Fighting Words, where area residents offer their opinions on the issues of the day, from the serious to the whimsical. The opinions expressed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the Stanley Bridge Centre.


Friendship is more than just keeping in touch
By Michelle M Arsenault

Michelle M Arsenault is a prolific Cape Wolfe writer of erotic thrillers with edgy, political overtones. Her 11th book, The Devil May Lie, recently hit bookstands everywhere. She is also the author of a popular blog which can be reached at https://mimaonfire.blogspot.com

 
I recently learned the difference between an acquaintance and a friend. It took me many years and much disappointment to get to this point but I think I finally got it.

As a child, like most children, I wanted everyone to be my friend. After all, when you’re young the word ‘friend’ is thrown around quite casually. Everyone from your teacher to your stuffed animals are your ‘friends’ and we consider this a positive thing. In fact, it’s encouraged.

It doesn’t take long once you’re in school to quickly discover that friendship isn’t as simple as you originally thought. Being nice to someone, sharing the treats from your lunchbox and inviting someone to a birthday party doesn’t make them your friend. This is especially cutting when you realize that they don’t share anything from their lunchbox or invite you to their birthday party. There comes a point where you start to wonder WTF?

Unless you are me, of course, and you continue to refer to people as friends who aren’t capable of living up to that status. These are people who have you in their lives but in a limited capacity. They might call you after school to talk your ear off (back when people used phones for that kind of thing) but pretend they don’t know you in the lunchroom. They might text you to spread malicious gossip but not want to (or aren’t capable of) having a meaningful conversation. They might talk to you on Facebook but not really want to associate with you in real life.

Any of these situations sound familiar? Well, they do to me because I’ve experienced them all.

Recently, a voice inside my head (and not the ones that usually chatter away to me in the form of fictional characters) let me know it was time to start drawing strong, solid lines in the sand and stop crossing them in order to have a ‘friend’. The person who bails on you in the last minute or doesn’t include you in their plans is not your friend. The person who doesn’t really care if you’re depressed and need to talk isn’t really your friend. The person who gossips with you in passing but can’t congratulate you on your latest book is also not your friend. You can always fill in the blank here with whatever accomplishment you’ve recently had…lost weight, got married, bought a house, got through a nasty divorce without murdering anyone. It really depends on the person.

But recognizing friendship goes both ways. I’ve recently pledged to make sure I keep in regular contact with people who I care about, even though we sometimes lose touch. These are people who I know, deep down, really care about me. I may not hear from them often but I know that if I’m in their postal code range, they’ll want to see me and really mean it. So, from today on, I decided that EVERY DAY I will (at least) send a quick email to someone I’ve lost touch with in my life. I literally just wrote it in my agenda book, so this is happening.

Maybe it’s time for you do the same? Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.


White nationalism, race terrorism and mass murder
By Richard Deaton, Stanley Bridge

The U.S. has, again, been rocked by another series of white nationalist mass murders. By any other name this is domestic terrorism. This trend has been on the upswing since Timothy McVeigh’s 1995 Oklahoma City terrorist attack killing 168 people and wounding another 680. McVeigh was a young white guy.

In 2019, to date, there have been 251 mass killings, mostly by young white males. Most of the targeted victims have been blacks, Muslims, and Jews. Compounding this situation is the behaviour of American police who are attempting to pacify the black ghettos by terrorizing their inhabitants. American politics has become a counter-insurgency campaign.

Republicans blame the mental health problems of “sick” individuals

While many liberals blame the laxity of gun control laws for this grim situation, Republicans blame the mental health problems of “sick” individuals. Both these explanations obscure the underlying reason why these events are occurring now. The recent blood lettings, and their commonalities, must be understood in terms of mass political behaviour, rather than the individual psychology of some “nutter.” This is a social phenomenon.

The young men who perpetuate these acts of mass murder are racially motivated white nationalist ideologues.

