Sunday, February 03, 2019

This Vote, This Year, Is Different. It Matters Like It Never Mattered Before.

For many millennials and their parents, this election will be like no other.

Many of those millennials now have infants, toddlers, newborns and their parents have grandbabies. This year it is morally imperative that those new parents and grandparents do what they're supposed to do, protect their young and all the young Canadians.

Those children won't be voting themselves in time to have any meaningful say in the future they will face.  We are writing their future today, indelibly, and what we have in mind for them is not looking good.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change threw down the gauntlet last year when they warned that we had to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent, a full half, by 2030 if those children were to have a reasonable chance of escaping catastrophic climate change.

For those kids it is indeed a question of escaping and they have no power over that. For us, their parents and grandparents, it's a question of averting catastrophic climate change so today's children can have a livable future.

Is there any more solemn and compelling obligation on their parents and grandparents than to do their utmost to protect those kids who cannot protect themselves? Of course not.

Government can't be trusted to protect those kids. They have other priorities such as the petro-economy, and high-carbon fossil fuels and pipelines. Have they heard the warning of 50 per cent by 2030? Of course they have. Are they doing anything to realistically meet that call? Absolutely not.

For most of today's toddlers that 2030 deadline will be long gone before they get a chance to vote for their interest, their mortal interest.

The newborns and toddlers aren't the end of the story. According to StatsCan some 7-million Canadians will be too young to vote this year.

Cutting emissions by 50 per cent by 2030 is a Herculean challenge. The whole process - evaluation, analysis, planning and implementation - would take years even if we gave it our all. It would mean a major restructuring of our economy and a diversion of money and resources. Have you heard any political leader talking about that - Mr.Trudeau, Mr. Scheer? No their message is essentially, don't worry, be happy.  Mr. Trudeau says he'll continue multi-billion dollar annual fossil fuel subsidies into 2025 which pretty much rubbishes any hope of "50 by 2030."

Perhaps, like Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Scheer you don't take this "50 by 2030" seriously. Like Trump you simply don't believe it. Do you think those children will take it seriously 20 or 30 or 40 years from now?

This time, this vote is different. Those children, so precious to you, are not your government's priority whether that be Liberal or Conservative. So why would you give them your vote? Why would you vote against your children's interest, their future?

We're in a strange place at a strange time. In the context of children and grandchildren we've never faced this urgency before. When I was born, the future looked good and it was. When my kids were born, theirs was not a precarious existence. We saw good things ahead for them. That's all over now. Those days are gone.

When you go to cast your vote this year, the future of those kids is very much in the balance. Four years hence will probably be too late, their future ordained. This may be our last chance to turn those petro-pols around.

Our political caste needs to be shaken to its core. The pols need to be told, powerfully told, that if they won't fight for our kids, we won't vote for them. If they won't protect these children, run them out of office. No more false majorities.

The clock is running.


Lorne said...

I wish there were a way of effectively conveying the urgency of the situation to our political 'leaders'. Mound, but I am at a loss to think how to do that. I know the conventional ways of conveying our demands, but they all seem to pall in the face of their obdurate refusal to face the new facts of life. And with so much of the public still content to ignore that the world we know is quickly coming to an end, the task does indeed seem to be both herculean and Sisyphean.

Rural said...

In response to Lorne's comment perhaps a MASSIVE swing to the Greens would wake up the rest of them, at this point they dont have the support and infrastructure to gain much power but a sizeable swing to them across the country sure would get the attention of the sleeping powers that be.

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm with Rural. The task isn't as enormous as you think, Lorne. Here'w why. Look at the "false majority" governments of Harper and Trudeau. In each case they formed a majority with the support of less than 40 per cent of the voting public. Two or three points made the difference between majority or opposition.

Slightly more than three out of five Canadians did not support the party that came to rule them. I use the word "rule" rather than "govern" because you can govern only with the informed consent of the majority of the electorate. The majority of the electorate no longer decides the majority of the government. In those circumstances you are ruled, not governed.

What I want to do is bleed off votes from the Conservatives and the Liberals and, for that matter, the NDP also by connecting those voters to their children and grandchildren rather than their traditional political party. This is a drum that's going to have to be beat loudly and for a long time.

