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REX MURPHY: The freeze and fudge funds are a 'win-win-win' for Liberals

Yarmouth Atlantic Superstore.
Yarmouth Atlantic Superstore, owned by Loblaws. - SaltWire Network File

Refrigeration funds reduce the temperature in the air, while the media measures may reduce the temperature in the air (waves)

Great news.

After only a few weeks, the Department of Climate Change is reporting its grant of $12 million to the Weston family, which owns Loblaws (a.k.a. Loblaws Refrigeration and Meat Lockers), is the “greatest thing since sliced bread” (which by happy coincidence you may get at Loblaws, too).

Rex Murphy
Rex Murphy

It is acknowledged the grant has not, in any way measurable by current technology, or even by the furiously accommodating climate-change models of the IPCC, lowered the temperature of the whole world, or indeed any continent thereof.

Initially, this put a chill on the whole project and was certainly a blow to the middle class and all those hoping to join it.

However, and herein lies the significant finding, people in Toronto merely passing through Aisle 6 (frozen meats, frozen fish and ice cream) in all Loblaws high-end food marts have experienced measurable cooling, which perfectly correlates with the period of time required to journey through the aisle. This is one case where we can say with confidence that correlation chimes with causation.

“It’s quite amazing,” noted one shopper. “You don’t even have to buy anything and you feel cooler for a minute or a minute and a half anyway. What a deal. However, buy a Popsicle and you’ll think you’re in one of those Scandinavian ice hotels.”

Repeated observation confirms that customers in other aisles — Aisle 3 (dishcloths, Ajax cleanser and plastic picnic cups) was chosen as the control aisle — remain more or less at the same temperature as when they entered the store.

Aisle 6 walkers, by contrast, report that they experience a “definite cooling effect,” equivalent in some cases to leaving their heated homes in mid-March for a brisk walk around the block in a north gale. If customers remove their jackets, the effect is even more marked, particularly while stopping to stare at the Norwegian fish fillets (flash frozen for that “fresh-fish” taste), with reports that “for a moment it was like a snowball in the back of the neck.”

Officials at the Climate Change Department cite these testimonies as one more demonstration that the fight against climate change under the Trudeau administration is making a real difference (certainly for Loblaws shoppers), and based on these findings is considering expanding the grants program to other top-class billion-dollar food marts.

“Our strategy here is clear. We subsidize the truly rich first, the one per cent of the one per cent of the one per cent, and work our way down from there,” said a source close to the minister, who did not want to be identified because his income was so pathetically small compared to the people he was commenting on. “And we also begin with products or infrastructure that already produce ‘cold outputs’ — refrigerators, air conditioners, ice packs and the like, the low-hanging fruit in the war against global warming. Then, under the power of example from the rich and by flinging out money by the boatload for any ‘green’ initiative we can conjure — the hope is that India and China and Senegal will notice, and then everyone’s on board.”

It’s not being done in isolation. The fund that’s paying for refrigeration for the Westons is tied in ambition with the $600-million media fund. Here the thinking is that stories like the Weston family’s efforts to lower world temperatures will finally get the front-page coverage they obviously deserve, and move other outlets that have been dropping the ball on climate coverage to catch up.

It’s what people in the climate-change community are calling a “win-win-win.” Tastier fish, lower temps, and good news for all.

Researching for my weekly aria in the Post I found that the Fridge Fund and the newly announced Media Fund (freeze and fudge is the shorthand) are meant to be seen in tandem — the one to reduce temperature in the air, and the other to reduce temperature in the air (waves). There are unheralded humorists in Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna’s department.

On other fronts the media fund will obviously be useful in defusing cynicism in politics. The nasty furor over protecting the Kandahar battlefield memorial from everyone who would possibly want to view it and pay respect to the fallen, would not have occurred had there been more government–supported news sites. And it’s a good bet no one would even know the name of the unjustly tormented Vice-Admiral Mark Norman.

Some people have criticized the government’s media fund, especially with regards to the cartel of special interests and unions that will dictate the membership of the body issuing the grants. These jibes take no account of the Trudeau government’s vastly acclaimed commitment to “openness and transparency.” They overlook, too, what is axiomatic to an open, non-partisan mind: The surest way to secure the independence of a service is to be the source and authority for granting money to a body that depends on that money to provide the service.
This principle is embodied in the folk wisdom of dozens of countries under variations of the well-know proverb: “He who pays the piper has not the slightest interest in the tune.”

If only Donald Trump could have woken up to that principle, and dropped a few billions to The New York Times and MSNBC; we would have heard far less about “collusion” and nothing at all about Michael Avenatti. (Or, Stormy Daniels.) And wouldn’t that have been a grief.


Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2019

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