Tuesday, October 08, 2019

This Dismal Season

Sorry. I asked around. Couldn't find anyone who bothered watching last night's leaders' debate. Not one. I suppose it has something to do with that "none of the above" attitude that permeates the general election this year.

All but two were university grads, the sort who usually pay some heed to these things if only for coffee or dinner conversations. Not this year, sorry.

I'm told some of those I asked simply missed it. The timing was awkward. You might settle down at 9 o'clock to watch the fireworks but, on the coast, you have other things to do - fixing dinner for example or just getting home through rush hour traffic, that sort of thing. One woman told me that she had it on her car radio but it was all gibberish as they talked over each other so she lost interest.

I see that Trudeau's most obsessive attacker was left quite tumescent but, again, so what?

What does it say when we're witnessing the Clash of Titans - a stammering school marm versus a summer-help counter clerk. I've never seen the like of it and I do go back a ways. There's something that is just so dismal about this election. Sort of like trying to mend a flat tire with four puncture wounds. You know very little good will come of it.

It's a pity really because there is so much at stake in this election including the fate of our youngest people and the generations to follow them. Time is running out and this time, four years hence, will probably be too late for Canada to change course.  Too little, too late.

This brings to mind Gary Mason's column in the Globe in late September where he contrasted Mulroney's brilliant effort to 'fix' the seriously damaged Ozone hole to the endless greenwash we're getting today on climate change.

...Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said at a town hall event in Peterborough in January, 2017, that while he couldn’t shut down the oil sands immediately, “we need to phase them out, we need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels.” It should not have been a controversial statement because it’s true. And yet, politicians in Alberta (and many citizens, too) lost their minds, accusing the Mr. Trudeau of betraying them, of forging a plan to rob thousands of people of their livelihoods. A few days later, Mr. Trudeau tried to undo the damage, saying that he “misspoke” – the oil sands would not be going anywhere soon, he assured Canadians.
Mason offers four reasons not to swallow the green smoothie voters are being force fed in this campaign.

First, neither of the two parties who will form government when the votes are tallied has a coherent plan to cut emissions enough in the limited time remaining. The Liberals at least have a vague plan but it's aspirational at best. And haven't we heard this aspirational talk from Justin before?

Second is the "fire and fall back" approach to climate change in vogue today. They're not denying the affliction any more. Instead they've moved on to undermining the solutions.
It’s not just members of the public who are in denial, but politicians and the oil and gas industry as well. Everyone agrees there is a problem, but few are willing to accept the sour medicine it will take to do something about it.
Mason's third reason is the refusal of the oil and gas industry (bolstered by their political stooges) to accept that their industry's days are numbered - at least if we intend to see our society last a few more generations.
A recent piece in The New York Times by Christiana Figueres laid it out in stark detail. The life of many of the world’s oil and gas companies, in their current form, could be as little as five years in some cases, but no more than 30 even in the most optimistic scenarios, predicted Ms. Figueres, who was the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Markets have started to abandon many of these companies. Exxon Mobil was the last big oil giant remaining in the top 10 of the world’s most valuable companies – until it dropped out earlier this month for the first time.
We either cut our own throats or we end fossil fuels. It's what Hans Joachim Schellnhuber meant when he said at the 2015 Paris climate summit that our only hope was for an "induced implosion" of the fossil energy giants. Survival depends on our governments putting them down, blowing them up. We know that the highest carbon, most toxin laden fuels have to be left in the ground yet here we have a prime minister so ensnarled in cognitive dissonance as to believe there's a legitimate purpose for building a 60-year, high capacity bitumen pipeline squaring off against a counter-clerk who attacks him for not getting it built fast enough.

Mason's final source of despair is how deeply and angrily divided Canadians are, especially those rallying to the defence of the petro-economy. Even Dame Cathy "we must not harm the economy" McKenna now needs a bodyguard to protect her from the petro-thugs.
Jason Kenney, for one, has relied on often incendiary oratory to get supporters riled up against the Liberal government in Ottawa, which he blames for trying to kill the oil industry. (Even though it bought a pipeline.) But a phalanx of conservative premiers has railed against the dangers of climate measures that will “kill the economy.” The doubt these politicians have sowed in the minds of the public may be having an effect. A recent survey by the firm Ipsos found nearly half of those polled thought scientists were elitists whose findings they discounted because they don’t align with their personal beliefs. Other polls have shown that people believe climate change is real but don’t want to sacrifice much to reverse its effects – a result no doubt influenced by the words of politicians who have convinced many Canadians that measures such as a carbon tax are a mere money grab that will have no measurable impact on GHG emissions.
Mason concludes by observing how quickly we praise Greta Thunberg and her good works and then, just as quickly, put all that out of our minds and, like moths, are drawn to the lanterns of Scheer and Trudeau.

This is a Potemkin campaign with everyone convincingly painted up to appear as someone or something that they're not. That's true of Scheer and Trudeau. It's also true of "late to the party" Jagmeet Singh who can't even get Rachel Notley to say she'll vote for him this time round. I've listened to Jagmeet and I'm convinced he's a very slick and opportunistic bullshitter, not that it's going to matter. Singh may have, pardon the term, found "Climate Jesus" but the New Dem rank and file haven't shown much sign they're with him.

