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Dan McTeague: ‘Green extremism’ is hurting farmers in the Netherlands – will Canada be next?

Truckers and Farmers protest in the Netherlands. Photo: Ryan Gerritson/Twitter

by Dan McTeague, president of Canadians for Affordable Energy

Operating a farm is hard work. On a typical small farm, you get no vacations or days off. So when tens of thousands of farmers stage massive protests, there must be a serious problem. The recent protests in the Netherlands are a sign that the green agenda will be a disaster for ordinary people.

Dan McTeague, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy

The Dutch farmers have been told by their government that a “just transition” to Net Zero means driving them out of business. Farmers use fertilizer, which emits nitrogen. The government says those emissions will have to be reduced by up to 70 percent in just eight years – a demand so radical that most family farms will have to shut down. 

While the Dutch government is forcing an emission-reduction mandate on Dutch farmers, there is no “transition” plan to help farmers make this sudden change, or to help them earn a living some other way. 

The government simply announced its impossible regulations. How farmers are supposed to make a profit, or even survive, is their problem. 

The Minister for Nitrogen and Nature Policy (yes, that’s her title) notes that “there is not a future for all farmers within this approach”. 

This green tyranny against Dutch farmers will directly lead to dire food shortages globally, with the Netherlands being the second largest agricultural exporter in the world. But people in power – not just in the Netherlands, but in many, many other countries – want to shut down these enormously productive and world-benefitting family farms at any cost. Why? All for the preposterous purpose of reducing the country’s contribution to global emissions.

In a democracy, you’d think the government would at least recognize a need for dialogue – maybe even compromise. Do people want to trade jobs and food for lower nitrogen emissions? Isn’t it unjust to bankrupt people whose families have been farming for centuries without even giving their concerns a fair hearing? 

Not in the Netherlands, apparently. Police have used tear gas and even live ammunition against the farmers’ blockades – barely missing a 16-year-old boy in one case.

What about Canada? Don’t expect our own “just transition” to “Net Zero” to be much different. Net Zero is not Dutch or Canadian. (It’s not American or British either.) It’s a top-down authoritarian, and global scheme invented by a global managerial class. 

Whatever their nationality, the politicians recite the same slogans and pseudo-scientific talking points. They don’t care whether the agenda makes sense for the people they’re elected to represent. Instead, woke, green ideologue politicians are more interested in serving their woke, green transnational agenda.

For his part, Trudeau is also pursuing a radical target of absolute emissions reduction in agriculture: 30% lower than 2020 levels by 2030. In response to Trudeau’s demands, Fertilizer Canada, an association representing manufacturers and distributors, is arguing instead for a reduction in emissions intensity: reducing quantities of greenhouse gases emitted per bushel produced. This wouldn’t limit food production.

By contrast, Trudeau’s green absolutist approach implies that agricultural productivity must fall far below 2020 levels – costing our canola and wheat farmers about 800 million dollars every year. Obviously, this would be devastating for our farmers and our whole economy. 

Like Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Trudeau couldn’t care less about the farmers in his country. If Canadian farmers complain too loudly, they would not be out of line to expect tear gas – maybe even bullets – rather than dialogue. In other words, Canada’s “people-centered” just transition that “leaves no one behind” will probably look a lot like what’s happening right now in the Netherlands. 

Right now, it’s a bleak and scary situation. The green ideologues in power – so long as they are in power – are willing to use the full power of the state to force the people into compliance. 

But it’s far from over. And the people are speaking up (although politicians and media don’t like to note the fact).

It’s too soon to say how things may turn out in the Netherlands, but the real implications of Net Zero are becoming clear to more and more people around the world. The next little while is bound to be turbulent, but the politicians have a real fight on their hands.

Dan McTeague, President of Canadians for Affordable Energy

An 18 year veteran of the House of Commons, Dan is widely known in both official languages for his tireless work on energy pricing and saving Canadians money through accurate price forecasts. His Parliamentary initiatives, aimed at helping Canadians cope with affordable energy costs, led to providing Canadians heating fuel rebates on at least two occasions.

Widely sought for his extensive work and knowledge in energy pricing, Dan continues to provide valuable insights to North American media and policy makers. He brings three decades of experience and proven efforts on behalf of consumers in both the private and public spheres. Dan is committed to improving energy affordability for Canadians and promoting the benefits we all share in having a strong and robust energy sector.