Friday, May 06, 2016
Psst, Justin. Here's an Idea.
Anything that happens almost every year is not a "disaster." It's a calamity of sorts. When it happens every year and we know it's sure to happen and we do nothing about it, it's not a disaster, it's a fuckup.
Rachel Notley, the NDP's wunderkind in Alberta, pared $15-million from this year's forest firefighting budget. That's a fuckup. Her BC counterpart, Christy Clark, has done the same - another fuckup.
But first prize, the blue ribbon, surely must go to our federal government that lavishes $34 billion each and every year (IMF figures) on the fossil energy giants by way of subsidies of all descriptions.
$34 billion a year just pissed away on the least productive economic sector in Canada. That's money that could be put to any number of other uses.
Here's an idea. How about, instead of handing that money to foreign energy giants, among the wealthiest companies on the planet, we invest some of it, say half, in Canada's aerospace industry. Canadians building Canadian-designed planes. How about these planes:
That, kids, is the legendary Canadair CL-415 waterbomber, the turbo-powered successor to the original, piston-powered CL-215, nicknamed the "SuperScooper." Everybody who can get their hands on them loves them, especially the Europeans.
I wonder how many squadrons, maybe wings, of 415s we could buy with $20 billion? Imagine being able to deploy them like a military unit to swarm a forest fire before it got totally out of control?
Here's what the 415 looks like at work, a complete cycle from empty to fully loaded to water on target.
If you're not familiar with the 415, this will fill you in.
It just keeps going back and back and back until it finally needs to refuel.
This is a perfect opportunity for the Liberals to polish their now tarnished reputation. We know the science. We know these fires are going to increase in frequency and severity. Fort Mac has proven what happens when we ignore reality.
The things only cost $37 million a pop and they last, like, forever. By some reckoning, Fort McMurray destruction could top $9 billion. You can buy a hell of a lot of water bombers for $9 billion. You can get 243 415s for 9 billion dollars. How does that stack up to $34 billion a year in fossil fuel subsidies? It's peanuts, Justin, peanuts.