The Convention in Retrospect
While I don’t have all the results of the recently concluded convention, I thought I would begin my review of the event. Of course you may be a CBC listener in which case one of the prime news items related to a motion to endorse a particular slate of principles which included the statement we recognize that climate change is real. There was much more to it of course, including a preponderance of support for green technologies and related tax credits and the like. It was a bit of a rambling statement as it also referenced the need to create jobs as well as preserve the environment. It also talked about requiring binding targets on China and the USA. It implied that the federal government should also intrude into provincial affairs. I understand it was defeated; I don’t yet know by how much. The negative votes did include mine. I didn’t think it was a well thought out resolution. It was not because I don’t think that climate is changing.
However when I began to receive some comments from colleagues which suggested this was reason enough to vote anything but Conservative I began to ponder the entire question once more.
First of all, the leader of the party made it clear in his major speech to the convention that he would reject that resolution’s defeat anyway. From his perspective the debate on climate change is finished; the real challenge is to determine the best way forward. I give him credit for being more politically astute that perhaps others do. That particular vote at the Convention may represent rightfully some skepticism around the uneven science but in a woke world it won’t be a campaign plank. The masses have already spoken.
What do I mean by this? Well last autumn the NDP were elected in a BC election where they broke contracted promises, held back key reports (including one on the mismanagement of the Site C hydro dam project and another on their handling of Covid-19), and generally misled the voters. But they gave out lots of money and the masses ate up the pablum. O’Toole knows that – he is not going to lose the election on climate change.
But there is every likelihood at this moment, according to the polls, that he will lose. Why? Well I think I have an answer. The masses really do prefer bread and circuses. I have been told that if I vote Conservative that probably implies I have strong social conservative views, because those same people have heard people with those views have vied for leadership of the CPC (in fact, the previous leader actually was one such person and even though he said his views were personal and he would not bring it into his leadership role, people mocked him). If such reasoning is valid, then I must assume that those who vote Liberal are all unethical selfie addicts. The evidence is there that the current prime minister has been investigated and found wanting on several different conflict of interest issues. He actually has let his idea of ethics influence the way he governs and he has never been reprimanded by the populace. And if they vote him back into power, the masses will be no different that those south of the border who voted for Mr. Trump in spite of all the ethical shortcomings he displayed. His followers also preferred bread and circuses.
Sometimes life is funny. I’ve written before about my own skepticism around the current fad of global warming cum climate change. Fifty years ago I was told by scientists that earth was headed for an ice age, and when we would have a hot summer (I was living in the Okanagan Valley at the time) they would smugly say: Oh Sinclair, you have to take a look at the larger picture, see the data from at least two or three millennia. You can’t judge based on one year, one decade or even a couple of centuries! So while I remained skeptical I did better appreciate that perhaps life is as evolutionary as some of my high school and college science profs had argued. Now, of course, evolution is no longer preached by many in the science community. The horrors that await us will happen within a couple of decades – it’s a new form of creationism. The oceans will rise up, the ski hills will melt away, and Inuit will become farmers using the remaining few polar bears in place of oxen.
When Lake Superior freezes over it’s an anomaly; when we have a bad fire season it’s obviously because of climate change. So Erin O’Toole is not dumb. For this election he has no choice: climate change is settled, just like driving on the right hand side of the road. Doesn’t mean the conversation is over; just means that the majority believe it is and he can read the tea-leaves.
In the days ahead I will reflect more on the Convention. But for the moment, know that I found it interesting and informative. There are some people in the party who possess ideas that I wonder about, but then they wondered about me. There were many more people who are thoughtful, believe in the future of this country, come from incredibly diverse backgrounds, and really do want to make the world a better place. I am not sure what it all means, but I will explore it with you and you can make your own interpretation. If you are a one issue person, sobeit… I will try to cover as many of the key issues as I can so I can converse on yours. That’s the advantage we have living in a democracy – we are still allowed to have conversations even if we aren’t allowed to do so in person.