Thursday, May 05, 2016

Now is never the time ....

PM Kim Campbell : An election is not the time to discuss serious social policy issues.

PM Stephen Harper after Boston Marathon bombing : Now is not the time to figure out 'root causes' of terrorism.

PM Justin Trudeau : Now is not the time to link Ft Mac wildfires to the global climate crisis.

So when is the right time? 
Other than, you know, when it's on everyone's mind because a disaster is affecting people where they live and it's your job to tell us what you're doing to alleviate the broader context in which it will only get worse.


Troy Thomas said...

I agree, entirely. It's a fallacious argument, really. We can't discuss it, because it's effecting lives, right as we speak? Then when is appropriate? When it's finished? But then, who's the arbitrator of when that is?
Let's be honest, here. BC and Alberta, tag teaming with the Harper government drove a lot of good people out of provincial forests ministries and the federal environment ministry due to cutbacks. More then a few experts have packed up to work elsewhere when now is the time for their expertise. There probably are still good people working in these organizations, but the likelihood is, they're overworked and underfunded, and can't do the work they need to do to protect and to inform us all on what will happen in the short and long term. If the federal government ever decides to bring back Environment to full capacity, they'll still be playing catch up in regards to what's going to happen, immediately, not to mention what's going to happen in the future. We're talking years of work just to restore Environment to working order.
What is inappropriate, though, is trying to shut down debate on what's happening, and why it's happening. What's dishonest is trying to link annoying militant environmentalist trolls posting knee jerk reactions on Twitter, and people such as Elizabeth May who'd asked questions I myself was wondering, as though they're somehow saying the same things.

Anonymous said...

Trudeau says there's always been wildfires and there's always been floods and you can't link this one to climate change.
For 40 years scientists have been writing papers warning climate change is increasing the number and intensity of global wildfires but according to him we're not supposed to include this one and here's why - Enbridge plans to apply to the National Energy Board for a three-year extension to start construction on its Northern Gateway pipeline project

Boris said...

I imagine however, that the politics in Alberta around this would turn quite nasty quite quickly if he made some kind firmer statement. I'm watching social media, and the conservatives in AB and elsewhere are extremely defensive with cries of 'too soon!', 'stop gloating', 'fuck you!' to anyone and everyone who mentions climate change. Fort Mac's economic existence relies on a certain cognitive dissonance regarding climate change and hostility toward 'treehuggers' and that's is just about impossible to ignore now.

Which is interesting, because in just about every other kind of disaster people/victims tend to want to know why it happened and actively seek explanations.

The other thing with Fort Mac is that it is fundamentally a remote resource town that goes through the normal extremes of boom and bust. It's bust now with the collapse in oil prices and there've been layoffs and all sorts of things in the past couple of years. There wil be tremendous pressure to rebuild a la the trending hashtag #fortmacstrong. But eventually there will have to be a public political conversation about climate change and the future economic viability of the community. This might well mean that many of the evacuees will not be able to return.

Anonymous said...

Further to what Boris said, this may be an ideal opportunity for people to take their insurance payouts and NOT go back. Responsible governments of all stripes should see the writing on the wall for the oil industry and actively encourage Ft Mac residents to relocate. At this time, I suspect only the most rabid Cons will object to governments subsidizing relocation expenses.

Anonymous said...

Detecting the effect of climate change on Canadian forest fires
N. P. Gillett and A. J. Weaver
School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
F. W. Zwiers
Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
M. D. Flannigan
Canadian Forest Service, Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada


Anonymous said...

The tarsands feedback loop indicates the FortMac fire is in itself causing climate change:

"Boreal forests contain nearly 30 percent of all the world’s carbon stored on land. As they light up, they send that carbon into the atmosphere where it warms the globe. Intense wildfires are already turning some forests into carbon polluters in certain years, creating a feedback cycle that drives temperatures higher and raises fire risks even further."

Scientific American, May 4 2016

Anonymous said...

I would also agree that the Ft. Mac fire is an opportunity to curtail the growth of the tar sands. Global producers have acted to push them out of the market, they haven't been able to put together a feasible plan to get it to tide water and as such the entire operation is operating on fairly slim margins, hence the layoffs.

Now that the town is evacuated and many of the unemployed/underemployed residents of Ft.Mac who were probably just wondering how they were going to avoid bankruptcy and losing their homes to the banks from failing to sell at the exorbitant values they paid out in the first place.

Now that we're supposedly serious about tackling climate change and have to rebuild the nation's infrastructure, why not put all those pipe-fitters to laying new municipal water works piping, heavy machine operators to building roads and bridges, etc.

It's obscene the amount of political capital that is being wasted on not doing anything concrete for image's sake.

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