Reply to the CBC’s Letter to the West

east-vs-westThe CBC published Robert Fraser’s Letter to the West: Let’s put aside the climate change thing for a bit and focus on some realities. I believe that it’s Eastern Canada that needs to put aside climate change; if that is Fraser’s point, he’s made a good start. What does he believe the realities are that we should focus on?

I’m one of the people many of you in Alberta and Saskatchewan likely despise. Yep, I plugged my nose and strategically voted Liberal on election day. I don’t think much of our prime minister. Though well-intentioned, he doesn’t seem to have the intellect or vision of his father. And we could all use some of that in these complex times.

So despite the fact that you see Trudeau as dull and directionless, you voted for his party. This seems foolish. I don’t agree that his intentions toward average Canadians are good. The SNC Lavalin scandal indicates that he is an elitist.

I’ve lived in Ontario all of my adult life and I’ll soon be 60. Never worked in the public sector. Never had a unionized job. Always a wage slave lining the pockets of my corporate masters to keep my family afloat.

Were you forced to work for your “corporate masters”? No? Then you weren’t a slave. You were free to start your own business, but you chose to let others take the risks. I have no problem with that choice (I’ve made it too), but don’t blame your decision to earn a safe income rather than risking everything to try to make a fortune on “corporate masters”.

Back in the ’90s it didn’t matter who you voted for – free trade and NAFTA were being pushed on us like Buckley’s cough syrup (tastes bad, but it works). Even Jean Chrétien caved after Bill Clinton told him it wasn’t negotiable. The ink wasn’t even dry on these radical trade deals when the jobs started disappearing. Lots of them.

And yet you continue to vote for the Liberal establishment, who are 100% behind these globalist trade deals.

As I recall, we lost around 200,000 manufacturing jobs in Ontario during that miserable decade and beyond. Unlike the “boom and bust” oil jobs out West, we knew our jobs were never coming back. Adjustments were made. Families sold the second car, made do on one income for long periods of time. Frequently there were no incomes.

And yet you continue to vote for the same crony capitalists responsible.

Even today, the skeletons of the old manufacturing plants are all around us in Ontario. I know the anguish you’re feeling in the West.

And yet you continue to vote for the same crony capitalists responsible.

The sad reality is that earning a decent living isn’t a right in this world — it’s a rare privilege.

I agree that it isn’t a right, but that doesn’t mean we should support those who actively make it more difficult to earn a decent living.

People out West like to work and earn a decent living, just as we do elsewhere in Canada. No argument there. But I never heard anyone in Ontario say that the source of our troubles lay elsewhere in Canada.

Because it didn’t. The people of Ontario voted in the very politicians who exported their jobs to the third world. At the time, there were two populist parties that put Canadian’s ahead of global corporations: the New Democrats, and the Reform party. Ontarian’s voted for neither.

Let’s put aside the climate change thing for a bit and focus on some realities. The truth is, the pipelines are stuck in the courts. In Canada, the government doesn’t get to do an end-run around the law — just ask Justin Trudeau how that SNC Lavalin affair turned out.

SNC Lavalin was corrupt cronyism. The pipeline is a national infrastructure project. The government creates laws. If the will is there, they can make the pipeline happen.

What if the pipeline cases wind up in favour of the First Nations folks? All of that oilsands crude will stay landlocked. Any politician who tells you the government trumps the courts is a liar.

The government can amend our laws at any time. They can even alter our constitution, or simply override it using the “not withstanding” clause. Who is the liar here?

Another truth is that the good times in the oilpatch were going to come to a grinding halt within a generation or so anyway. The supply isn’t endless, and there’s a good reason we’re now mining oilsands and drilling offshore to incredible depths.

Just because the oil industry will eventually decline doesn’t mean we should walk away from it. There is more oil in the oil sands than there ever was in Saudi Arabia.

The smart money is getting out of oil. Even Saudi Arabia is desperately trying to diversify its economy away from oil.

And yet today, we are still largely dependent on oil and gas. In the short term, it is essential to the world economy.