In short, what we are witnessing is politically and ideologically motivated terrorism. These homegrown young, white guys are clearly alienated from the mainstream of society. And their terrorism serves a very real political agenda.

Racially motivated violence and nativism, however, have been an integral and continuous part of American history, resulting in what historian Richard Hofsadter has called the “Paranoid style in American politics.” The recent rise of the radical right-wing occurred with Barry Goldwater’s (R-AZ) abortive presidential run in 1964. What is completely forgotten is the parallel rise of a paramilitary and survivalist group called the Minute Men. Since then these groups have metastasized like a lethal cancer.

Since the 1960s these groups have metastasized like a lethal cancer

The increase in white nationalist violence corresponds closely to the resurgence and legitimization of racism, in its various forms, under the Trump administration. Many would suggest that Trump has deliberately cultivated this toxic social environment.

While Simmel’s theory of violence (1922) may explain the actions of a so-called “lone wolf” who uses violence to strike out against an oppressor, this does not explain the violence carried out by an organization. As criminal anthropologist, Elliot Leyton (1986) has demonstrated most mass murderers (as opposed to serial killers) are motivated by real or perceived grievances. Organizational violence is intended to fulfill a purpose.

Canadian politicians are now stoking the flames of ethnic discord

Many white nationalists have left manifestos attempting to explain their motives and murderous actions. These manifestos are intended as political and ideological statements. An ideology however, is not a mental health problem, it is a philosophic and political framework or world view. The racist putrescence now surfacing in the U.S. has been smoldering for decades. And Canadian politicians such as Scheer and Bernier are now stroking the flames of ethnic discord.

The United States is a badly divided country, socially and politically. Those who hope that the 2020 elections will resolve these problems will be badly disappointed. The Furies have been turned loose. White nationalism and its murderous racism must be fought by any means necessary, including the ballot box and in the streets.


The good, the bad, and the mostly ugly of cruise ships
By Jim Brown

Recently, I had the good fortune to sit down with a person who provided me with a jaw-dropping assessment of Charlottetown’s deepening involvement with cruise ships and what it could mean for all Islanders down the road. Spoiler alert! It’s mostly bad.

My source has deep roots in the industry so if anyone is going to have a well-informed perspective it would be this guy, who not surprisingly, doesn’t want his name published.

“Cruise ships are such big polluters,” he said.

“They (use) dirty bunker fuel and (have) no scrubbers on the stacks. That’s been highlighted in the media recently and I think it’s going to come around and bite them shortly.”

Even when they’re not sailing the high seas they keep spewing pollution.

“They’re still running some onboard power. They’re running big generators to get the ship going. Washroom water, water to the kitchens…”

A German environmental organization issued a report in the past couple of years showing how devastating cruise ships were to the environment, with a mid-size cruise ship consuming 150 tonnes of some the dirtiest fuel a day. That single ship’s carbon emissions are about the same as one million vehicles, according to the report.

So what are we doing about this pollution-spewing marine juggernaut? In Charlottetown, at least, we are spending large amounts of money building places for them to safely dock and disgorge thousands of customers every summer. By the time the work is done as much as a million dollars could be spent providing the belching behemoths with dock space.

“We can do four (vessels at the same time) in Charlottetown now,” says the source.

“From the small, 200 (capacity) up to one of the floating palaces – 3,500.”

Recently four ships docked in Charlottetown, disgorging more than 11,000 passengers and crew. That’s almost as many people as the City of Summerside.

Seven years ago there were 42 cruise ships a year docking in Charlottetown. This year, according to my source, the number soared to 98 and next year? Try 112 to 115 ships. And expect the numbers to keep growing.

Where has the Island’s Green Party been on this? I would say conspicuously, deafeningly silent. We certainly haven’t heard much since the election.

Sure, says my source, there’s the prospect of more than $350,000 worth of cash sloshing around Charlottetown and the rest of PEI every time one of these marine leviathans disgorges its human cargo. When they walk down the ramp they head to restaurants, bars, craft stores, art galleries, souvenir shops and grocery stores.

