The Epistle of Q — Chapter 146 (b)

More, yes more…After the Convention

As the Convention fades from my memory bit by bit, I have come to a rather frightening conclusion. Conspiracy theories usually start from a fact. In this case I am reflecting on the media coverage in the aftermath of the vote I referenced in the last portion of this Chapter. I have been unable to find one report that accurately covered the motion itself and the implications of the vote. In fact in the local paper the headline actually read: Convention Overrules O’Toole. Interesting bit of political misunderstanding which reflects far too often the general laziness of today’s media. Anyone who had taken even a basic Canadian political structures course in high school (and paid attention) would know that while conventions help shape the party’s overall policy intentions, they do not force the party leadership into a particular mold. In fact, anyone watching the most recent American election or following any Canadian political party for at least a fortnight would know that even election promises are oxymorons.

While the vote on climate change was interesting to some, the really significant issue should have been much deeper. Who was managing the agenda of the convention? Why was such a convoluted motion even given a place on the docket? There is absolutely no margin in today’s world for a political party to argue in this country that perhaps the debate on Climate Change needs a thoughtful re-think. Canadians have been well sold that we are going to hell in a hand-basket if we don’t shut down the oil sands (oh, but by the way, keep Line 5 open because Ontario and Québec need its products). No one is permitted to even suggest that as temperatures rise we might actually become a bigger bread basket than the USA as more land will become arable and productive. No one can propose artificial icefloes to assist the polar bears. No one can discuss using the Port of Churchill and the northern passage as a Canadian economic corridor. And most of all, no one can have a conversation about some of the quiet statements out of NASA that suggest the sun, the earth’s wobbly tilt, and other such phenomenon may be the biggest influencers on our climate.

And one is immediately called a neanderthal if it is suggested that perhaps we should look at a thousand or two thousand year (or more) pattern of temperatures and see how it all compares. And of course there is the other elephant rampaging: carbon dioxide is a pollutant. The very thing we need for green plants to live, is now being labelled pollution. And it is further being confused with carbon itself. It’s like water being aligned with hydrogen and suddenly we need to reduce hydrogen because there’s too much in the atmosphere.

So why would a convention organizer even tolerate the idea of having a conversation at this point on Climate Change? Erin O’Toole should be thanked by the party members for immediately dismissing the conversation. If you want to win an election these days in Canada, have a strong Provincial Public Health Officer (who by the way, is a public servant and should never have to be the face of anything – can you imagine a financial crisis where the Deputy Minister of Finance does all the news briefings?), and be a loud proponent for shutting down our biggest assets and suggest it is time for a great re-set. Don’t worry about promises, don’t panic about ethics, don’t even worry about conventions. From O’Toole’s perspective he has dealt with the last item. He now has to get off the second because the majority of Canadians don’t care. And then address in a thoughtful way some alternatives going forward that could be reasonable political promises. And here are some I am going to suggest would be interesting to hear him promote:

First: acknowledge the validity of shutting down Line 5, and recommending an immediate plan to strengthen shipping of oil via Port of Churchill (rail & then ship to Saint John) as phase one of developing a new energy corridor through the prairies and Northern BC to that Port.

Second: acquire sufficient tankers and develop on-loading facilities at Thunder Bay and off-loading facilities at Sarnia, to provide a second shipping corridor that by-passes Line 5.

Third: Recommend a cross-sectional, inter-disciplinary panel of key provincial and federal officials to re-examine the validity of Energy East, complete with the concept of an energy corridor from the West through Northern Ontario to a Hardisty Alberta-Type terminus between Sudbury and North Bay that could then service Ontario & Québec.

Fourth, ask for a delay of five years in the closure of Line 5 (having now demonstrated there are alternatives) although for political purposes, ask that it be shut down for three months to help Ontario and Québec fully appreciate the value of the West. Oh, and at the same time, ban all tankers except those flagged in Canada from sailing on the eastern seaboard into the St. Lawrence (sailing the other way will be permitted but only if carrying Canadian oil products).

Fifth: Promise a great re-set that actually will examine all the hypotheses currently in vogue about the economy and the environment whereby representatives from universities (but none that get any funding from environmental or corporate donors), big and small business (but not any directly involved in resource development), trade schools, service clubs (so no not-for-profits from either the environmental or economic realm), as well as high school students (although no jocks or nerds are permitted) and a cross-section of faith-based organizations (although none who have sponsored terrorism or anti-pandemic policies). In other words, a group of middle of the road Canadians who can actually be counted on to research thoughtfully and proactively in a way that might best look for a world for their grandkids that would be survivable.

Put these five promises out there and let us have a conversation. Let’s hear what the others have to say in defence of their positions. Let them not try to change the subject. Let’s find out just how many are ready this May to go without fuel in the East, to continue to listen only to the extremes on the right and on the left. Don’t waste any more time on WE – so what if they paid political dynasties monies, people have to live a lifestyle that perhaps their political jobs didn’t cover! Don’t waste time on the overspending of CERB, CRA can figure it out and while they are engrossed in that they can fix the federal computer pay problems. And don’t worry about the pandemic – we know now that it was Mulroney who is at fault (never mind that the Connaught Labs are producing most of the flu vaccines we need annually) and besides the viruses will be with us forever and we just need to learn to live with them and heal people who get sick (remember, my Mother told us this a year ago…of course she was born in PEI and grew up in Saskatchewan and graduated from Sick Kids in TO so what could she possibly know, especially at 103 which she was at the time!).

So there you have it. One result of the Convention that has yet to be adequately covered in the mainstream media, but you now are informed. You are out in front of the election. Go to your local CPC Candidate and suggest that you have a solid alternative, a positive perspective, an opportunity for a conversation that you believe s/he should take to the streets with, to twitter about, to instagram or facebook with glee, to share far and wide in the constituency.

As for me… I am going to reflect a bit more and then give you some additional feedback from the convention (especially about the post-pandemic financial mess). And if I remember I will share with you an e-mail exchange I had with the editor of a local paper. Have a great weekend, and if you care, have a thoughtful Palm Sunday

As always,