Reading the claims of our Conservative government always reminds me of something my father used to say: “Figures don’t lie, but liars often figure.”
This was brought home to me yet again reading Colin Mayes’ latest defence of Harper economics: that the government is deserving of re-election because it had managed to grow the economy while cutting carbon emissions, and would continue to do so.
While I don’t doubt the latter (given half a chance, they will continue to outsource our jobs to Asian sweatshops) I don’t agree with the math and, more importantly, don’t believe we can keep on doing it. It’s not just our forests that are burning.
The only reason our emissions have dropped is that we no longer count them. The resources go elsewhere by ‘rip and ship’ and their use is not counted as our carbon. What we buy elsewhere takes carbon, but we don’t count that either, even though it wouldn’t be made or shipped if we weren’t here to consume. Our GDP continues to grow because we count as GDP anything we buy. A computer or cellphone made in China but sold here counts as a greater contribution to our GDP than it does to that of China. The government prints the money, we borrow it, we pretend to pay, and others pretend to be paid.
It is unsustainable because the others are now demanding, as part of the various trade deals Harper is negotiating, to be paid: we must give up any right to control anything we have left. We have maxed out our credit cards. Our mess of pottage is almost gone. Then what? ‘Custom like ours they can find anywhere.’