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.