So I will dutifully cast my ballot on October 21 but I don't think I'll waste my time watching the returns.  Maybe I'll dust off my Indiana Jones DVDs and make a night of it.


rumleyfips said...

Punditry today weeps and wails about the format. The dirty little secret here is that ' sound and fury signifying nothing ' is what the media sees as good TV. They got what they wanted.

I watched the first hour. Immediately I was surprised when Singh, Blanchet and Bernier piled onto Sheer. Everyscribe expected them to go for Trudeau.

Singh came across well but a lot of that was our racism underestimating him.

Blanchet was a bit deja vueish. This is the second time we wonder why the rest of Canada can't have leaders like to Bloc has.

Bernier ran around like an angry toy poodle biting everybody's ankles but too small to hurt anyone.

I'm sure her handlers instructed May not to be shrill and unfocused; but she was.

Trudeau was quiet presumably unwilling to say anything that could give the others ammunition.

The best comment I heard was that the winner was Raj's hair.

Votewise. Who lost ground : May, Sheer, Bernier. Who gained : Blanchet . Who stayed even : Singh, Trudeau.

Sheer looked uncomfortable and made it worse with a bad haircut and a poorly fitting suit. His aggressive interuptions are just the thing a lot of people
tune out.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks for the recap, Rumley, subjective as these things always are. It doesn't sound as though I missed anything significant.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, too bad you've tuned out of the election. Disengagement doesn't suit you, in my opinion. Probably why you're dead wrong on Singh, you haven't been paying attention, preferring to feel you're above the fray.

Haven't watched a leaders'debate in years, but this time considering the Environment I decided to force myself to tune in -- mostly on radio, but with occasional looks at TV to see the mostly lying faces. The whole thing was a shambles. Scheer doubled-down on dull-witted Con policy the world over, but spent the time mostly trying to "git" that Trudeau fellow. I found Scheer incredibly rude -- why bother answering that first question from a citizen? Not when you've got the chance to lambast Trudeau, so screw you, citizen. What moderation on his rant? None was evident.

Trudeau anointed himself Climate Angel, May was shouted over, Blanchet thought xenphobic racism was fine because 70% of Quebecers think it is, and Bernier needs committing.

Only one class act on stage -- Singh. The only one who told the two main protagonists the issue was about Canada;s future, not dredging up ancient history on each other. I hired enough dozens of people over my career to know who's with it, who can think on their feet, who doesn't exaggerate. May is earnest, the rest are opportunistic pols who pad their resumes, a distinctly common trait from my experience. And so easy to spot, I almost made it a sport to dig it up. Worst case? A Librarians who thought they were qualified to be a technologist and got uppity about zero qualifications - apparently I was supposed to hire them, train them and put them through school. Right. Disconnect from the reality of life sums up Trudeau, Scheer and Bernier, the latter possibly clinically so.



The Mound of Sound said...

BM, it's not so much that I'm "above the fray." I just don't want to get it on my shoes.

Gyor said...

Remind those who didn't watch it that it's available still on YouTube. They can still watch it. Awkward timing as such is not an acceptable excuseexcuse when it and the first Maclean's debates are still on line.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thanks, Gyor. I'll take that under advisement.

the salamander said...

... we came back from the Leaf' losing effort.. caught the condensed highlights.. and filled my boots (H/T Mound) via Twitter.. and misc TV and a few coherent indy blogs.. A whole lot of rehearsed zingers, pablum, talking points and rude talking over each other..

What was there to glean ? Every Party claims their horsey won the dreary race.. and that was the point of so much of Mainstream News.. not the content or lack of.. but 'who won' .. My summary is nobody.. I learned little or nothing

I did learn Andrew Scheer will never find a suit that fits his ever expanding fatness.. and he should avoid full body profile shots.. and let his hair grow. Personally, I find him destestable. Will get my vote when hell freezes over, if then.Trudeau managed to be somewhat spontaneous without uttering his trademark 'ah' or 'uh's.. in every phrase.. a dreadful speech impediment. Singh.. calmly glib as all get out, but so what. Ms May a typical performance.. well spoken, Bernier I find appalling, Quebec dude.. ? He may lead the swing of this election .. in Quebec !

Nothing really inspired me.. Despite all those moderators.. all the prep, hype etc etc, the scope of today's issues in Canada seemed to get lip service. Did anyone talk about remediation? Saving our wild salmon ? Raw sewage dumping in rivers ? Potable clean water in remote reserves ? Government corruption and capture ? Wealth distribution ? Procurement ? .. Lobbyists ? We got 'black or brown' face & Lavalin.. Anyone ask re Scheer's plan to strip CPP or Old Age Pension ? Election Canada being re-empowered re 'dark money' ? How to curb renegade Provincial Premiers.. Privatization, or investigate Political Party databases ?

Why can I think of these things.. but Main Media does not.. ?