Our misguided government bought the Trans Mountain pipeline project because no one taking the long view of the industry wanted it. The world will eventually run out of petroleum and you won’t be passing along those great jobs to your grandchildren.

The government was forced to buy the pipeline because the company that would have expanded and maintained it walked away when their life was made too miserable.

And about that climate-change thing: Yes, I’m one of them. I drive an electric car. It cost me $40,000 after a $14,000 rebate from Ontario (before Premier Ford). I haven’t spent a dime on gas in two years and the car blows the doors off most on the road. More and more people are going to realize that the benefits of going electric go far beyond reducing CO2 emissions.

And how will the poor afford a $54,000 car? That $14,000 gifted to you was taken from government programs that could have benefited them, like public transit. How is that a good thing?

That said, the climate-change thing is important. I checked this out with a calculator and it’s about right: If the world is a basketball, all that is precious to us — the deepest oceans to the thinnest air above us — is in the skin of that basketball. We will change our energy system or give our grandchildren a legacy of death, it’s that simple.

So what? This is the dumbest argument for climate change that I’ve ever heard. How does the relative size of the biosphere imply that changing it will create a “legacy of death”? Appealing to the fate of our grandchildren is rich when coming from someone who voted for politicians who are actively saddling them with massive debt.

The Liberal plan is to build pipelines and use the royalties to invest in green projects. What a great strategy: The house is on fire, and we’re literally going to pour gasoline on the fire and hope this will make enough money to buy a hose to hook up to the hydrant before everything burns down.

The house is not on fire. As pointed out by Moody’s (see Global Warming: Crisis? What Crisis?), warming is actually economically beneficial for the average Canadian. Using the income from an existing product to fund the development of the next is sound strategy.

There’s hope for all of us, though: I read an article saying that a smart company is investing $200 million into wind farming in Alberta, for example. It’s a start. The world is going to have to transition to alternative energy very quickly, and you need to get a jump on it.

Wind power is great, but will never generate more than a fraction of the power we need. If you’re serious about moving to a green alternative, we have nuclear power. Alberta is rich in uranium as well as oil, and Canada has developed one of the safest designs for the fission reactor, the CANDU reactor.

And it’s high time we make the privileged wealthy people and companies help pay for it. With privilege comes responsibility.

Spoken like a true socialist. In the words of Walter E. Williams, “Let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you – and why?” If you want companies to help pay, why not vote for someone like Maxime Bernier, who pledges to stop corporate welfare?

I want our government to insist Bombardier sets up a mass transit manufacturing plant in Edmonton next time we write them a big fat cheque. I want to see Saskatchewan entrepreneurs get grants to set up wind power projects over those vast grain farms. I want the West to lead the way in the new transition. And I want Canada to lead the world.

Bombardier is a private company. We should not be writing them cheques, fat or otherwise. Why should we use tax money to fund wind power projects in Saskatchewan? Will it make a significant difference in our emissions? Wouldn’t the money be better spent on transit?

Charles Darwin said it best: Evolution doesn’t favour the strongest — it favours the ones who best adapt to change.

And yet you vote for the globalist/corporatist status quo. They are the least able to adapt successfully. We need a lean government to do so, not a bloated bureaucracy. Living in British Columbia, where the Liberals still enjoy some support in metropolitan Vancouver (they managed to hold on to my riding), I don’t have a dog in the Alberta vs. Ottawa fight. I find this letter to nearly perfectly sum up the reason that the conflict exists in the first place:

You can’t simultaneously say that the government is powerless and that we should use the power of the government to force companies to do what we want. You can’t call for an end to fossil fuels and then expect the poor to do without because they can’t afford the expensive vehicle that you can. You can’t call for green energy but ignore nuclear power, which is currently the only viable source that can supply 100% of our electricity “greenly”. As such a hypocrite, how do you expect to convince anyone?

About jimbelton

I'm a software developer, and a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, and I blog about movies, books, and philosophy. My interest in religious philosophy and the search for the truth inspires much of my writing.
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