Canada’s official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, pictured here in Ottawa on Dec. 6, 2018, has not released a climate plan. Photo by Alex Tétreault

We are at a critical juncture in our country’s history.

In the years to come, our children and grandchildren will ask us how our generation’s leaders could be so short-sighted, so selfish, as to spout the rhetoric of climate leadership, reconciliation, and even economic prosperity to the public, knowing full well that they were condemning future generations to a planet with crumbling life support systems.

“Failures of the current federal government notwithstanding, let us be clear: the official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern.” writes @ColtonKasteel

Failures of the current federal government notwithstanding, let us be clear: the official Opposition lacks the climate plan to govern. Opposition politicians vaguely acknowledge the realities of climate change, yet advocate for corporate-friendly policies that large industrial emitters would have been hard-pressed to write themselves. These members of Parliament claim to accept the realities and urgency of the climate crisis, yet pander to extremist and uninformed views out of some misguided and dated sense of party/doctrinal devotion. Ottawa has been populated with MPs who offer no credible solutions to our climate challenges and do little except recite their favoured ideology.

Politicians who capitalize on public frustration by masking their agendas in ‘for the people’ rhetoric may pretend to care about Canadians, but in reality they rely on spurious statements and scapegoating tactics. Their refutation of carbon taxation combined with a dedication to ideologies of neo-liberalism and free market economics are entirely incongruous. Market-based solutions are, after all, rooted in conservative ideology. Peer-reviewed research has shown time and time again that this policy offers the lowest-cost method of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The only alternatives would be to impose direct regulations on emitters and households, or do nothing to mitigate climate change; both of which will cost taxpayers far more than a carbon price. MORE

LANA PAYNE: The Conservatives have a racism problem

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stands during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, March 28. — CP file photo
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer – Canadian Press

No one should be surprised that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is playing footsie with racists and refusing to condemn acts of hate and threats of violence.

His social media feed contains an endless litany of hate-coded messages, inaccuracies and sometimes downright lies. His party’s infinite attack against asylum seekers is just one of the ways they are stoking xenophobic fears.

It’s the latest political trend for conservatives across the world. History shows it is nothing new.

Too often racialized people are exploited as scapegoats when incompetent and ineffective politicians are unable or unwilling to do anything to fix challenging economic and societal problems. Blame the victims, the vulnerable, the exploited, the newcomer, Indigenous people. Too many politicians have had success based on this nasty recipe.

It’s much easier apparently to blame the newcomer than do something about rising inequality and wealth concentration or tackle climate change.

It is also dangerous. You may win an election, but in the end all you have achieved is a divided nation, divided by hate rather than united by the possible, by friendship and compassion.

There are so many issues crying out for a good debate in this country. The state of homelessness and affordable housing; the lack of affordable childcare; the rising costs of post-secondary education; the impact artificial intelligence and automation will have on the future labour market; how we can best meet the needs of an aging population; or the shift towards a greener economy and a truly just transition for workers; democratic reform. Pick one. Pick another.

ndeed, from all appearances he has had no trouble cavorting and courting with Yellow Vests or appearing on a stage with white nationalists and smiling through it all as if he was attending a potluck at the local Legion hall.

He has refused to denounce the Yellow Vest elements within the United We Roll group who have accused the prime minister of treason, called for violence against Justin Trudeau and who have been spewing hate and violence against immigrants. He has refused to condemn statements by one of his own Senators who asked the truckers participating in the United We Roll rally to “roll over every Liberal left in the country.”

This is a matter of character. And Andrew Scheer has obviously decided that lining up with racists is preferable to finding some political courage and condemning the indefensible. MORE


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