Friday, December 06, 2019

Conspicuous by Its Absence

There was a glaring omission in yesterday's Throne Speech. One word that never crossed Ms. Payette's lips - "emergency." Isn't that curious? Like a growing number of nations, our government just a matter of months ago proclaimed a climate emergency to exist in Canada.

Emergency is a word that conveys something dire, an urgent threat. Emergencies go to the very top of the priority list. That's because they're emergencies. When your house catches fire that becomes more important than mopping the floors or washing the car or cutting the lawn. When you're in an emergency you do what you must, not what you may or may not feel like, but what the emergency demands.  The fire sets your agenda, not the weeds in the flower beds.

So, what about our emergency? What emergency? What would be the logical measures we might expect if our government considered climate change an emergency threatening Canada and the Canadian people?

Would the government, already running substantial deficits, be promising tax breaks? Who cuts taxes in a period of emergency? No, of course not. In an emergency you marshal your resources, you mobilize your people, you harness your industry to do what you must.

In an emergency you try to avoid doing things that make matters worse. You don't squander your resources on annual subsidies to the world's most profitable industries, the fossil energy giants. You don't pretend to cut emissions at home while doing your utmost to ramp up emissions overseas. That's what you call counter-intuitive. The more vulgar of us have a different term - horse shit.
...while the Government takes strong action to fight climate change, it will also work just as hard to get Canadian resources to new markets, and offer unwavering support to the hardworking women and men in Canada’s natural resources sectors
I don't dispute that we're in a grave emergency. That much is unquestionable. While it obviously has made no impression on our government, the latest report from the Potsdam boys - Rockstrom, Schellnhuber, et al - was jarring. They warned that we have probably already triggered six or more major climate tipping points. We have awakened the Sleeping Giant, nature itself. Now nature is actively adding its considerable heft to man-made climate change and its just getting started. We used to have a term for that. What was it? Oh yeah, we called it "runaway climate change." Runaway as in beyond our control, irreversible. Emergency.

Mr. Trudeau has declared, promised, vowed that Canada will be carbon-neutral by 2050. As if. One thing this prime minister has demonstrated is that he's a windbag, a regular Janus. He's a man not to be taken at his word.


Lorne said...

It will be very, very interesting to see how opposition parties who claim to understand the scope of the emergency proceed with this government, Mound.

Spoiler Alert: I am not expecting much, if anything, from them.

The Mound of Sound said...

I agree, Lorne. The 'campaign fund' cupboard is bare in most camps and nobody wants to be blamed for triggering an unwanted election.

The saddest part is that our predicament, which I place largely at the feet of Trudeau for breaking his pledge of electoral reform, also ensures that our purported 'climate emergency' will fade into obscurity - until something really, really calamitous befalls us.

the salamander said...

.. count me among the 'more vulgar' .. and as a beef farm raised Canadian & a horseman to boot.. 'I know shit' .. oh yes I do. I know when its shoveled or forked, piled even higher or ready to spread on a winter cornfield. I know liquid manure, and chicken shit too. Goose I know it. But horseshit is my fave.. it means I'm around the horses. Unless of course its coming from politicians.. in steaming chunks. At some point I simply recognize all the shit as sewage - ie from an overused septic tank system. Or the loaded toxins being dumped in our famous Alberta tailings ponds.

I simply must hear more about 'the negotiations' between the Feds - Trudeau and the Alberta Prov - Kenney to allow 'venting' of the tailings ponds into the adjacent Athabaska river system. Is this an 'emergency' ? Where can Albertans or other Canadians find out the scope of this 'venting' ? First of all .. is it true ? Is it true that 'we' (the Canadian electorate) are being left in the dark by 'our' elected public servants Trudeau, Kenney et al. Upon what 'science' could this kind of pollution extension and diffusion policy be based ? Who is in charge of this process or .. pollution pathway. When did our great river and water systems become convenient dumping grounds ? By who's order ? Does this plan or so called 'need' for venting indicate that the amount of daily seepage and leakage is no longer able to keep up with the toxic input ? Is there fear of explosive collapse ? We need answers.. we do not need more horseshit ..

The Mound of Sound said...

Sal, "venting" may be a euphemism for leaking. Those tailing ponds have been leaking into nearby rivers and through the groundwater for years. Sometimes in urban areas torrential rainstorms can cause sewage to "vent" from sanitary sewers into storm sewers or even into nearby basements.

Give Kenney his due. He stared down the prime minister and, as he expected, Trudeau folded.

Anonymous said...

Canada is way behind in calling Climate Change what it is....Climate Emergency. Even behind South Korea for heavens sake.

The Mound of Sound said...

What Canada calls it is insignificant. It's what Canada does that matters and, so far, there's little sign that the government truly considers it an "emergency."