In their own words: Preston Manning, Ecofiscal Advisor

In their own words: Preston Manning, Ecofiscal Advisor

Preston Manning - Ecofiscal Commission - Annual Report
Livable Cities Pollution Technology and Innovation Water

The following testimonial is from our 2015 Annual Report.

I’m often asked how I reconcile conservative economic values with environmental interests. For me, there’s no inherent philosophical conflict. After all, “conservation” and “conservative” come from the same root.

We need to find a way to move past the economy-versus-environment way of thinking. Fiscal conservatives believe we can’t live beyond our means. That’s an ecological concept as well. We have to balance our ecological budget to make sure we don’t pass on environmental deficits and debts to future generations.

Preston Manning - Ecofiscal Commission - Annual Report

I think conservatives, more than anyone else in the political arena, profess to believe in market mechanisms. Harnessing those mechanisms is one of the best ways to approach environmental protection. One of the first steps is to get full-cost accounting of whatever economic activity you undertake. That means ascertaining the environmental costs of that activity and incorporating those costs into the price of the product.

That’s the focus of the Ecofiscal Commission. And that’s why I wanted to be part of it and contribute what I could as a member of the advisory board. Environmental protection really is a trans-partisan issue, bringing together different ideological and political perspectives.

The time is right. There’s lots of evidence that shows that high-performing economies invest much more in environmental protection and conservation. Meanwhile, here in Canada we’re seeing a growing number of policy makers who are interested in these types of issues. They don’t have to be convinced that something needs to be done. The question now is how we’re going to do it.

That’s exactly what the Ecofiscal Commission’s reports explain. In 2015, those reports focussed a lot on carbon pricing. But this concept of incorporating the cost of ecological impacts into the price of a product applies to any kind of pollution or environmental problem. In the coming years, I’m looking forward to the Commission’s work on market-driven solutions to other issues like water conservation and municipal waste.

Balancing the ecological budget is something folks of every political stripe can get behind. It’s not an objective that can be achieved all in one jump. But if we do it right, we can have jobs, incomes, innovation and a healthy environment.

Read our 2015 Annual Report

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