That’s money in a lot of Islanders pockets, but is it enough to make up for what we’re putting at risk?

I just wonder how growing numbers of cruise ships every year are impacting on our emissions targets. I also wonder what sort of an impact they will eventually have on our health care system if the numbers keep rising. We all know cruise ship passengers aren’t exactly in the plum of their youth.

Will there come a day when PEI’s hospitals run out of space, because of the burgeoning cruise ship traffic? Can you imagine if thousands of passengers were released with the norovirus at once?

The bottom line is Charlottetown is a pearl on a necklace stretching from the American eastern seaboard into Atlantic Canada and Quebec.

“Boston, Barr Harbour, Halifax, Sydney, and Charlottetown, Gaspe Bay, Quebec City and Montreal. The favorite stop for many of the cruise ships is Charlottetown for a couple of reasons,” he told me.

“Charlottetown is very concentrated and small and easy to walk around. A lot of people on ships have mobility issues. Compare Charlottetown to Halifax. Halifax is fine as long as you walk along the waterfront but as soon as you turn off the waterfront you’re faced with a steep hill.

Lack of serious traffic challenges is another thing Charlottetown has going for it.

“You talk about the traffic but there really isn’t any. Accidents can delay tours,” he said. Try sticking to a very tight deadline after a pileup on a major Halifax road, he suggested.

PEI is so small geographically it’s easy to see much of the Island in just a short visit. Within about 50 km of Charlottetown visitors, even those with wobbly legs, could take the tour bus or a taxi to such iconic Island landmarks as Anne of Green Gables house, Cavendish beach, North Rustico and the Glasgow Hills golf course.

Believe it or not there are huge cruise ships on the seas right now that offer year-round permanent accommodation in the form of condos going for more than $100,000 annually.

They may be horrible for the environment, but really, where would you rather be when climate change turns ugly and much of North America is under water, thanks to catastrophic flooding? Talk about travelling the modern-day equivalent of Noah’s ark in style.


After 11 years the Cavendish Beach Music Festival just gets better and better.
By Jim Brown

Those three days of events July 5-7 on a sun-splashed field in Cavendish featuring more than 50 talented musicians from Canada and around the world went off without a hitch.

Carrie Underwood, Eric Church and Hunter Hayes, of course, were the marquee performers, but there were many bright lights on the stage destined for future stardom.

But now that it’s over and the flip-flops and wallets and folding chairs and God knows how many other lost items have been rounded up and (hopefully) returned to their owners, it’s time for some reflection.

I did a lot of that while waiting for performers to hit the Bell Stage or walking the grounds seeking interesting photo opportunities, or simply sitting at a picnic table, enjoying the sun and the blissed out experience.

For one thing, I was amazed at how little debris in the form of cigarette butts and fast food wrappers and cans and bottles and plastic throwaway items I saw.

And the overwhelming niceness of everyone I encountered truly staggered me. One incident stands out. I was sitting a picnic table eating a box of fries and a sudden gust of wind caused several paper napkins to flutter away. I was just getting to my feet to retrieve them when I caught a whiff of a floral fragnance and then saw a 20-something woman swoop past me to pick up the napkins. I think she had glitter on a face and maybe a garland of flowers. She smiled, handed the napkins to me, wordlessly, and skipped away.

So many things to be grateful for living on the Island, including this festival and the dedicated army of volunteers, superbly organized, that made it all possible.

Prince Edward Island in early July is truly an enchanted place in a world finally coming to grips with the horrors of climate change. Forest fires on the west coast and in Alberta and Ontario, fires and earthquakes in California, apocalyptic storms and floods in New Orleans and the Gulf states, record-shattering heat in Alaska and in our arctic regions, ice-caps melting into the sea, devastating oyster losses in the most productive harvesting areas of the US, air so contaminated it is unsafe to breathe in large swathes of America and sharply rising water levels in the Great Lakes, threatening to swamp docks and homes.
And amidst all this, PEI remains almost untouched.

