Friday, November 16, 2012
We Need Another Charter
What we need today is a supplemental charter prescribing the principles on which we are to be governed through this century. We are going to need clearly stated principles to ensure the social cohesion that will determine how Canadians weather what's coming our way.
Simple things - healthcare; education; measures to redress inequality of wealth, income and opportunity - everything that contributes to a strong and broad-based middle class.
To use a popular term in vogue today, we're going to need a "pivot" to the Left. This isn't going to be easy given how both the Liberals and the New Democrats have been shoehorned well to the Right. It's no longer acceptable for the Libs to be Conservative-Lite. It's no longer acceptable for the New Democrats to be Latter-Day-Libs.
The obsession with economic development has to be treated like any other addiction. It is taking us down. The Tar Sands? Are you kidding? Richard at Canadian Trends can open your eyes about how the Tar Sands are actually dragging Alberta down. Everything he says is fact. Alberta just buried the last leader it had that ever understood the perils and pitfalls that underlie reckless Tar Sands development.
Fossil fuels, generally, are a sub-prime asset. The governor of the Bank of England got that warning in January from a blue-ribbon team of financiers, scientists and politicians. Bill McKibben of 350.org echoed this in his piece, Global Warming's Terrifying New Math in Rolling Stone. These findings are also confirmed by the IAEA. We're in the midst of a massive fossil fuel bubble of enormous financial and environmental dimensions. Yet, thanks to fracking of shale reserves, we're finding the means to extract ever more fossil fuels even to the point that the United States stands poised to become the biggest oil producer on Earth. There's a terrifying "feel good" quality to this that virtually ensures America won't be giving up fossil fuels until it collapses.
We're going to have to abandon our obsession with fossil fuel superpowerdom and focus instead on the many other advantages our country affords to meet future challenges. That fool Ignatieff once described the Tar Sands as the "beating heart of the Canadian economy for the 21st Century." The beating heart of the Canadian economy is the Canadian people and that's where we need to invest, not in pipelines to ship sub-prime assets with a highly dubious future that could even lead to our economic and environmental ruin.
Unfortunately our governments, in their drift into corporatism, have abandoned their responsibilities to the Canadian people. They have turned away from the unwritten social pact between the people and their government. They'll pay lip service to it, they all do, but we need something in the nature of a charter to truly bind them to it. Needing it is one thing, getting it is another thing altogether. We might have to await some major social upheaval to right our country's keel.