Head In The Tarsand

When an out of control fire roars toward you, it’s totally fine to stick your head (and the rest of you) into the sand, in a fireproof shelter preferably. After the fire passes, you’ve got to come out and ask what the heck happened, and why.

Facebook has been bustling with people talking about the tragic fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. The partially razed city is the epicenter or Mecca of Canadian Conservative politics (not Calgary which is simply the more urbanized version of Fort Mac and area). It’s been booming for years and years, but with the glut of OPEC oil, and the resulting price slump, it’s been going bust. The ravages of fire are kicking a city that already is down and maybe on its way out.

The Politically Correct thing in Conservative western Canada is to not mention the fire’s connection to the global disaster For Mac is infamous for contributing to: climate change. For the love of dog, don’t you dare mention holding an opinion that we should use much much less oil. You might as well suggest someone breathe less deeply, when you see the insult on their face for having suggested it. After all, you breathe too, so why would you say such a thing?

Conservatives preach about “personal responsibility”, no? There are victims of crimes and perpetrators of them, and everyone else. In a crime against an oppressed demographic, observe how many people suggest her clothing was a contributing factor; personal responsibility, eh? Claiming the Fort Mac refugees are completely blameless for their economic situation is an affront to Conservative values and saying they don’t deserve compassion and help from government is an affront to socialist values. There’s a middle ground available somewhere between shutting up, and praying your heart out on Facebook.

Saying the fire is unrelated to politics and our economy is what politicized the tragedy.
Suggesting there is no cause also implies we can’t mitigate it to stop future evacuations.

The following is from Facebook, in response to some of these thought listed above.

Elizabeth Todd:The NDP government in Alberta just cut millions in forest fire budget. As SK did before our wildfires last year. When climate scientists have been predicting droughts and increased wildfires.

And to make up for the costs of these events our government made cuts to education and health care. This is just shitty planning that they can get away with because it is politically incorrect to talk root causes and how we plan to address issues. It is political that we are paying for climate change disasters with frontline workers, cuts to research chairs, and cuts to maintenance workers.

Its political to ignore the causes of these events. It’s also not very political, but very human to want to find out why something awful happened in order to prevent it from happening to more people.

The boreal and other forests around the world are burning like this, McMurray isn’t the exception, this is going to become the new rule if we don’t get serious about a transition to green energy.

And yes, it’s not really the workers in the patch, but they do tend to vote for oil politicians in droves and so do their families and communities because the oilfield companies frame environmental concerns as attacks on workers. Which is very effective.

And even if they don’t vote for oil politicians, the NDP is still promoting pipelines- infrastructure that guarantees decades of tar sands expansion.

Guilt is useless and a conversation around whether we- I myself, you over there- are dependent on fossil fuels doesn’t mean we have to consent to this kind of future or should feel guilty if we use the stuff. We are politically and economically hooked on it and our current state of politics has us debating whether our dependence on oil means we have to be ok with it, rather than planning the transition in our communities and demanding the government support these plans.

Its also just difficult to read about evacuees being hosted in Fort McKay and being surprised to learn that the First Nation there can’t drink their water due to fossil fuel development.

This moment of crisis goes back much further than the city of Fort McMurray burning and the moment we can move from a debate about whether we should have this debate, to a debate about what we are going to do about the issues will be the moment I actually believe that the chorus of people de-politicizing this moment actually give a damn about what happened to the people in McMurray.

Empathy without analysis and strategy is just charity. It wont stop the next blaze.

We could hold our comments about the destruction of another Canadian community in reverence of the families hurt, and for political correctness, or we could simply start talking about another tragedy contributed to by poor planning, budget cuts, and our non-renewable, fossil fuel economy driven global crisis. Lac Megantic, Slave Lake, La Ronge, which disaster shall it be if not the relevant one going on now in Fort Mac?

Look At Who They Leap

“Scientists Warn of Perilous Climate Shift Within Decades, Not Centuries” – NYT

What are we going to do about it? Let’s pillory the people with the only plan capable of decarbonizing the economy in time, says Canadian MainStream[Corporate]Media.