We have yet to experience really scorching heat this summer, nor devastating storms that threaten our lives and infrastructure and our croplands are verdant and green, our wildlife thriving by comparison.

Our fishermen pull up their nets and traps and they are filled, for the most part, with abundant, healthy catches.
Not so far from our shores alarming numbers of whales are dying, and vast dead zones are forming which oxygen suddenly disappears, accelerated by rapidly warming waters.

I had a chance, during photos, to ponder all of that during the three days of the Cavendish Beach Music Festival and to consider how truly blessed I was to be living on this island province, at this moment in time.

And to also ask: But for how much longer?


Prince Edward Island: We’re not just about fiddles and Anne
By Michelle M Arsenault

Michelle M Arsenault is a prolific Cape Wolfe writer of erotic thrillers with edgy, political overtones. Her 11th book, The Devil May Lie, will hit bookstands everywhere shortly. She is also the author of a popular blog which can be reached at https://mimaonfire.blogspot.com

I’m sure to a person unfamiliar with PEI a quick search on the Internet might leave them with a very one dimensional view of the island. In fact, some might think they are time travelling back a hundred years, with all the period costumes on display. Of course, there’s occasionally a shot of some seafood or beautiful landscapes, but overall potential tourists are left with the impression Prince Edward Island is not exactly the place you’d go to do tequila shots and dance on tabletops.

Should the tourism department broaden their reach beyond ceilidhs and the usual tourist traps?

Last year a friend of mine from Vancouver announced she would love to visit me. However, she decided to hold out until I moved off island again. The reason? Doing a quick search of PEI’s tourism websites didn’t exactly make her want to travel across the country to see me. A woman in her 20s who listens to death metal and thrives on excitement saw very little to encourage her to spend hundreds of dollars on airfare. Of course she’d also end up spending much more once she got here on our often overpriced and lackluster tourist offerings. That includes staying in one of our many Airbnb places, something local residents used to refer to as ‘apartments’ only a few short years ago. She doesn’t drive and since we don’t have much in the way of public transportation….well, the idea fell flat fast.

I’m not sure why PEI feels the need to keep things so predictable when it comes to tourism. After all, we’re competing with many exciting destinations around the world – although it’s true that sometimes people come here for the quiet, laid-back pace of life, for the fresh air, and the beautiful scenery. Of course, there’s no money to be made if a tourist takes a nap on the beach.

How about switching gears? Why not have a large outdoor concert that isn’t always country? Why not have something a little more controversial, like a weed festival? Maybe an event centered on the LGBT community? Why not go ahead in time and have something more futuristic, such as an Artificial Intelligence-themed event? Why are we limiting ourselves and repeating the same tired image again and again? And, as a final point, why is the summer season so short? Surely we can work to extend the season beyond Sept 1 and even into October, when the water is still warm enough in many places to dip a toe.


Council notebook
By Jim Brown

No sleepovers allowed on RVs, trailers

Got guests coming to your RD2 zoned property in the Resort Municipality? No problem! But they better not bring RVs and trailers if they expect to sleep in them.

That was the message from the May 27 council meeting of the Resort Municipality of Stanley Bridge, Hope River, Bayview, Cavendish and North Rustico.

“The position of travel trailers/recreational vehicles has been in place since the municipality was formed. I certainly think it’s created an expectation in people who purchase property that they weren’t going to be surrounded by travel trailers (and) recreational vehicles,” said Matthew Jelley, the resort municipality’s mayor.

The regulation also applies to much of the rest of the province.

But you can have them on your property as long as you don’t allow anyone to live in them.

Mayor Jelley grew up in the Cavendish area in the 1980s and part of his early years involve memories of “problems with sewage in people’s yards.”

There is always the concern about proper disposal of sewage and that’s why fully equipped and regulated campgrounds are the best place for them in the resort municipality.

