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“Let them eat…. Heat Pumps?”

Upon being told that the peasants were protesting because they had no bread, a pre-revolution 18th century French princess is purported to have said, “Let them eat cake!” According to a related Wikipedia post, “the quote is taken to reflect either the princess’ frivolous disregard for the starving peasants or her poor understanding of their plight.” A message from an MST Member!

I recently joined Manitoba Stronger Together (MST), a grassroots movement promoting transparency, unity and civic engagement. In this vein, an MST communication was distributed with a link to an Engage Manitoba (EngageMB) survey on the government’s upcoming budget and an encouragement to participate.

As I proceeded to do so, what came into clear focus for me is a government with EITHER a frivolous disregard for OR a poor understanding of the plight of most Manitobans.

Full disclosure, as a new Manitoban I was disallowed from casting a vote in the last election. But it’s been my experience that the Robin Hood-styled electoral promises of the NDP’s ‘take from the rich and give to the poor’ façade typically degenerate into interventionist forces to pick winners friendly to the government of the day.

These only serve to distort the marketplace and result in ballooning deficits with little actual trickle down to the most needy… which has never been either attractive or logical to me. From this vantage point, I was shocked to see the government’s survey highlight a proposed initiative in the category Meeting the climate challenge creating “supports to help more Manitoba families make the switch to electric vehicles and home heat pumps.” It’s worth considering what percentage of Manitobans, whether or not NDP voters, are:

  • In a position to currently afford the expenses associated with vehicle ownership and ongoing use;

  • of this number, the subset of those in a financial position to abandon their current vehicle in order to make the switch to an expensive electric one, and additional expenses for home charging infrastructure; and/or

  • able to actually qualify for home ownership;

  • of this number, sufficiently affluent as to discard a perfectly good heating system and replace it with a home heat pump.

My ‘spidey senses’ tingle in the face of such an obvious disconnect with the conditions currently faced by many Manitobans buckling under ever increasing costs for the most basic necessities of food and shelter. Does this government even understand their plight? If so, do they care? Or is it prima facie evidence of a frivolous disregard for such circumstances?

And it’s worth asking: who stands to benefit from these investments? They represent choices only available to an elite class of citizens -- those ALREADY able to afford ‘cake’ made with eggs and butter, and not merely ‘bread!’ Do they need or deserve our government’s planned allocation of tax dollars to supplement such rarified choices? Enriched, of course, will be owners or shareholders of companies who build and sell/install electric vehicles and home heat pumps.

Here’s a hint worth paying attention to: another proposed initiative in the same category is “working with Indigenous communities to conserve 30% of Manitoba’s lands and waters by 2030.”

Is this a lazy I-decided-to-copy-my-homework-from-the-United-Nations-playbook approach to governance?

Did Manitobans get a vote on whether we want our own government’s policies to parrot the unelected, unaccountable UN’s plans for OUR LANDS?

Anyone who thinks that the UN wants 30% of every country’s land mass in order to propagate an abundance of birds, bunnies and butterflies had better think again, and preferably sooner rather than later.

It’s fair to argue that these are not government initiatives, but merely suggestions upon which citizens will have their say. But the fact they’re here in the first place is sufficiently alarming and instructive. In the marketplace of ideas, those in government must think these are winners, or they wouldn’t be here. Quoting again from the EngageMB survey:

“Thinking about your priorities when it comes to affordability, please rank each of these options in order of importance:

  • lowering hydro bills

  • extending the 14c/litre gas tax holiday

  • making prescription birth control free

  • helping families to afford electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to save money on gas bills

  • helping families make their homes more efficient with geothermal heat pumps”

Is that it? Is that all of the options our government has in their toolbox of ideas to fix the affordability crisis facing Manitobans? There’s an awful LOT to unpack here…

It’s more than past time for ordinary citizens to wake up and realize the wisdom embedded in the old axiom: All that’s necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.

Becoming informed and engaged via non-partisan organizations such as MST is a great place to start.

A concerned Manitoban, and Member of MST


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