In words that have echoed around the world, Canada’s prime minister said in his address to the United Nations in September that “the pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is a chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts.”
Besides his reference to the U.N.’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, many are taking Justin Trudeau’s “reset” comment to be referring to the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset Initiative. Both are heavy on central planning. Both would stymie the economic recovery. Both seek a permanent power shift toward globalism and away from constituent accountability.
Canadians have sensed the opportunistic ruse, which has nothing to do with the COVID-19 virus. Tens of thousands have flocked to a “Stop the Great Reset” petition initiated by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre on Nov. 17.
What matters, though, is not the number of people signing a petition. What matters is the substance of the Great Reset. The 17 “development goals” focus on outcomes, but not so much on how to achieve them. Some are laudable—clean water and sanitation, reduced hunger, quality education, etc.—while others hint at the progressive emphasis: gender equality, clean energy, decent work, climate action.
More details came in August from the Bank of Canada. Deputy Governor Paul Beaudry set out his institution’s plans at the Victory Forum 2020. His presentation, explicitly called “The Great Reset,” affirmed that the pandemic was an opportunity to engineer a “greener, smarter economy.” His focus is on “climate-related issues.”
Since U.N. member nations adopted the 2030 Agenda goals in 2015, we can safely dismiss any pretence that they are a recovery strategy. Far from it.
At this time, Canadians are feeling the consequences of lockdowns; entrepreneurs and service workers are particularly vulnerable. The crisis necessitates two primary responses: opening the economy safely, and containing the unprecedented deficits at all levels of government. The latter requires the former.
The alternative is a severe and permanent reduction in the Canadian standard of living, on account of reduced investment and human-capital formation. Higher taxes will also be inevitable. Alberta, for example, already looks set to introduce a provincial sales tax, as officials there stare down the barrel of a $24.2 billion deficit. Spending at the three levels of government has reached 55 percent of Canada’s GDP, and now the deficit is $380 billion.
The 2030 Agenda National StrategyAlbeit camouflaged by flowery words, Ottawa’s plan is available as “Towards Canada’s 2030 Agenda National Strategy.” It reveals a fundamental, top-down reshaping of Canada and another nail in the coffin for federalism, with power consolidated in Ottawa and the U.N. General Assembly. The 2030 Agenda is a “shared blueprint for partnership, peace, and prosperity for all people and the planet, now and in the future.”
In 2019, federal officials considered citizen feedback garnered between March and May: 2,500 in person and 42,000 online. This consultation, however, had two pitfalls: its total reach was lower than 1 percent of the Canadian population, and it occurred in the pre-pandemic context. To put the number of opinions considered into context, endorsers of Poilivre’s petition easily surpassed that number in two days.
An Excuse to Shift the Economic OrderThe U.N.’s Agenda 2030 appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to reorient the economy toward socialism via environmentalism and globalism. Klaus Shwab, World Economic Forum founder, confirms this in his book released in July: “COVID-19: The Great Reset.”
The pandemic, he explains, has opened the door for the reforms he has sought for decades: “The possibilities for change and the resulting new order are now unlimited and only bound by our imagination.”
Similarly, for Sébastien Goupil and Alison Blay-Palmer, senior officials at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the pandemic “is an unexpected opportunity to use the power of spending to shape a better, greener, more resilient society.”
People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier has a less rosy interpretation of the Great Reset: “Globalism is not a conspiracy theory. It is happening,” he said. Spencer Fernando, a fellow with the National Citizens Coalition, has also alluded to the less savoury implications: “If we end up in a situation where all the big decisions are made outside our country … [nations] and elected leaders become meaningless. ... If that happens, then we can’t call ourselves a democracy.”
Catherine Swift, spokesperson for Working Canadians and former chair of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, argues the 2030 Agenda establishes a system in which the government channels taxpayer subsidies to economic actors that could not exist without public support. She contends the crony recipients become partisan forces and perpetuate big government.
Canada is a prosperous nation, and our public and private sectors have established a preeminent standing on environmental and social policies. They have done so with relative economic competition, the rule of law, and free markets, to the benefit of job and wealth creation.
The pandemic and economic crisis compel thrift, prudence, and legal certainty from Canadian governments—as opposed to preordained, grandiose plans. The implementation of Agenda 2030 could not come at a worse time, and it threatens the heart of Canadian distinctiveness and prosperity.