rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

An economics lesson for Rachel Notley

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca today for as little as $1 per month!

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Alberta NDP Premier Rachel Notley said in a recent interview that supporters of the Leap Manifesto lack a "pragmatic understanding" of the Canadian economy. A synonym of "pragmatic" is "down-to-earth," but the earth is what Notley's narrow understanding of the economy ignores.

The economy isn't the earth. It's part of the earth. And the earth provides the economy all kinds of "free" stuff, like air and water and a livable climate. But climate change is teaching us that that stuff wasn't free after all. In fact, it might be so expensive that it puts our economy and our species out of business. There's no bailout for the earth.

It's easy to get intimidated by economics. It seems scientific and inarguable because it uses a lot of math. But math is a language. Science is a method. And it's a method that economics doesn't use. You can lie with math. Like when you cut down a tree and call it a revenue instead of a cost. Or when you poison a river and call it growth. Or when you submit Senate expense claims.

In the world of mainstream economics, if something isn't owned, it doesn't exist. And when you make decisions based on that absurd world, you end up making absurd decisions. Like pushing to build more pipelines when science is telling us we need to move our economy away from fossil fuels as fast as possible.

Notley can go ahead and defend her grim pragmatism as the only realistic option, but any leader in the midst of a climate emergency better make sure to have some realism left over for reality. 

This video originally appeared in the Toronto Star.

Like this article? rabble is reader-supported journalism. Chip in to keep stories like these coming.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.