Mindless energy sector boosterism is evil and un-Canadian

Editorial | by Stephen Whitworth

I don’t know we needed more proof the Canadian right is losing what’s left of its collective mind but if we did, we got it from Justin Trudeau’s goony reception at a Jan. 10 town hall in Regina.

According to multiple reports [1], the prime minister was accused of everything from betraying the oil and gas sector to implementing Sharia law to planting cameras in Canadians’ bedrooms.[2]

It’s hilarious watching haters accuse the leader of a government that bought a pipeline for $4.5 billion and promised $11.6 billion in friendly loans to Alberta’s energy sector of being anti-oil, but that’s the Canada we live in. Made-up garbage passing as fact has rarely been more popular than it is right now in radicalized segments of the Canadian right.

Too many Canadian righties have flat-out lost touch with reality. It’s so frustrating. People with conflicting ideas and opinions should be able to discuss them, and even come up with amazing solutions to problems we all share. People living in different realities? There’s no bridging that kind of gap.

This is what happens when Conservative politicians nurture a political base riddled with people who believe the earth is 6,000 years old, evolution is a socialist lie and dinosaurs went extinct because Noah couldn’t fit them on his boat.

Speaking of facts: our planet, the only one we have, continues to warm from human activities as scientific report after scientific report practically screams we have to immediately make massive cuts to greenhouse gas emissions to avoid catastrophe. This isn’t kooky editor Steve’s “opinion” — it’s the collective understanding of scientists who study climate.

Cranks can send me all the letters they want about how my “opinion” is unfounded or alarmist. But it’s NOT my “opinion”. It’s what scientists say. If someone wants to learn more, they should read science journalism. How about that 130-year-old communist rag National Geographic?

As is often the case with angry mobs, big money is being spent to keep people frightened and enraged. One example is the billboard, TV, and radio ad campaign presenting Canada’s fossil fuel industry as some kind of cottage industry being threatened by Big, Bad Ottawa. Poor little oil—it’s practically a hobby, like goldfish breeding or making macramé planters. Won’t someone please stick up for this niche industry that’s so tiny it can barely afford to embed its propaganda in NHL rinks?

The reality of climate change—and the fact it’s driven by fossil fuel emissions — isn’t an opinion. But I do have opinions.

Here’s one: there’s a lot more to Canada than a self-important oil sector whose time is almost up. We can be a great country of smart, funny, kind and hard-working people who can make the world a better place. But that’s not going to happen by rotting our brains with pro-oil propaganda.

Feel free to argue. In the meantime, let’s do better.

[1] No, I didn’t go, as entertaining as that would have been. It’s all right. I’m sure I’ll have another opportunity to watch a psycho mob talk out its ass.

[2] The only camera in every Canadian’s bedroom is on a cell phone, and we brought them in there without any help from nasty ol’ Justin.