There was some pushback from a councillor who said people should be allowed certain rights when it comes to their own property and that includes allowing family members who visit them to use a recreational vehicle/trailer to sleep in for a few days. What’s the big deal if they use the toilet in the house?

Accommodation is getting pricey (and scarcer) in the resort municipality, especially during the Cavendish Beach Music Festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors every summer for the three to four day festival – now in its 11th year.

Council will review the RV-trailer issue further and the research will be included in a strategic plan. A public meeting will be held sometime the future.

The new regulations, if any, won’t be completed until next year.

A councillor suggested, as part of the review, the municipality look at allowing trailers/RVs to be used for temporary accommodation – perhaps one or two weeks maximum. Fines where appropriate could be applied.

RCMP police report

“The Cavendish area is the jewel of the Island and the Island itself as a whole is the sweetest place in Canada,” Queens District RCMP Staff Sgt Shane Hubley told Resort Municipality of Cavendish councillors at their May 27 meeting.

“Prince Edward Island has the lowest crime index in the country, per capita,” he said.

The RCMP officer delivered a full year incidence report on Cavendish, extending from April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019.

Hubley reported property crime and violent crime was almost non-existent in the Cavendish area, compared to other parts of the province and the rest of the country.

He went on to report property crime in Stratford and Cornwall is “way up” this year and it’s because drug addicts are based in more urban areas.

Lawbreakers from Charlottetown don’t want to drive all the way to Cavendish “to break into a cottage to get a TV to sell when they can go to Stratford or Cornwall. That’s essentially what’s happened.”

Cavendish Beach Music Festival preparations

Hubley stated the RCMP have more resources coming this year than last year.
“We’ve got a large contingent coming over from New Brunswick that’s going to help us out.”
He said officers enjoyed the duty so much last year they want to come back.

Hubley went on to say there will be an increased presence, due to this being the first summer in which cannabis is legal.

There are a couple of changes. One involves liquor bracelets worn by concert-goers, which will be discontinued by Cavendish Beach Music Festival (CBMF) organizers.

Councillors were baffled as to why that practice isn’t still in place.

“I don’t understand how it’s a good use of resources,” said Mayor Jelley. “I don’t know how it’s more efficient and don’t know how it reduces underage drinking.”

Councillors also heard concert-goers have to bring ID with them at all times in case they are approached by officers and that inevitably leads to many important documents being lost or misplaced.

Last year there were as many as 200 reports of lost wallets, licenses and other documents.

A public meeting on preparations for the CBMF will be held June 11.

Some highlights from the 2018-2019 Queens District RMCP occurrence statistics report (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019)

11 reports of crimes against the person (sexual offences) including sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and distributing an intimate image without consent, leading to eight charges.

45 traffic offences reported, including one fatal one.

43 impaired operation related offences reports, with eight charges laid.

44 provincial statute violation reports, including liquor, off road vehicle act, child welfare act and dog act violations, with 31 charges laid.

30 other criminal code reports, including 12 disturbing the peace offences, with 12 charges.
Five offensive weapons violation reports, leading to four charges.

24 reports of robbery, extortion, harassment and threats, leading to 11 charges.

Two reports of forcible confinement, with no charges laid.

31 reports of assaults (excluding sexual assaults), including assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm, assault and administering a noxious thing, with 15 charges laid.

27 reports of crimes against property, thefts under $5,000, leading to four charges.

8 reports of crimes against property, theft over $5,000, with no charges laid.

One charge of exposure of genital organs to a person under 16.

38 reports of crimes against property, mischief, with six charges.

179 common police activities calls including false alarms, animal calls, suspicious person or vehicle, abandoned vehicles and breach of peace, with no charges laid.

12 reports of break and enter (businesses, homes, seasonal residences, etc) with two charges.


Final thoughts on one of the wildest, wackiest elections in Island history
By Jim Brown

So who saw that coming a year ago? Who saw the Green Party sprinting to second place, winning eight seats in a minority government?

