This week Environment and Climate Change Minister (and my MP) Catherine McKenna made an announcement, a funding announcement. Joining her were area MP Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West Nepean) and Mona Fortier (Ottawa Vanier). The funding provided would allow a grocery store to replace refrigeration and lighting in the store. What a great idea, there are several local grocery and food operations that are struggling due to the high cost of food transportation and new carbon taxes.
What a coup for that local store to get that funding and an announcement with the Minister!
The store was a Loblaws store and the amount was $12M from the Low Carbon Economy Fund and that money would equal the emissions of 50,000 cars coming off the roads. This is good funding money, but really, Loblaws? Loblaws not only had huge profits, but in 2017 also was found guilty of a 14-year long bread price fixing scheme. Loblaws Companies Limited had a net profit of $3.4B in 2018. Minister McKenna could not find a local operation that has maybe 2 or 3 locations? A small chain of specialty health food stores? Kardish Foods, for one, comes to mind they are Ottawa local and a good local success story
I think however the number the Minister really wants everyone to focus on is 50,000 – as in the emissions reduction of taking 50K cars off the road. BUT I argue that we should be looking at numbers like $3.4B in profit and $12M.
On the face of it, this announcement slaps small local stores that struggle with the high cost of hydro to keep lights, freezers and fridges running. The Liberals could have done themselves a huge favour (and everyone knows they could use it) by making the announcement at a small butcher shop, a local restaurant, a health food store or any other example of a company that doesn’t make a profit of $3.4B. Bog box chain stores like Loblaws don’t need funding announcements that represent a mere 0.35% of annual profits.
Gifting $12M to Loblaws tells me that Ottawa Centre MP Catherine McKenna has allowed the arrogance of Justin Trudeau and his Liberals to overtake any sense of normalcy she might have had. This announcement shows just how out of touch Trudeau and his team have become. It comes at a cost to Loblaws who have taken a social media hit and it will, if social media posts are to be believed, as many plan to never set foot in a Loblaws store again.
Liberals are saying that the LCEF is an application baesd program, but shouldn’t there be a financial aspect to this? Should government funding to help those who can afford the type of retrofitting that Loblaws is going to get? Any funding awarded from this program should benefit those who really wouldbenefit from it. In Ottawa Centre, the riding of Minister McKenna, is home to many small businesses; butcher shops, fish markets, fruit and vegtable stores, business that rely on refridgerators to stay in business. I am sure that Minister McKenna shops in these stores that are close to her home in Ottawa.
While there’s huge role for the large comglomerates, climate action only works if the small businesses see that they get a buy in and are part of a solution. In Question Period both the Conservatives and the NDP peppered the Liberals with questions why they were only helping companies that could afford the retrofits without money from the LCEF.
In what has become the Liberals achilles heel, where once they were seen as looking out for every Canadian, now they seem to be looking out for Canadians, but others get helped first. Its actions like what took place this week that make Justin Trudeau and the Liberals as looking out for the 1% and those looking to stay in the 1%.
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