With all the punditry analyzing our recently concluded federal election you would think it has been pretty well analyzed out. But…however strangely…the analysis I have seen so far seems to stray little from the mealy-mouthed gobbledegook that so dominated the platitudes offered up by everyone of our political party leaders during and—especially—after the election.
One has only to glance at a map of elected representatives after the October 21 election and the stark reality of a deeply divided country is as obvious as the motives behind Doug Ford’s silly gas pump carbon tax stickers. …AND YET…not one of our newly elected leaders suggested any kind of a plan to heal our regional divisions in their lazy/limp renditions of ‘we did well’–however great the losses–and mumbo jumbo about let’s move forward (into the abyss of a nearly mortally divided country?).
My gosh, these are troubling and potentially sundering times. They call for leaders with a healing vision—with a vision greater than their egos or narrow party interests. I certainly expected at least one of our party leaders to speak openly of the divisions and how we might begin to bring the nation back together.
Premiers Jason Kenney and Scott Moe were quick to try to maneuver prairie alienation into an attack on the federal carbon tax seemingly completely oblivious to the devastating impact global warming is having and will increasingly have on the economies and citizens of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Neither has looked at Saudi Arabia’s desperate efforts to convert to nuclear power because, for all their misadventures socially/politically, they can see clearly the looming end to the age of oil. They have openly talked of “stranded assets” noting bitterly, but knowingly, the end of the Stone Age came not because civilization ran out of rocks but because human society moved on to more effective implements/resources.
Kenney and Moe can hold their breaths/stomp their feet all they want—oil will soon become as stranded an asset as stone quarries 5000 years ago—and Alberta and Saskatchewan (in Bob Dylan’s words) had “better start swimming (in not so oily waters)or they’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a changin….” Building a pipeline to pipe bitumen to docks on the BC coast makes no sense of any sort in a world turning away from fossil fuels.
Instead of quarreling apart, Canadians could, under visionary leadership, be pulling together. The prairies have incredible opportunities to grow a green economy based on alternative energy sources, sustainable agriculture and the redirecting our economy to producing durable, energy efficient products powered by green energy.
Interestingly we are on the verge of an abyss in many ways similar to the catastrophic failure of Western economies during the great depression. And such times call for a similar comprehensive “New Deal” vision of a different direction. Instead of investing billions in dead end pipelines we could be investing in a people and environment supporting “Green New Deal.” I see the Green New Deal as the kind of visionary leadership that can bind up differences. I even see the Green New Deal as a way of convincing the people of Quebec that we all have a common interest in putting our sectarian quarrels aside and getting on with working together for a future that can address the challenge of climate change and build a community/country that works for all of us.
The issue that troubles me right now is I just don’t see this kind of visionary leadership coming out of Justin (big disappointment)Trudeau. Perhaps we will need another election before we can make such a profound change in direction. I am very worried that Trudeau will push pipelines as a sop to the prairies instead of a program that will reorient our country/our economy to the needs of bringing people together to meet the immense challenges of how we heal our divisions and reorient to a world that will of necessity be moving away from fossil fuels. The scenario that is closer to frightening than just troubling is the possibility of another federal election in which our divisions are magnified and, out of electoral fatigue the balance of power goes to the Conservatives whose climate policies can be clearly summarized as “a ruse to deceive the most gullible into thinking they are slightly interested in dealing with climate change.”
What we need is for you and I to get together and talk with/listen to each other about the challenges that we face and the need to bring the NDP and the Green Party together into a coalition to promote a Green New Deal. Such a coming together could energize the understanding of a Green New Deal as a comprehensive social and environmental working together for our common good above the fractious regional quarreling that is tearing our country apart and cutting short the healthy world we owe to our children and grandchildren.