“Naomi Klein and the usual cadre of left-wing reliables want the NDP to ..” – National Post

Looking at the issue with a longer view, you’ll come to realize Engler’s opinion must win over the ad hominem attacks on Leap supporters.

Across Canada for the past three days the right wing media has been attacking the NDP for passing a resolution agreeing to “discuss” over the next two years the Leap Manifesto, a common sense document that calls for taking global warming seriously, actually doing what is necessary to prevent our planet from being cooked and trying to create a better world while we attempt to ensure our collective survival.

“These ideas will never form any part of our policy,” Notley said Monday. “They are naive, they are ill-informed, and they are tone-deaf.” – Notley in CBC

“Her Environment Minister, Shannon Phillips, called the document “ungenerous” and “short-sighted.” – Glib and Male

Short-sighted? Seriously!? What sort of environment minister thinks planning for a quick end to fossil fuel use is “short-sighted”? (One that is tone deaf, and forced to speak in short quips to minimize partisan twisting, I suppose.) Anyone with a long view realizes if we don’t build carbon-free systems right now, this decade, we’ve little chance of maintaining a climate responsible for supporting our civilization and countless species.

Lewis said jobs in the green economy can be created faster and in greater numbers than those in oil and gas.

“I think we as a Canadian family, we’re slipping into these deeply divisive ways of talking about these eternal tensions instead of focusing on what we can build together,” he said.

“And I think we could build new jobs in new industries for 10 years, put hundreds of thousands of people back to work across the country, before we need to have this … divisive debate about pipelines.”

Trusty Sun:

[…] many members of the federal NDP would like to adopt Naomi Klein’s Leap Manifesto at their convention.

This raises the question of whether many of them have read it. The Leap Manifesto, Klein’s eleventh-hour plunge into the climate change debate says, among other things,…

Macleans:

Avi Lewis on the ‘ideological battle’ over the Leap Manifesto
Avi Lewis on the climate crisis, Naomi Klein, and how he didn’t mean to ‘blow up the NDP convention’

The media is clearly making this about the people leading the ideas in Leap, not whether they are sound ideas or likely to be effective at creating the quick changes required to save our civilization. It’s all about Notley, Klein and Lewis, instead of carbon pollution, pipelines, economics, and our climate’s chances.

Wouldn’t you rather the media talk about the issue?

It’s Saskatchewan’s Election Day

I basically stopped writing about the Saskatchewan election on my blog following the hair pulling, anti-democratic decision by CBC and its consortium of TV broadcasters to block most party leaders from debating with Wall and Broten. So we’ll go another 4 years not knowing how those two shouty leaders behave when there are adults in the room with different political views and preferred methods of governing.

The campaign will not be memorable, as the media’s skewing of coverage can be summed up this way:

You could say the conservative media got what they set out to preserve. I hope they enjoy the next 4 years of more scandals and little positive change.

Saskatchewan Politicians Excusing Drunk Driving #SKdrunks

Darcy Moen, involved in a business solution to decrease drunk driving, sent me the following criticism of Wall and Broten:

As long as politicians think DUI’s are nothing more than parking tickets…….yes, attitudes need to change, and both Brad Wall and Cam Broten need to reconsider their support of the indefensible.

Sure, people faced the music, went to court, and paid their debt to society. But, we don’t allow people who were convicted of fraud become finance minister. Should we let those who are proven and convicted of poor judgement be put into a position where they can make the rules that they chose to ignore?
Everyone deserves a second chance? Tell that to the widows, widowers, parents and orphans that are the victims of drunk drivers, where is their second chance to come back to life taken from them?

Drunk driving is a decision, a very WRONG decision.

Brad Wall’s government is attempting to make alcohol sales and distribution easier, and is profiting from the sale and increased sale and accessibility, yet he has not made any plans to offset those gains with more responsible use of alcohol, nor has he plans to reduce the already way to high incidents of drunk driving that is sure to occur with more availability (and consumption). Why not move some of those profits into reducing drunk driving?

