Dear Editor:

A simple solution to our climate crisis is for government-fund a sustainable initiative, subsidizing Canadian-made clean technology.

It can assist production and manufacturing as well as training, plus its installation and maintenance on new and retrofitted construction.

No problem, one would hope.

Such simplicity is hog-tied by our free trade agreements. NAFTA opens the pipeline for all resources to flow out of our country. To reduce this export, countries may sue us under Chapter 11 for denying these companies “the opportunity to make money.”

Our domestic companies have no such right. The correlation with our country’s dying manufacturing sector should be obvious. Yet, a more sinister clause pits the global economy against our manufacturers.

Homegrown manufacturing jobs can create cleaner products with less harmful by-products, as things currently are made where developing or greedy nations lower environmental standards to attract industry.

To subsidize and utilize our sustainable companies allows the World Trade Organization to rule it as a “disguised restriction on international trade.” Somehow, our purchasing of an oil pipeline has no similarity. The lawsuits leave no economic benefit save for the international manufacturers coercing the market. Free trade is a poor example of boosting our economic capacity.

The economic and ecological consequences provide the average citizen no small burden. We have the capacity, knowledge and capital to live sustainably, yet a free trade agreement forbids it. From this angle, ‘free trade’ is Orwellian newspeak.

The oil workers aren’t as intent on saving the oil industry as they are their jobs. This group is the framework for setting up the transition.

Job training and placement in sustainable industries should pay the same, with plenty of room for advancement. There is over $4 billion in wages per year totalling more than 58,000 job years for wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, hydroelectric and biofuel energy .

This is a new era of how to survive in this world. Those in power hold it according to antiquated ways, leading us further toward catastrophe. We can no longer afford to empower such negligence while still paying for our past errors.

How can the trajectory of our actions be made plainer? We must live within our means rather than expand a debt to be paid by future generations. Changing our ways is our only hope, and our lawmakers aren’t willing to take that plunge.

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