Election signs on the Rattenbury Road, one day before the election

Given Islanders long history of voting Red or Blue each election, going back more than 125 years, it was a stunner of an election night.

Who would have thought the dysfunctional Progressive Conservatives, who changed leaders in the past few years about as often as many of us change our underwear, would outlast the sagging Liberals and the surging Greens, to win 12 seats.

Unthinkable, until just a few short weeks ago.

Here are some scattered thoughts about the April 23 election and its aftermath, some of which might actually make sense.

Green Party women show the way

Talk about a game changer.

Of the eight Green candidates elected, five were women. Just one other woman was elected, from the PC Party, which (may) form PEI’s first minority government in more than a century.

So how did that happen? Researchers could be writing doctoral papers on that for decades to come. My guess? There is something about the Green Party that makes it easier for voters to elect women. Perhaps if you are a Green Party supporter you are more inclined to vote for women.

Is it possible Green Party female candidates were simply better candidates? Did they network and connect with voters better than their female counterparts in the PC, Liberal and New Democratic parties? I suspect that might be at least part of the answer.

Ponder this: Nine of 27 Green Party candidates were women, which is 33 per cent of the total. But that trails the NDP, which was shut out, yet again. Eleven female candidates carried the orange banner. The Liberals and PCs weren’t far behind the Greens in fielding female candidates, at seven and six candidates respectively.

Just imagine if the Green Party had fielded 20 female candidates instead of just nine.

Some serious horsetrading about to start

Did you think this election would severely crimp backroom deals on PEI? Then it’s your lucky day! I have some swampland in Arizona to sell you.

I believe even before the dust has settled on this wonderfully loopy election result, Green, Liberal and PC operatives will be huddling together, trying to come up with a deal that will work for two of those parties.

Don’t believe all that Kumbaya talk on election night – some serious horse-trading will be going on. I don’t know who will come out on top, but I believe the Greens better ignore their “play nice” instincts. The 2019 election represents a great opportunity for the party to make electoral hay by striking a deal with a tired, demoralized Liberal Party whose leader was unceremoniously defeated in his own riding.

Yes, that MMP

Elections have consequences. Hate to say it but Dennis King’s reign as PEI Premier may be over before it starts. The Greens, the Liberals and King’s PCs all finished within seven points of one another in the popular vote. Put any two of those parties together and you have a viable governing coalition. Why not the Liberals and Greens?

And consummate negotiator that he is, Peter Bevan-Baker could throw MMP into the mix. But wasn’t it narrowly defeated in a referendum? Yes, but does that mean it has to die? No.

Unpopular policies are adopted all the time without referendums. Remember the GST? The provincial HST? And how about free trade with the US and then Mexico and the US (twice)? And before that publicly funded health care, the Canadian Pension Plan, EI and so on.

Let’s get real here. Forty-nine per cent support for MMP in an election referendum is a lot more support than most other government initiatives get, such as Trudeau’s recent carbon tax.

If Islanders want more representative government and fewer blowouts in which nearly all the seats all won by a single party with 40 per cent of the vote, MMP has to be adopted. It’s as simple as that.

MMP should never have been voted upon in a referendum, whose results can be fudged six ways to Sunday.

Green MLAs and rising carbon footprints

My big question is how will Green Party candidates restrain their carbon footprints since they will be travelling back and forth to Charlottetown for legislative sessions and flying all over Canada to share the secret of their success with other Green Party apparachiks. Not to mention the very real possibility they could form a coalition government with the Liberals in which Peter Bevan-Baker could suddenly find himself PEI’s premier and an attendee at premiers’ meetings across the country. World travel could also be in the Island Green Party’s future.

Remember, most of the Green Party’s newly minted MLAs will be getting a big pay boost, with base pay, not including benefits and perks for attending meetings, nudging $75,000.

