Saturday, April 14, 2018

Last Gasps?

Some days, writing this blog is quite easy, as I only have to turn to the letters page of my newspaper to aggregate the well-considered thoughts of my fellow Canadians. Today is such a day.

To believe our Prime Minister, we can have our economic and environmental cake served upon the same plate. His fatuous assertions that pumping out more bitumen by twinning the Trans Mountain pipeline goes hand in hand with his climate change 'policy' is the stuff that will satisfy the untutored and the ideologues, but offers not even thin gruel to those prepared to open their eyes to our increasingly fraught world and engage in some critical thinking.

Today's Star letters are ample testament to the fact that some refuse to don the blinders that the federal government is so keen for the electorate to wear.

While I encourage you to read all of the letters online, here is but a sample:
Tim Harper has it right. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a cul-de-sac of his own making. The social-permission requirement made sense when campaigning for office. So when Trudeau talked of “consultation,” it made sense.

To alter that promise in order to sell oil makes sense, except that it does not make environmental promises believable. Development doesn’t happen without side effects. So to invoke constitutional authority and say the federal government rules makes a mockery of “consultation.” Trudeau’s government is caught not in a cul-de-sac, but between a rock and a hard place. Or is it a political dead end?

The Liberals will lose seats in B.C. whatever they decide. If they go ahead and put coastal waters at risk, they will lose seats. When there is an almost inevitable oil spill, Liberals could be friendless in B.C. for a long, long time. They don’t have many real friends in Alberta and the phaseout of oilsands extraction is inevitable.

So why not create an environmentally friendly Liberal legacy now and say farewell to Texas pipeline companies?

To invoke the heavy hand of federal authority now will make a lot of enemies. Think of British Columbia and Quebec for starters and Canadians who care about global warming, too.

Bruce Rogers, Lindsay, Ont.

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notely, what about your children? When they’re suffering from the effects of climate change, what will you say? “I’m sorry but, like John Turner, I had no choice?”

Canadians want investors for a sustainable country, not an oil-stained, disfigured landscape. It’s 2018. Isn’t it time for sustainable political leadership?

Barry Healey, Scarborough

In 25 years or so, if people in Canada and around the world are facing unstoppable species extinction, extreme weather events and flooding, widespread ocean acidification, mass displacement of people, epidemics of illness and disease, and an expanding civil war, we may have a hard time explaining to our children and grandchildren why we used taxpayer money to “rescue” an American company’s oilsands pipeline, despite wide opposition from Indigenous leaders, scientists and other citizens, and the fact that its construction undermined Canada’s international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases when it was still possible to avert catastrophe.

Perhaps we’ll just have to tell them that it was in the national interest, and leave it at that.

Michael Polanyi, Toronto

Thomas Walkom explains the Trans Mountain pipeline controversy very clearly. The hysteria around this project proves it is a last gasp of a dying industry. Unfortunately, the last gasp would involve more huge, expensive, damaging infrastructure, causing enormous environmental harm that Canadians would have to pay for, now and into the future. We have many difficult choices ahead as we change to a sustainable economy, but this choice is obvious: no new pipeline.

Martha Gould, North Bay, Ont.
If these engaged citizens are correct, perhaps the gasping you hear is not just those of a dying planet, but also a political party and government going the way of the dinosaurs.


  1. .. and where are 'environmentally displaced people' going to arrive..?
    Well there is this place called Canada..
    it still has water, and one can grow crops

    When they come from Asia
    it won't be in small numbers
    If they migrate north from the US of A
    it will be a flood..

    Water, space, land, freedom from oppression..
    Get ready, Canada.. they will come
    and no 'border security' will deter them
    they will just come, from all directions
    mainly from Asia I suspect
    China, Pakistan, Korea..
    Wherever drought is killing them

    Is this 5 years away or 25?
    but they will arrive
    in the last redoubt.. called Canada

    1. The world is changing rapidly, Sal, but some continue to party as if it were 1960.

  2. Thanks, Lorne. I found those letters comforting, encouraging. I did a post today at the rapidly worsening situation in the far north, the cryosphere of burning tundra and melting permafrost. There's no quick fix for that problem, no effective fix at all. Yet, as with so many of these climate change impacts, bad as they are we can still make them worse, much worse, especially for our children and grandchildren. That is the future the Dauphin, Notley and their Conservative successors would bequeath these future generations. Young Canadians will be left to pay the price for their treachery. That's such a strong word yet what else is appropriate in its stead?

    1. Today in Ontario, Mound, we are bracing for a bad ice storm as Spring thus far refuses to make anything but a cameo appearance. The disruption caused by the approaching storm and our increasingly volatile weather is but a foretaste of what is to come, as you well know. Where will the Trudeaus, the Notleys, the Kenneys, the Fords, the Trumps, etc. ad nauseam be when the excrement storm really starts to manifest itself, as it is already doing in many parts of the world? Their bromides will no longer offer even a modicum of solace to those they have hoodwinked.

  3. Where will they be, indeed. I don't know how they'll live with themselves, especially Trudeau with his young kids. He had it in his power to do the right thing but instead consigned them to a bleak future. What kind of a parent can do that?