The idea was appealing. The magnificent encounter of an unprecedented crisis and a solution to an even more serious problem for humanity.
Use the post-COVID economic recovery to fund a huge green shift.
Indeed, as long as you are spending billions, giving up the constraints of a balanced budget, why not take advantage of it to finally give yourself the means to face the climate threat?
This was certainly the signal that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent the day after the departure of his Finance Minister Bill Morneau. But there you go. Canadians are not there yet.
The Covid before the recovery
Since mid-August, the landscape has changed. The children have returned to school, the number of cases continues to climb, the endless lines for screening are in the headlines.
Every time we talk about code yellow, orange, the threat of a second wave, anxiety rises. And with good reason.
How many more workers will swell the ranks of the 1.8 million unemployed Canadians? How many mothers fear that they will have to reduce their hours at the office to care for children if their class or school closes?
Indeed, according to the Léger polling firm, the proportion of Quebeckers who believe the worst is coming rose from 28% in June to 47% last week.
The castles in Spain of a green and fair economy of tomorrow are well, far from the concerns of Canadians most affected by COVID.
A question of dosage
This movement in public opinion, the Trudeau government has grasped. And the fears raised by an offensive of uncontrolled spending in view of an overhaul of Canada as well.
This is why his government insisted on refocusing its message this week.
The priority is COVID and the problems that come with it. The green stimulus will come next.
Certainly, a massive stimulus plan focused on climate change would ultimately create millions of jobs for the future according to several studies.
However, it is because the green billions in innovation, clean technologies, renovations, infrastructure and green, will take time to percolate into society.
In the short term, they will not put food on the table for unemployed COVID workers. Nor will they solve the country's structural problems, its lack of competitiveness, the vulnerability of exports, the perpetual underfunding of health, to name a few.
The puzzle is therefore complete: Canada does not have the luxury of missing the opportunity offered by the pandemic to finance a green recovery. Yet once again, the climate crisis is on the way to being eclipsed in the minds of the electorate.