Did you ever notice how neoliberal governments always consult "stakeholders"? They afford special consideration to those they think have skin in the game. Stakeholders are almost invariably corporations and the skin is the money they're poised to invest.

Seven million young Canadians have their necks on the block but they're not stakeholders in this government. Trudeau doesn't have a ministry for the unrepresented, the unheard, those not qualified to vote.

Let's work to force them into, at best, a minority government. Let them see that the future of our young people will steer their own political fortunes. Swing 5 per cent of the vote, 10 per cent to be wildly optimistic, and you have changed their political calculus.

We have to do our utmost to get them back on track in this next mandate. I wish we had 20 or 30 years but we don't. The next four years may well be decisive.

Owen Gray said...

How do you communicate the idea that the woods are on fire when real forest fires can't get people to see what's happening?

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Owen, if lies can get purchase through constant repetition, why would truth not fare at least as well? I could be wrong but it strikes me that I've made a compelling argument that is grounded in pretty clear fact. If you agree, make the argument your own and spread it as far and as often as you can. Add to it, make it better, and then get the word circulating.

Brian Dundas said...

Agree with you, Mound. We are well past the point of action and change. I always think of the space race for some reason when I think of what we are up against. You know, the myth that we can all pull together to achieve the nearly impossible. Truth is, going to the moon was child's play. No one lost their job for the space race! There was no societal disruption. A hypothetical: Greens get elected and all the hell of corporate money comes down on them messaging-wise. Corps bolt Canada (you know they will!) unemployment skyrockets, the economy tanks. Greens approval drops to decimal points, fueled by the media that just wants to get theirs before the cops arrive at the bank. 4 years later, or less, it's certain the Greens are out and the corporate parties in power reverse it all anyway. Humans, we are learning, value short term over long, in an extreme way. In fact, we are incapable of accepting massive volatility in exchange for some long term, Hail Mary cause (ie. One not certain to have any effect!). At the very least we would need the bulk of the rest of the world to join us, but, really? In this climate what are the odds of that? So, domestically, the change would have to happen fast and with minimal chaos. It would have to be relatively painless, and in fact, would have to immediately spawn investment dividends. And what are the odds of the Greens, or whomever, igniting a green revolution based in Canada only (quickly - and that is key) that includes a modicum of the stability that people innately crave? How quick can it come, in the face of other nations who don't follow suit, and a ruling class that will vilify the effort? Not quick enough at all, I'm afraid. The change needed will be painful, long, and we will be forced to fight forces of such wealth and power and unappealing (to most voters) change and chaos, all in the name of what? POSSIBLY saving ourselves? This is, unfortunately, beyond our human capacity. There, now. Extreme pessimism and disgust with our nature. I've said it. That was easy. It's my nature. It's in our's. The question I have to answer personally is: against all this, is it still worth a try? Yep. It is.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hello, Brian.

Canadians, with a degree of justification, bask in the memories of a Canada that "punched above its weight." We were the country that gave the world peacekeeping, Canada was the "honest broker" that led parties to reconciliation. We learned that a nation didn't have to be a hegemon to lead others.

Is that "worth a try"? You're damn right it is.

The climate naysayers may be the first to revel in those glory days and yet now say that we're too small to make a difference.

There are endless squabbles that pit the big overall emitters against the big per capita emitters, each saying the other must take the first hit. Both arguments have enough persuasiveness to prevent any resolution. My suggestion is that we not differentiate - overall emissions and per capita emissions must be treated as equal. This would create two groups - major emitters and minor emitters with the majors expected to carry the burden of massively slashing their emissions. There is no other way.

For the Canadian people it's more than slashing emissions. It's a rapid transition to a green economy, new economic activity to displace the carbon economy. That's the mitigation part. We have made no significant effort at adaptation measures either. The climate change genie is out of the bottle. The best we can do today is to tame it but we can't get it back inside the bottle. Pursuing a green economy can't deliver results unless we pay attention to building our resilience to climate change impacts at every level - municipal, provincial and federal. That starts with rehabilitating essential infrastructure to meet the demands of this new climate. If we don't, we won't have an economy worth mentioning and will again betray our young people.