What will they do with the new cash, government cars (if the party gets in bed with the Liberals or PCs to form a coalition) and other perks of the job?

After all, you can only plant so many shrubs as carbon offsets.

Right wing media have it all wrong about Dennis King and the PCs.

So Prince Edward Island is yet another domino to fall, bringing Canada closer to that wonderful day when Conservatives control everything and those wicked progressives are shown the door.

Not quite. There is very little daylight between the Liberal and PC parties on PEI and many believe the PCs would embrace several Green Party policies. It’s the Island way, everyone moves towards the middle ground and consensus.

We’re simply not going to hear anti-immigrant dog whistles, or see slash and burn cuts to health care, environmental regulations and social programs on PEI, which is probably why we have one of the strongest economies in all of Canada. And unlike, Ontario under Premier Doug Ford, we haven’t experienced a bond rating cut.

It will be the kind of productive, civil government many Canadians in provinces like Alberta and Ontario wish they had.


Climate change is threatening our future and Canadians are not doing enough to fight it
By Jim Brown

Canada’s much-loathed carbon tax was greeted on April 1 with millions of clenched fists.

Many Canadians saw the tax as a threat to everything they held dear, not as something they must embrace for the planet’s survival.

Canadians are failing to pick up the torch in the fight against climate change, but we aren’t alone. So is nearly every other industrialized country, just when global warming threatens to destroy humanity’s only home.

The sad, sobering truth is that the carbon tax was never meant to be a ‘golden bullet’ to inoculate us against a nightmarish future. It was only the first step – and a baby step at that.

Canada’s rate of temperature rise is double the world average and a few cents extra a litre on gasoline and other petroleum based fuels isn’t going to have an immediate impact. It, alone, certainly won’t save hundreds of shore-hugging cottages on Prince Edward Island, which will swept away in the coming deluge.

But what the carbon tax represents is something far more valuable. Momentum.

It mobilizes us to take on even greater challenges. We take this one small step in unity and then the next, larger step, doesn’t seem as daunting.

And then an even bigger step after that, and then bigger yet and then perhaps we will make real, measurable progress towards saving the planet. Especially if the industrialized nations of the world, the largest greenhouse gas emitters, do the same.

But it is unravelling already. One of Canada’s major political parties, which will likely seize power in less than six months, is run by a cabal of climate change deniers. They’ve closed their eyes, their ears and their hearts to the peril ahead. The Conservative Party of Canada, and its provincial cousins in oil-rich Alberta and Saskatchewan, and in Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, are portraying it as a cynical money-grab.

Conservative Party of Canada Leader Andrew Scheer and other Conservative leaders appeared in a photo op April 1, carbon tax implementation day, fueling up their gas-guzzling cars and vowing to roll back modest climate change regulations already brought into law.

They might as well be chanting “Burn, baby, burn…”

History books, if they are to be written in the dark decades ahead, will not be kind to these deniers.

What brought us to this desolate stage? I think it all stems from an erosion of trust – in our institutions, in our governments and in ourselves.

We haven’t had a cause to fight for since the Second World War and we are incapable of mobilizing as a society to fight the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. We grumble over spending nickels and dimes when climate change will cost us hundreds of trillions in the too-near future, according to the vast majority of climate scientists.

Floods, famines, fires, diseases and hundreds of millions of hollow-eyed migrants moving across a ruined world, seeking refuge in the few places that might still be habitable.

Endless wars over water, land and resources will be the legacy we leave our children. And perhaps a vision of mushroom clouds.

All because we couldn’t put our petty, tribal interests aside for the common good. All because we wanted the extract the last drop of oil from a dying world.
Everyone who has followed climate change knows the real work lies ahead and humanity must confront the horrors that are coming or die.

But we have politicians promising to cut taxes and slash anti-pollution regulations in a shameless pitch for power and profit. They want government out of the way so they can complete the looting of the natural systems that sustain us all.

And it looks like Canadians are giving them a blank cheque to do just that.

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