Thursday, May 19, 2016
Of Danger and Betrayal
Imagine you lived in south London. Bermondsey, down by the docks. It's 1941 and the night is full of the drone of German bombers overhead as you hustle the kids down into the coal cellar for shelter as the floor shakes from the bombs blasting your neighbourhood.
Now, imagine that you learned on your way to work the next morning that your government was selling the Luftwaffe the fuel they needed to fly those bombers over your house night after night.
Then you read a story in the morning paper that your government said they couldn't stop the sale of all that aviation gas, not right away. It would be too devastating to the economy. Besides, they needed the revenues they pocketed from that avgas in order to fight the Hun. Your country's victory, they said, depended on keeping the German bombers and tanks and submarines full of fuel.
How long do you think it would take you to locate a pitchfork and a torch and join your neighbours as they marched on Westminster?
Well, of course, this isn't 1941 Britain. It's Canada, 2016. It's Canada and, for that matter, the world. The danger overhead isn't squadrons of Heinkels but greenhouse gases. The threat isn't defeat, surrender and subjugation; it's plague, pestilence, famine, war and extinction.
And, of course, Churchill would never have had a policy like that or made such preposterous arguments. If he had he would have been banged up in the Tower for high treason awaiting his end.
And, of course, we don't have a Churchill, we have someone who had a famous father on the strength of which we expected great things. In these immensely dangerous times we (well, not I) put him in control.
Now he tells us that the way to defeating our existential menace is to double down on what's fueling it. We must build more pipelines - failure-prone metal tubes - so that we can increase the extraction and export of world destroying fossil fuels, among the very worst of the lot, and get that to tidewater, rolling the dice that the inevitable supertanker disaster(s) won't happen on his watch.
The real high treason in this is that he knows, beyond any doubt he knows, that what he intends to do will foreclose any prospect that Canada will meet it's already paltry emissions reduction promises, Stephen Harper's laughable commitments.
And then he looks us straight in the face and tells us that this is for our own good. Going ever blacker will make us green. Jeez, I think I've got a pitchfork in the garden shed.