Monday, July 01, 2019

The Winds of Change Are Coming, For Good or Ill

And they're coming for Justin Trudeau's Liberals, perhaps Andrew Scheer's Conservatives to boot.

It always seemed just a matter of time. How long could the voting public allow the petro-pimps to pit the 'economy' against the nation and its people, against the growing awareness of a looming dystopian future?

How long could we tolerate Canada's Potemkin democracy in which the will - and security - of the people is overridden by a corrupt electoral system that reliably delivers majority rule to either the Liberals or the Conservatives on the strength of fewer than two votes out of five? That's no basis for governance during a national emergency.  It breeds a political caste freely indentured to the corporate sector whether in the Calgary Petroleum Club or the boardrooms of Bay Street.

The Canadian people are finally getting their fill of these charlatans whether it's the broken promises of Justin Trudeau or the patently over-promising Andrew Scheer. A new survey conducted on behalf of the CBC finds Canadians are worried and becoming fed up.
The survey finds high levels of anxiety caused by both personal and global factors — with the costs of basics like food and gas and the impact of climate change ranking highly on a list of what keeps Canadians up at night.

...Canadians don't seem to believe that the political parties vying for their votes in October have their best interests at heart — and those who are worried about the future report greater disillusionment with politics. 
Fully 88 per cent of those polled said they feel that politicians care more about staying in power than doing what's right, while 47 per cent said that no party represents what they care about most. 
This was not a strongly-held view among first-time voters, however. Instead, it was those between the ages of 25 and 65 who were most likely to say that no party aligned with their views.
CBC Radio reported that Trudeau may pay dearly this October for reneging on his promise of electoral reform. His litany of broken promises, coupled with climate change, may drive many Liberal votes to the Green Party.

I recently posted about Canada's newest climate migrants, our very own IDPs or Internally Displaced Population. These are people of the west migrating east to escape intolerable, choking wildfire smoke that now blankets parts of British Columbia (the 'pipeline-friendly' interior), Alberta and Saskatchewan for several months every year. We know that climate change is greatly increasing the wildfire season and commensurately expanding the devastation. We know that, bad as it may be today, there's no respite on the horizon.

It's a matter of physics that the climate will continue to worsen. Just a few years ago the scientific consensus warned of dire events that could befall us by the end of the century, events that are already occurring. Now dramatic changes such as "climate departure" are setting in that will reshape the world.

The petro-pimps, Conservative and Liberal, have demonstrated the irresponsible recklessness associated with the very worst petro-states. They have failed to protect the public interest. That is manifest in the scores of thousands of orphaned wells across the western provinces, especially Alberta. It is manifest in the tailing ponds of Athabasca that the Alberta government estimates will cost upwards of a quarter-trillion dollars to clean up.

Economist John Maynard Keynes is quoted as saying, "If you owe your bank a hundred pounds, you have a problem. But, if you owe a million, it has." That's roughly the same situation that successive Conservative and Liberal governments have put Canada in with the energy giants and their unfunded liabilities. They've left us with very doubtful promises that Big Fossil will voluntarily clean up their mess.

My take is that Canada either implements real democratic restoration, some type of electoral reform, or we brace ourselves for the same sort of toxic rightwing populism that has swept so many other countries. When people are anxious about their own future and when they don't believe their political caste have their best interests at heart, we're in trouble. When 88 per cent of respondents believe that politicians care more about staying in power than doing what's right, not only are they absolutely correct but Canada is in trouble. Whether it's Justin Trudeau or Andrew Scheer this October, we're in trouble.


WILLY said...

And a happy Canada Day to you MoS

Hugh said...

Worries about costs of basics? The Bank of Canada targets inflation at 2% a year. This is an exponential rise in the cost of everything, year after year. Great. That'll work out just fine.

The Mound of Sound said...

And the Lord's good graces to you, Willy. The CBC did time this survey for the holiday weekend.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hugh, a lot of people are feeling squeezed today. I expect that will worsen over the coming decade.

When a staggering 88 per cent believe the political apparatus serves itself, not them, we are in a perilous state as a nation.

Those of us old enough to have experienced the swell of positive nationalism and social cohesion experienced across this country on the occasion of our centennial can grasp how far Canada has fallen since the neoliberal order took hold.

88 per cent. You can't ignore that. It's the miners' canary.