This past Saturday I joined about seventy folk attending Transition Sooke’s town hall meeting to discuss The Pact For a Green New Deal, a budding national movement. There was an enthusiastic response by the attendees as to what “a shared vision for what a Green New Deal could look like in Canada.” It was a great ‘group think’ outing addressing what could be accomplished nation wide if we could “push political leaders to act” — “to adopt these visionary policies in their platforms.”
Alas, I thought…for all of our good intentions, the corporate mindset of the two mainstream parties and an abiding and abetting corporate mainstream news narrative would seduce the Canadian electorate to once again support the status quo. A question that I have pondered for a long time is what individual actions we could take (short of being arrested and thrown in jail for protesting) to change the ‘status quo’?
How many of you voted for Justin Trudeau in the last federal election? It appeared for many voters that they felt they had a visionary leader who had our nations ‘best interests’ at heart. Driven by the adulation of the corporate mass media propaganda machine and the promise of open transparent government – Justin rode this wave of popularity. But now – four years later – what have we learned about him and the Liberal Party since. A lot of ‘phoney baloney ’…broken promises. To name a few, how about …
Proportional Representation – Shortly after being elected Prime Minister, Justin changed his mind about PR…said it would be bad for the country. Well, it’s also too bad for the voters who backed him to a majority government that they could not simply ‘change their minds’ and cancel or switch their vote and bring down the government.
Electoral polls have the NDP @ 15% and the Green Party @ 10% decided voters. The corporate backed Liberal/Conservative ‘coalition’ parties are relying on the NDP/Green supporters to split their electoral vote thus nullifying the aspirations of the New Green Deal. Will the NDP/Greens turn on each other or can they build a co-operative relationship that has a shared vision that both parties will honour?
First Nations reconciliation – “Indigenous leaders from across Canada say their trust in the Liberal government’s promise of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples has been broken and they’re looking for concrete action, soon, or it could mean punishment at the polls in October.” (Hill Times, April 8, 2019)
Most of the leadership sees Liberal Party policies as the usual sham politics…”the status quo continues.” What a crying shame that First Nations wisdom is scorned by our political leaders; that First Nations love of the sacred, the natural world – to protect it is ignored by the two traditional power-elite parties.
The SNC Lavalin Cover-up/controversy – two women of righteous conscious and courage, Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott… kicked out of the Liberal caucus for calling out the unethical behaviour of the Liberal Party leadership…for seeking a deferred prosecution for SNC Lavalin. And let’s not forget – the illegal campaign donations made by SNC-Lavalin to the Liberal Party that were never prosecuted.
Trans Mountain Corporation – Decades have passed and our political leaders were aware of the growing threat of climate change but they have un-earnestly only proffered half ass mediocre solutions that have now led them to declare last week in ‘words of earnest’ – that our nation faces a climate emergency!
The next day, to no one’s surprise, the ‘fossil fueled’ Liberal Party announces (again) that the Trans Mountain Crown Corporation’s $9.3 billion pipeline expansion is likely to begin in 2019 (some estimates put the expansion cost closer to $12 billion). Patrick McCully, of the Rainforest Action Network, likened the announcement to “declaring war on cancer and then announcing a campaign to promote smoking”.
Trudeau said building the project will help deliver Canadian oil to tidewater for shipment to lucrative markets in Asia and will ensure Canada is not dependent on selling its natural resources to one customer — the United States. To me, it’s like the neighbourhood crack dealer wanting to peddle its product to more lucrative markets, namely our friends and neighbours who live across the river.
Oil industry analysts also expect that new tar sands production will increase next year putting more pressure towards expanding the capacity of the pipeline. The Liberal government not only paid $4.4 billion to Kinder Morgan for the existing pipeline assets but also will now additionally spend $9 to $12 billion of taxpayer money…to build a pipeline? Should our tax dollars be directly supporting the fossil fuel industry?
Two other facts – the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (which manages $356 billion of our savings) shamefully continues to invest in the oil and gas industry. And the Parliamentary Budget Office has stated that the Liberal’s federal carbon pricing scheme should be double the rate if we our to hit our Paris Climate Agreement targets. It appears that the Liberal and Conservative Parties loyalties are beholden to the corporate culture of unlimited growth and profit driven investment.
One other thought… We’ve read about the growing success of the oil/gas divestment movement, which implores private investors to sell their stock holdings and not profit from ‘dirty oil’. But what about our major ‘chartered’ banks? They continue to bankroll oil and gas industry expansion. Our ‘privately owned’ major Canadian banking cartels continue this unethical practice. Business is good…after all…they’re not in the non-profit business…they are after all…profit driven… unconscionable acts pay good dividends. They are also…after all of your interest payments that you pay on your home mortgages and car loans and the service charges they deduct from your chequeing accounts. Should we be supporting banks that bankroll unethical investments?
In summation, there are two important things you can do as a private citizen if you wish to individually contribute some important and significant action to help mitigate climate change.
Let us each become a mentor and convince at least one voter/non-voter to support or switch to the NDP or Green Party. Talk to them about the benefits of voting for a Green New Deal and offer to accompany them on voting day. If each one of us who support these parties entices one other voter/non-voter to do the same – we’ll have doubled the vote…and if we can also get them to, in turn, convince someone they know…who knows! Maybe we’ll reach that critical mass that overthrows the corporate cultural industrial mindset that characterizes our two mainstream political parties!
Secondly, let us (if you haven’t already) switch our bank account to a credit union; and if you are a homeowner with a renewable mortgage, as soon as it’s possible – switch to a credit union mortgage provider. If you make the switch, it’s probable that if you ask the credit union to pay your legal fees for transferring your mortgage, they will comply. Credit Unions, as a statement of principals, do not invest in unethical enterprises and their net profits are reinvested back into the community for the public good.
Let us all collectively change our mindset if we are to change our destiny for a better future. These two individual actions are game changers that will help facilitate a change in the status quo and usher in the vision of a Green New Deal.