Premier’s support of fossil fuels an alarming stance
In his excuse (for backing) fossil fuel magnates, Moe has ... made matters worse.By any realistic standard, the fossil fuel industry should rank at the absolute bottom of any list of groups whose interests need to receive more attention in shaping public policy.For decades, major oil companies have been aware of the devastating effects of climate change caused by their core products.Rather than leading a shift toward cleaner and more sustainable alternatives, their primary response was to foment doubt about scientific realities. And the likes of Exxon are just now facing obligations to disclose what they knew and suppressed — and to answer for the damage they’ve caused by choosing to misinform the public.The direct efforts of major oil operators have in turn been supplemented by the development of extensive propaganda networks by some of the wealthiest individuals behind the industry.And in Western Canada, multiple levels of government are funnelling large amounts of public money toward the purposes of the fossil fuel sector in both words and actions.Under Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, the federal government has spent billions of public dollars on pipelines, tried to force through multiple projects based on constitutionally defective consultations, and granted large exemptions from carbon emission rules. Alberta’s government is running a factually flawed publicity campaign demanding even more fealty to the oilpatch. And the main opposition parties involved have somehow offered only the criticism that the governments involved should be more aggressive in serving the interests of fossil fuel corporations.Meanwhile, our governments have also been exposed in suppressing the environmental damage being done today by the fossil fuel sector, as well as the legacy costs being dumped on the public as the industry walks away from the consequences of its past activity.In the midst of a political environment already dominated by petrodollars, Scott Moe broke from his supposed practice of staying away from protests by deciding that only his party’s oil industry donors should receive any support when they show up at the legislature seeking to have their cause heard.Needless to say, that choice stands in stark contrast to how Moe has treated the people whose concerns have actually been neglected in our political conversations.The most glaring example is of course the Justice for Our Stolen Children camp. When activists sought to call attention to discrimination and neglect faced by Indigenous children and families, not only did Moe refuse to meet with them, but he and his office intervened in an effort to get police to silence them.Plenty of other events have also been held on the front steps of the legislature during Moe’s tenure in politics. Those have largely been held to call attention to the glaring failures of Moe and his party in recognizing the needs of Saskatchewan’s residents.Citizens have rallied to challenge cuts to vital social supports, to demand adequate funding for our schools and hospitals, to insist on fair treatment for workers, and to pursue accountability for gross mismanagement, which threatens the viability of our province’s finances. And needless to say, Moe has never deigned to show his face when people have rallied seeking to be treated with basic respect and dignity.In his excuse for appearing this week to cheerlead for fossil fuel magnates, Moe has only made matters worse.If we take his current explanation at face value, he has retroactively decided that anybody rallying for a cause other than the oil industry is illegal. And even if Moe walks back that alarming position, we should seriously question the judgment of anybody brazen enough to claim that fossil fuel corporations are somehow in need of politicians to further amplify their voices.
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