement is the only one on the list that has nothing to do with preventing the funding from going to companies that don’t need it, or being abused. The ideological requirement seems particularly onerous given that bridge liquidity is needed in the first place because of government-mandated closures to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Trudeau’s conditioning of LEEFF funding on climate change compliance closely resembles the measures proposed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats in late March, when they scuttled the Senate-approved coronavirus aid bill in favor of their own. US Congressman James Clyburn (D-South Carolina) called the pandemic “a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision” at the time. 

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With a Republican in the White House and the GOP majority in the Senate, they could only do so much, however, and mainly managed to delay the aid by several weeks. Trudeau has no such constraint, and he apparently took Clyburn’s words to heart.

In addition to pushing climate change measures, Trudeau invoked the Democrats’ rhetoric to impose a sweeping ban on “assault-style firearms designed for military use” via the Canadian equivalent of executive orders earlier this month. The list of prohibited weapons is so extensive that it includes an airsoft pellet gun and even a blend of coffee made by the US-based Black Rifle Coffee Company.

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