Canada is one of five countries identified by the Global Footprint Network as having key ecological advantages other nations either don't have or will lose in the years ahead. We have land, water, biomass and more but we have work to do to keep these key advantages. For example we have to stop the agricultural runoff that fouls our lakes, rivers and coasts with algae blooms. Again, it comes down to building resilience.

the salamander said...

.. in North America, our political parties have failed us.. worse, they have sold us out. In Canada eh, it appears that at all levels those Parties are willing to subvert Justice, Finance, Electoral Process, Democracy, you name it.. if in their view situational ethics is the best move, in their interests. Note that carefully.. 'their interests, their ideologies, their wealth or power. I can't speak for the Green Party.. but as for the rest at federal and provincial levels (municipal levels daze me) it seems quite clear. Now of course we have Scheer and the CPC- HQ (the Harper Brand) positively slavering to try out American GOP vote suppression tactics and legislation. Despite the shouting and snouting of that golf parasite grifter Donald Trump.. its not immigrants practicing massive electoral fraud.. its the GOP and .. its him.. and his family and his close enablers, many of which are already indicted & pled guilty.. Many more to follow and soon. This is going to be a slugfest. and my money is on Robert Mueller and his crack team.

The point is if Government and Political Parties are so befouled, so worm eaten with crooked old entrenched white snots.. the people no longer have any say.. no control. That's where upcoming elections come in.. I am not really voting for my son, recently married. I am voting with him, for any children he and his wife may have, and for any child for that matter. And I am voting on behalf of my elders, and other peoples elders, I vote for our Species, our Habitat, our Environment.

I do not vote for the owner of the Mt Polley Dam.. hell, he's already busy buying up votes for Andrew Scheer, Pierre Poilievre, Doug Ford and Jason Kenney. When thugs like him come within a country mile of our elected Public Servants.. expect to be sold out. That tailings 'pond' dam, holding mine waste back that collapsed.. do you think it will be cleaned up and remediated? How about Boat Harbour, Nova Scotia? Not a living thing within the first week in that tidal dumping basin after the pulp mill started pissing about a million litres of toxic liquids upon going into operation. Mound has nailed the overview and big picture to the wall. For all to read & weep.. and then roll up our sleeves and start cleaning up our backyard. Mine is Lake Ontario. Where is yours? I will also pitch in on other backyards. Help clear a choked up salmon stream or spend a holiday weekend and grab dead plastic from a beach.. or help block toxic materials leaching into our water table.

But those backyard efforts aside.. which are critical and rewarding.. must team up together to literally force our Public Servants to be responsive to us.. not to themselves or lobbyists or political donors. Get the money out of elections.. its poison now. We must demand representation in OUR GOVERMENT.. It is not 'their government. They work for us.. but shrug that off. What Steven Harper pulled by trashing legislation protecting our inland waterways was garbage, complete and utter sick garbage. Where was our input on such destructive rewriting of our laws - solely to benefit Big Energy ? Where ? He blew us off. Now Justin Trudeau is giving it a try. If we allow big Energy to rule Canada, then say sayonaro to our freshwater fish, look forward to food chain collapse, ecological collapse.. for bitumin.. for piplines to move it, for supertankers to take it somewhere.. same with massive extraction of natural gas. Pipelines lacing rivers, coastal superports, more supertanker.. What next eh ? Sell our topsoil to China, now that theirs is toxic & dying ? Hell like Pakistan and India, China is already enmeshed in drought and shrunken water tables. Think it over, talk to your neighbors and children, if any. How can we lever our Public Servants back to working for us.. ? And shame Mainstream Mediafkr selling us out too..

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, you're dead right on the ruin the petro-economy has brought us. Andrew Nikiforuk has a rundown on that in today's Tyee. All the energy provinces and the federal government have allowed Big Fossil to stiff the Canadian people with hundreds of billions of dollars of environmental devastation. Alberta, he notes, has a $71 billion provincial debt. Contrast that with some $260 billion or more it will face in defunct pipelines, orphan wells and Tar Sands tailing ponds clean up. And yet not even NDP Notley has the courage to break from this worsening train wreck.

The horse has left the barn. All the horses have left the barn even as successive Alberta governments watched it happen - for 47 years by Notley's count. For their dereliction of duty these generations of political wastrels should be in jail. That's not going to happen.