Given the Conservative record under Harper it is hard not to understand the reluctance of Canadian voters to abandon the Liberals by default thinking—even when they don’t like Liberals.

By the time you read this Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may, well, have already proclaimed the date for the next federal election. Trudeau’s election styled swing across the country announcing new Federal funding for various issues culminating in the announcements in BC about new federal subsidies  for  child-care and extending SkyTrain into Surrey are, transparently, about an imminent federal election.

Trudeau obviously believes Canadian voters have long since forgotten his blatant abuse of power in corruption issues like SNC-Lavalin and WE Charity and his flaunting of Canadian voters over broken promises about things like electoral reform. 

Why, tell me why, does Trudeau believe he can, once again, dupe the Canadian electorate into voting for the corruption of the Liberal Party?

Well, first of all, let’s be honest with ourselves: Canadians have been duped yet again.  Canadian polling of party popularity shows the Liberals heading toward a majority government with 35.3% if the projected vote.  The Conservatives, with their trying to look Liberal, social conservative leader who courted the fanatical right for his Conservative Party leadership win, are at 28.2%. The NDP have a generally respected leader but the party will never crack Quebec with a turban wearing leader. They  are at 19.1 %.  The Green Party, doing surprisingly well despite a new leader that seems to be willing to sunder the party over her support for Zionism, sits at 6%.

All this adds up to a Trudeau Liberal Party majority government come this Fall’s federal election.

It makes me feel like crying.

I wish I had the wisdom to explain all this to you—but I don’t.  Well, there is the tried, obvious and almost always true axiom that the Canadian electorate votes Liberal when they don’t have a good reason to vote for anyone else. And just look at what we got when the electorate took a chance on breaking with tradition and voted for the unprogressive Conservatives: Harper! 

Given the Conservative record under Harper it is hard not to understand the reluctance of Canadian voters to abandon the Liberals by default thinking—even when they don’t like Liberals.

But this is not just any election.  The climate change monster is roaring with fiery breath all across Canada.  BC sets heat records day after day culminating in the June 29 highest temperature ever seen in Canada –49.6 C at the Village of Lytton. The next day the village burned down leaving very little of the community standing.  Global Warming is here and it is deadly. Over the five days following the Lytton record breaking temperatures BC recorded 486 sudden deaths compared with an average of 165 in normal times.  July 9 Death Valley, California hit a frightening 54.4° (130.0°F). Devastating wild fires are raging across BC and most of the western states to the south of us. Water is becoming a desperately sought after resource as water tables and lake levels plummet.

Climate change is so real, imminent and menacing that even the Liberal Party is trumpeting a climate change agenda.  The Conservative leader wanted to pretend to have a climate change agenda but the rank and file didn’t want anything to do with a climate change agenda—not even a smoke and mirrors rendition of it designed solely to catch naïve voters.

However, really, the Trudeau/Liberal climate change agenda is hardly anymore efficacious than the Conservative Party no plan at all. And what could one reasonably expect? On one hand Trudeau is using our tax dollars–dollars that should be going to combat the kind climate change that is scorching BC right now–to build tar sands pipelines from central Alberta to Vancouver.  Why? because it is not profitable for business to build?  So we, the taxpayers, are to put up 12 billion dollars for an unprofitable pipeline to deliver low quality oil to put on ships that endanger our coasts to deliver the low quality oil to be burned in distant countries where the CO2 and other pollutants will pollute the air we all share and contribute to the global warming that the Liberals claim to be fighting.

And the Trudeau Liberals claim to be fighting climate change with grants to add a little insulation to the walls of our homes.  Oh, I think the Liberals are planning a little extra money for bus transportation as well.  They are also promising to spend some money on planting trees.  Nice idea but it isn’t the beginning of a plan that would meaningfully address the kind of climate change that is setting record temperatures day after day and igniting the fires that can destroy our homes.