Mr Brad Wall, and if elected, Cam Broten, both need to take a hard look at this problem, and work to find solutions. Mr Wall is currently the man at the wheel, and his administration and crowns he controls have not been fair to the companies like Zero 8 that are also working hard to provide services to take drunk drivers off the road. SGI and the Minister responsible for SGI have been making and placing the majority of public service ads promoting bus rides, friends, and taxis as a means to a safe ride home, and very few ads include designated driver companies like Zero 8. When the Minister (June) was asked why she could not include designated driver companies like Zero 8 Designated Drivers, she said a crown corporation could not promote for profit enterprises. What the heck is a taxi service? Its a FOR PROFIT Enterprise! The problem and complete misunderstanding and attitude reaches from the bottom, to the very top.

On a side note, the coverage of other registered parties with full slates in this election has been so pitiful. The revelation of how many convicted drunk drivers there are in both the Sask Party and NDP, prompted the media to attempt to be fair by asking the other parties if they too had convicted criminals in their ranks.

Saskatchewan Democracy’s Unsolved Problem Didn’t Fix Itself

Please show you support democracy in Saskatchewan.

Last Saskatchewan election, this happened instead thanks to our lackluster media ignoring the Greens who fielded a full slate of 58 candidates.

A snooze fest of a debate took place, and CBC couldn’t find anyone not involved in the broadcast who watched it. Basically it had the viewership my blog has on a Sunday morning.

I made some effort to fix the problem by showing the broadcasters there was public opposition to their method. Even newspaper columnists who usually have a rosy view of the world were disappointed in the prospects of the following four years.

Saskatchewan Royalty Is Oil?

The debate rages in Saskatchewan now about if federal money should go directly to oil companies and contractors capable of sealing defunct oil wells abandoned by irresponsible and ancient corporations. Those wells are left in the trust of our politicians, the people who tend to tell us that without oil jobs, Saskatchewan doesn’t amount to much.

Tucked away in our piggy bank is about $10 Million dollars, built up since 2007. I guess before then there was no plan to clean things up, or at least make those making the holes, pay for it. Wall’s savings are off by more than a factor of 10, because he wants over $156 Million to get the work done quickly.

Am I opposed to getting over a hundred million from the feds to clean up environmental disasters? Nope. Do I think taxpayers should bear the bulk of the burden? Heck no.

It’s clearly something oil companies both old and new should be doing for the rest of us, because of the reasons Scott lists in his video. Royalties should have been, and should now be paying for this sort of predictable mess. Budgeting of the past very clearly bequeathed this festering inheritance to us, and tough times in oil country are making it apparent just how much the Boomers and the Greatest Generation prepared for now.

Trudeau Man, I, Ahh… I Don’t Know

Canadians were so eager to get rid of Stephen Harper, they forgot they weren’t served very well by a mainstream party holding a majority on power the last 4 years.

*uncharacteristically crumples plan paper up into a ball and throws it in the garbage*
Me yesterday:

October 19, 2015 at 1:35 PM:

The alternate universe of sensible adults and fair outcomes would include a minority Parliament with Trudeau, Mulcair, and May all sharing the role of PM at different times over the next 4 years. But, we won’t get such an outcome, and are more likely to get [a Liberal minority without Harper in opposition].
If a Liberal majority, then status quo in a lot of ways for the next 4-5 years.

There’s too much change across the country to digest in one blog post about it all. I’m more optimistic about the future than in 2006 when Harper won, but I also have 9 years of experience, and the world has another decade lacking significant action to turn away from civilization destroying air pollution, and deforestation.

What is Trudeau going to do to inspire real changes? His advisers I don’t have much confidence in, sorry, I don’t. I hope he breaks party lines and appoints a few NDP MPs, and Elizabeth May to his cabinet, but that’s too much to hope for.