Cher­ish your suf­fer­ing, On­tario; Premier Wynne’s green gods know of your sac­ri­fice

The Goderich Signal-Star - - OPINION - Rex Mur­phy

Itc an not have es­caped the at­ten­tion of many that On­tario is most unset­tled these­days. That its in­dus­tries are anx­ious, its debt colos­sal, its cit­i­zens not in a pleas­ant mood. On­tario is in a lot of pain. But letme as­sure read­ers out­side On­tario that it has not all been for noth­ing. There­are re­wards. They are sub­tle, in­tan­gi­ble, but they a re real. Let me ex­plain.

Those who share the faith and en­dorse the moral­ity of global warm­ing de­rive very much the same sat­is­fac­tions that at­tended fidelity to the less de­mand­ing dog mas of ear­lier and less am­bi­tious creeds. The car­bon regime, tax hike son gaso­line, failed or fail­ing long-term-con­tracts, fearandtrem­bling in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, the gnash­ing of teeth in poorer( and now cold er) house­holds, On­tario Hy­dro’ s ev­er­swelling levi es, the de­spo­li­a­tion of ru­ral vis­tas by tow­ers of whirling, bird-b ash­ing wind mills: These, each in it­self, and all in com­bi­na­tion are the ac­knowl­edged costs of the Great Green­ing.

Those out­side the faith, and mere loi­ter­ing ag­nos­tics, see noth­ing here but a cat­a­logue of bur­dens. Shack­les of an alien god. But to those with in the covenant, they are the way sta­tions on the hard and stony path to de­li­cious re­wards re­served for the elect. Thi­sis the true chemistry of be­lief. What ap­pearas ob­sta­cles to heretics, ap­pear to believ­ers as smooth es­ca­la­tors to a higher state. Ac­cept­ing, em­brac­ing what must bed one sup­plies them with a sense of in­ner sanc­tion, en­dows them with that peace of mind which a lesser scrip­ture records, rather churl­ishly, as pass­ing all un­der­stand­ing.

It has al­ways been thus. Think of those Len­ten pil­grims of old scut­tling from ham­lets allover Europeto visit Jerusalem for a glance at the bone splin­ters of someof the lesser saints. The “ways [were] deep and the weather sharp” but the end trans­muted the jour­ney into some­thing sweet and fine. Soit is now.

I see them ages of Queen’ s Park, shiv­er­ing inthe polls, stripped of their pop­u­lar­ity, the scorn of so many who once strew palm son Univer­sity Av­enue at their ap­proach, I see them now em­brac­ing all that mis­ery. For the cause is just and the cost there­fore sim­ply can­not be too high. What is a bliz­zardof swollen light bills and a hash of in­flated power con­tracts to them? For is it not their pride to­have done their bit to def er an apoc­a­lypse?

And so, if they raise their eyes and see that last year car­bon diox­ide mol­e­cules were, say ,387 parts per mil­lion in the at­mos­phere of our planet, and now– as a mere cost of bil­lions and ut­ter de­pres­sion in their elec­toral prospects, it is, say, 386oreven385 parts per mil­lion – On­tario, they cry, has done its bit. Abit, af­ter all, be­ing all that On­tario cando.

What other gains for all that pain? There is the near-ir­re­sistible rap­ture of those whole ada gov­ern­ment cast­ing it as a moral ex­em­plar. In the early days of the faith the apos­tle Dal­ton made no pret en se that On­tario’ s ac­tions could in any­way truly al­ter the bal­ance of the earth and at­mos­phere. If this world was head­ing to­ward a swel­ter­ing fi­nale On­tario alone, what­ever it could do, would not save it. But that was never the thought. The bur­den stake non so glo­ri­ous ly by the green cler­ics of Queens Park were not meant for ef­fect. They were ex­am­ple only.

In his fa­mil­iar Lin­coln es­que man­ner McGuinty pro­moted the Green Plan as “plac­ing On­tario in the fore­front as a leader in the fight against glob­al­warm­ing.” Ms. Wynne, as faith­ful to the doc­trine of the founder, works out of the same cat­e­chism. On­tario is merely, and this is no small merely, lead­ing the­way. On­tario’s ex­am­ple shall – would I could find a hap­pier verb – fire the planet. En­ergy pol­icy as moral con­ta­gion sum sit up.

The dream was, I sup­pose, that the Kaza­khsta­nis, and Bu­run­di­ans, the Chi­nese and Peru­vians, all in their sev­eral do­min­ions, tak­ing the­morn­ing bev­er­age to be­gin the­day, would pause and re­mark to the neigh­bors, “Those On­tar­i­ans. They’re lead­ing the fight against glob­al­warm­ing. Whata peo­ple.” Then, in­stantly, a world wide flight to turn off the space heaters, shut­down the fac­to­ries, jail the coal min­ers, andt urn out the lights. In24 hours the only place left on the planet that still had the lights on would be a man­sion in Ten­nessee.

Be­cause as we know, when On­tario sets the pace, the world fol­lows.

I sup­pose this to be the kind of con­ver­sa­tion Ms. Wynne and Mr. McGuinty de­signed On­tario’ s en­ergy pol­icy to pro­voke, int he McGuinty case burn­ing a bil­lion dol­lars just to shut­down a gas plant to en­sure.

So was all the pain worth it? Mr. Trudeau thinks so. For he has the same plan. And some of the same plan­ners. So far, though, that’s the whole pa­rade.

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