Climate change is an emergency. We need profound change not some little toys to distract our attention while the place burns down around us. “Net-zero ” –the much trumpeted Liberal  promise on climate change—is just a buzz word used by government and capitalists to pretend a few window dressing actions could counter the continued dumping of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere where it is providing the one way insulation that is cooking our atmosphere and Earth. Under net zero it’s ok to build mammoth pipelines to transport dirty oil to far away markets because the government has a subsidy program to assist homeowners in caulking up the cracks around their doorways. There is no commensuration between the two actions.   

When you hear a government or party talk about disincentivizing air travel –then you will know you are talking about meaningful efforts to deal with the rapidly over heating Earth that is our only home. Net-zero emissions means things like planting palm trees to cut down for extracting palm oil.  Net-zero is a mask to give the impression of meaningful action while pandering to the same old fossil fuel companies that have for so long tried to hide the ecological/social disaster they have created in the name of investor profits.

“The best way through the climate emergency we are all facing is forward – toward a net-zero emissions future.” SNC-Lavalin

 “We will achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.”—Liberal campaign promise.  2050 is too late and this is just a joke the Liberals tell to an all-too-willingly duped public. “…help move Canada toward a net-zero emissions future…strengthening existing rules to cut emissions from Canada’s biggest polluters, including oil and gas.”—Liberal  pre-election promise. But they are using our tax dollars to build the oil infrastructure to pump ever more of the dirtiest oil on Earth to distant markets where the dirty oil will be burned and off gassed into the atmosphere that is the roof over our common home. 

“We will put a price on pollution to help reduce emissions…” Liberal campaign promise. But surely everyone can see that a “price on oil…” is meaningless to oil companies when the Canadian taxpayer is footing the bill for their infrastructure.  Where is free enterprise when we could use some?

According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), Canadian governments have deployed at least $23 billion to support pipelines since 2018.

The federal and Alberta governments have together allocated at least $15.3 billion for Trans Mountain and its expansion alone.  The pipeline is expected to carry about 890,000 barrels per day when it’s in service in 2022. How could anyone square this with a meaningful commitment to “reducing” greenhouse gas emissions?

Well, the  Canadian Association of Petroleum spokesperson, Elisabeth Besson  sums up the Liberal Party rationale for promoting dirty oil while claiming to be acting to slow climate change: “Attempts to stifle Canadian production can have only one effect: countries with lower environmental standards — and in many cases lower social, human rights and governance standards — will fill the void. We should be supplying Canadian energy to the world.”

You’d think this is the time for the Green Party to pull out of the pack and pound the track for a first place finish. However, the Green Party of Canada is saddled with a leader who, instead of carrying the torch on climate change spends her efforts accusing her colleagues of racism because they believe all human beings are entitled to basic human rights—even Palestinians. 

So we are left to consider the NDP—federal NDP.  Clearly NDP provincial governments in Alberta and BC are disappointing—at best—on climate change.  But…there are some good things to be said about the Federal NDP platform:  “We’ll make it easier and more affordable for Canadians to get around by investing in electric transit, improved transit routes, fare-free public transit … make it easy to own zero-emission vehicles.” “Canadians are paying the price while big polluters profit. We’ll cut big oil and gas subsidies and reinvest that money to protect good jobs for people while investing in net-carbon free electricity.” The “net” worries me but the carbon free electricity sounds promising.  I wish they had the gumption to say they would disincentivize air travel because any meaningful plan to save our atmosphere must include drastic cuts to air travel—of all kinds.

The seemingly insoluble problem with the NDP is that the electorate in Quebec has shown by its support for the new law discriminating against citizens based on their religion that they will never cast a significant vote for a party whose leader wears a turban at most public events. And without Quebec, the NDP cannot rise to the national significance that it did when Jack Layton was the NDP leader.

In this riding I will cast my vote for Gord Johns as he seems to me to be the hardest working, most environmentally and socially enlightened  Member of Parliament I have ever had the privilege of voting for, but I am not optimistic about the overall outcome of the upcoming federal election. 

Norm Reynolds

Columnist