Premier’s sup­port of fos­sil fu­els an alarm­ing stance

PressReader - LStep Channel - 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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