Monday, October 21, 2019

While You Focus on Who Should Govern, Suzuki and Lewis Talk About Storming Parliament

Stephen Lewis and David Suzuki have joined forces. They've concluded that what ails Canada won't be solved at the ballot box. Michael Harris writes that it may be time to storm Parliament.

The postmortem of national elections usually comes after voting day.

But the first reading of the entrails of Election 2019 is already in — at least on the mother of all issues, climate change. It was performed by a pair of public policy soul whisperers, David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis. 
Their conclusion? 
The politicians and the media continue to bellyflop on the climate change crisis. Though their rhetoric acknowledges the need to lower the planet’s fossil fuel-induced fever, politicians and the media still have their eyes tightly shut against reality.
Suzuki's take.
“It’s clear the media still act as if climate is an issue subservient to the economy. When the Green Agenda was released, the first question was how she [Elizabeth May] will pay for it? It’s a crisis for Christ’s sake, like Japan attacking Pearl Harbour! You have to win regardless of cost, but I am sure the savings will be huge, the opportunities immense. But the fossil fuel industry will have to be shut down.
...With the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the UN now giving humanity just a dozen years to get it right, Suzuki’s mission has taken on a new urgency. 
So Suzuki decided to mount up like Don Quixote and take one last tilt at what a lot of people still see as a windmill — the world’s lacklustre response to global warming. Never mind that Suzuki is 83 and well into what he calls the “death zone” in his public speeches. There is a planet to save, and what better time to get your message out than in the middle of a federal election?
...Suzuki simply loves Lewis, a champion of fighting AIDS in Africa and all-round prodigy of humanitarianism. But he also knew that Lewis was 81 and in poor health. Suzuki being Suzuki, he asked anyway. Lewis being Lewis, he agreed. 
Though Lewis is mostly known for his political, diplomatic and humanitarian career, he is no slouch on the climate file. Back in 1988, prime minister Brian Mulroney asked him to chair what was up to then the largest gathering in Canada of climatologists, economists, and activists looking into environmental issues.
...And so two of Canada’s iconic octogenarians hit the road with their message, visiting five Canadian cities — Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Their mission was to scare the pants off anything that had pants on the subject of climate change.

...And they tried to reinforce their five-alarm warning that we’re all running out of time, saying that if the best our politicians can do is argue about carbon taxes and pipelines, we will all end up like the citizens of Pompeii after Mount Vesuvius blew. Buried metres under the ashes of our ignorance. 
Suzuki and Lewis put it this way in a joint quote: 
“The best scientists in the world are telling us we have just a few years to dramatically cut emissions to avoid the most frightening aspects of climate change. Our message to Canadians and political parties is clear: We must work together to put the climate first in this critical election.”
Sadly, the message didn't get through. The proof is that either Andrew Scheer or Justin Trudeau with Jagmeet Singh as his sidekick will be forming our next government. Either way that's proof that climate is by no means first in this all-too critical election.

The Letdown.
The two warhorses exchanged letters after the dust of their tour settled. Suzuki holed up at his cabin in B.C. with his two daughters and their families. He went fishing but there were no salmon. So they dropped their prawn traps into the water hoping for a shrimp feast. As for the tour and its effect on the election, Suzuki was disappointed and said so in a letter to Lewis: 
“Greta [Thunberg] and the huge marches in Montreal, Vancouver and around the world should have been a turning point for governments everywhere. Yet the media act as if it’s all stale news. Hell, I don’t think that any of the media even bothered to cover our events to report what we had said. I am stunned at the vicious attacks on Greta.” 
While his friend retreated to his cabin after their tour, Stephen Lewis “boycotted” his computer so that he and his wife Michele could take one of their grandsons to the Stratford Festival over the long weekend. Like Suzuki, Lewis had a faint sense of letdown, acknowledging that “the media paid little attention to the events themselves.”
Time For an Uprising.
Suzuki had hoped that the Climate First Tour would be the end of his exertions on behalf of the planet. In reality, he and Lewis are already talking about their next collaboration — taking over Ottawa. 
“The other approach I would like to see is continued strikes (another big one is planned for November) and work towards an actual takeover of the Parliamentary buildings by youth. They could then conduct Parliament based on priorities for future generations and make decisions and pass laws to mandate reductions, etc. Of course, it would all be for show,” Suzuki said, “but I think it would be stunning if they forced their way in and acted as if they had the power.” 
What else would you expect from a force of nature posing as an octogenarian cruising the shady boulevards of the Death Zone?


the salamander said...

.. WoW .. these are men ! A stunning post.. made my day.. on Election Day.. a five minute stroll to vote, in/out in five minutes.. school kids screaming at recess.. I had my Irish on, if you catch my drift.. what a pleasant day.. Boss holds to her prediction.. Trudeau majority .. she the only poll I respect.. the rest can shove it .. we don't speculate round here.. or give credence to gossiip or weak assed Main Media, bingo cards, exit polls.. the poll fandango.. My ballot was marked clearly in pensil.. I put it in the ballot box, no machine needed thanks. read em & weep.. aint no real champs today.. But Canadians will lose..

Owen Gray said...

Something tells mr that -- regardless of how things turn out -- anger will boil over.

The Mound of Sound said...

I hope it does boil over, Owen. I've voted Green for a while now but never more proudly than this year. This time I wasn't voting for myself. I wasn't voting for my preferred political "team." It wasn't tribal.

I cast my vote for those to whom this election means the most, those for whom it has the greatest, gravest consequences. I voted for those who don't get a vote including those who won't get a vote in the next runoff either.

My brother has three grandkids. One born this year, one a year earlier. By the time the next election comes round that youngest will be five. Then nine. Then 13 and one more makes 17. That kid isn't going to get a voice at the ballot box until his future has been written, indelibly.

We're the people deciding the fate of those kids without a thought for them. That's our greatest responsibility and damn few will shoulder it. The parties we elect certainly won't.

Northern PoV said...

The election result is about as good as we could expect under the circumstances. fptp is a fact. If parties like the Greens and NDP can't do some writ period cooperation, we're guaranteed the Lib/Con nightmare indefinitely. (It might not work but last night's dogs-breakfast is not working either.)
Calling for "an actual takeover of the Parliamentary buildings by youth."
(Old generals sending their young recruits into the breach?)
It will happen the day after the US Senate convicts Donald tRump.

Berger wrote about the difference between public theatre/display vs revolutionary protests. It makes good reading.
Nutschell: Our Climate Strike is the former while current HK situation is the latter.