Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Into the Lion's Den: Dion at the Calgary Stampede

Nation, Stephane Dion made headlines recently when he attended the Calgary Stampede, pitching his Green Shift. Much was made of the "bravery" of this endeavour, as though he were going to be physically assaulted by each of the 60,000 people in attendance that day. Dion was compared to a modern-day martyr, putting his well-being on the line to speak the truth.

Good messaging by the Liberal media people. Far from reality, but good messaging.

We've already talked at length about the Green Shift itself. While the plan does have its merits, it's also a far cry from what this country truly needs. I firmly believe that, at this critical junction in our history, what we need is a Prime Minister with a firm grasp of this issue and the bravery to do what is necessary to get out in front of the issue. Sadly, I suspect that none of the current crop of leaders is up to the challenge - and even if they were, they'd need a freshly-minted majority to get their agenda through Parliament, which isn't likely anytime soon.

Coming to Calgary with this plan was a no-lose proposition for Dion - he got media attention simply by virtue of the fact that he was a Liberal leader visiting the heathens in Calgary. Add the recent Green Shift announcement to that, and it had all the makings of a media firestorm. He may as well have been Nixon in China. If people rejected his message, well, what do you expect? They're Liberal-hating, greedy, "me-first" Albertans. If you found more than a handful who WERE receptive to the message, then the message of environmental salvation was "taking root even in backwards Alberta". Either way, Dion gets points - as a martyr, or as a saviour.

Do I think the Green Shift is a great plan? No, I don't. Do I think it will fundamentally change our country for the better? No. Will it make a difference, in the short or long term, in the battle against climate change? Absolutely not. As I've said before, we could wake up tomorrow in a self-imposed Stone Age in this country, and it would not make 1/10th of 1% of a degree's worth of difference next week, next year, or next decade. We're paying for 300 years worth of industrial sins, and it's being exacerbated by a natural warming trend that may very well be part of the Earth's natural cycle - either way, we can't fix it with good intentions and wealth-transfer schemes. We need a fundamental shift in the way we live our lives; how we consume and produce energy - and the Green Shift isn't going to do that.

Does Dion deserve credit for coming to the Stampede? Sure. It was a politically smart move, one that he did well to recognize, and he was dressed pretty snappily. But was it a gutsy move, showing true leadership mettle? Hardly. Showing up in Ontario's rust-belt, where he has seats to lose, and telling the autoworkers there that they're going to lose their jobs under his Green Shift, and that they're hurting the environment, so they'll deserve it - THAT would be gutsy.

Standing up for your ideals when they're sure to cost you something - that's brave. Showing up to a place where you've got nothing to lose, and taking an unpopular stance? That's show business.

Good show, Stephane. Now if you REALLY want to show some bravery and leadership - when can I expect to see you in Hamilton?


Don't get me wrong, Nation... I want a Leader to step forward on this issue. Desperately. But if this is the best Dion's got, then he's not the guy. None of the others are, either - including Liz May.

Can ANYONE out there point me towards someone who understands the larger issue, has a workable plan, and the political guts to carry it out?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Post Savage. Please blog more.