Sunday, June 15, 2014

It's Not Either/Or

Those who have more than a passing acquaintance with federal politics are likely aware of the false premises and logical fallacies Stephen Harper and his wrecking crew regularly use to advance their mad agenda. There was, of course, the famous Vic Toews' declaration about either standing with the government or with the child pornographers. Of course that kind of absolutism, the assertion that choices are black and white, no nuanced thinking required, betrays a deep contempt for the electorate, clearly an indicator the regime views us as simpletons fit only for the manipulation that such reductionist thinking cultivates.

It was recently on display once again when Stephen Harper met with his climate soul mate, Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Both agreed they would take no action against climate change that would imperil their respective economies, implying, of course, that the choices are stark.

Fortunately, as is regularly the case, there was ample criticism of this fallacious approach to the world's most pressing and dire crisis; and as usual, Star readers weighed in with their acerbic and insightful comments on Harper's nonsense. All of the letters are excellent, and I hope you will have an opportunity to read each one. Below, I reproduce just a few of them:

Re: PM lauds Australia for fighting carbon tax, June 10

Our prime minister seems to think that jobs and economic growth will trump any serious attempt to tackle climate change. This is a great example of no leadership and a complete dismissal of job creation and growth in new technologies that will happen as we move to a more sustainable situation.
One thing is certain: there will be job creation in casket making if we do not get serious soon about carbon emissions. Where are the leaders who will stop living in the past and embrace the future!

J.B. Ross, Orangeville

It’s a shame that our prime minister believes that a carbon tax will hurt the economy and cost jobs. B.C.’s carbon tax has clearly shown that this is not the case. And the U.S. Congressional Budget Office recently concluded that a carbon tax could benefit the U.S. economy.

But even if the government has an aversion to a carbon tax, from building renewable energy to increasing energy efficiency to building modern transit systems, there are so many ways to cut emissions and create jobs.

The prime minister is setting up a false choice. We do not need to choose between action on carbon and a strong economy. We need to choose both and get on with it.

Keith Brooks, Toronto

The Conservative lack of action on climate change will hurt jobs and the economy. When discussing climate change, Harper said that no country is going to take actions that will deliberately destroy jobs and growth. He, like Tim Hudak in Ontario, has his head in the sand.

Look at Germany, the economic powerhouse of Europe. Its fight against climate change has increased its renewable electrical energy from about 6 per cent in 2000 to 25 per cent in 2012, with 370,000 jobs in that sector. Two-thirds of these are due to government legislation on renewables.

Nearer home, B.C. reduced CO2 emissions by 17 per cent in five years, through a carbon tax that returned the money to the taxpayers, without hurting jobs or growth.

The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy has stated that if nothing is done immediately to address climate change, a Canadian family of four will be paying up to $10,000 per year in weather damage by 2050. This will cause enormous human suffering and take money and jobs away from productive employment.

All parties except the Conservatives have policies to address climate change. The economy cannot afford a Conservative government in either Ontario or Canada.

Linda and Alan Slavin, Otonabee

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