In August 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Canada to hold a series of meetings with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
As reported by several media sources at the time, Scholz expressed hope Canada, a fellow G-7 member and a NATO ally of Germany, would serve as a supplier of liquefied natural gas. That would replace the natural gas currently imported to Germany from Russia.
As Russia uses the revenue from the sale and export of its natural gas to countries like Germany to finance its illegal war against Ukraine, addressing this issue has become an essential priority for Germany.
Despite that, as was widely reported at the time, Trudeau did not endorse Germany's efforts and stated that, in his view, "there has never been a strong business case" for exporting natural gas from Canada to Europe.
In November, after being rebuffed by Canada, Germany announced a 15-year deal to purchase two million tonnes of liquid natural gas from Qatar.
Apart from the potential loss of jobs and revenue for Canada, there are concerns about Qatar's record on human rights. That includes issues such as basic protections for workers, women's rights, and the criminalization of same-sex consensual acts. Additionally, Qatar lacks environmental protections comparable to Canadian or German standards.
I mention this because last month, a resource company based in British Columbia announced it had signed a supply deal. The deal will ultimately result in the export of British Columbia-produced natural gas to Europe through the United States. Contrary to Trudeau's statement, the company has demonstrated a business case for exporting natural gas to Europe.
Why does this matter? Recent data from Statistics Canada shows the Canadian economy contracted by 1.06% in the third quarter. In contrast, the United States economy grew by 5.2% in the same period (real domestic product GDP). The International Monetary Fund predicts the trend of the Canadian economy underperforming relative to the United States economy will continue.
There is also another alarming statistic from the IMF. Canada's household debt, including loans and debt securities, now stands at 102% of the GDP, making it the highest among the G-7 countries.
Furthermore, the level of overall household debt—loans, and debt securities—is now higher than in countries such as Greece (45%), Italy (42%) and Germany (55%).
Given the high levels of Canadian household debt, it provides some context for why many families face significant financial struggles amidst record-high inflation and Bank of Canada interest rate increases.
This also implies the ability of many Canadians to afford higher income taxes or carbon taxes is greatly restricted.
Despite these factors, the government persists in implementing policies that hinder Canada's economic opportunities and growth (compared to the United States) and imposes higher taxation, which is burdensome for many during this time.
My question this week is:
Is Canada heading in the right direction under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau? Why or why not?
I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.
Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.