There are plenty of juicy plots to enthrall voters in the 2015 election.
We’re familiar with lots of these stories from previous years, some new, some old.
How do we get rid of Harper? Will there be the first NDP Government ever? Is Justin Trudeau up for the job? Don’t let them raise your taxes! Immigrants are out to get us! Should we legalize marijuana? What is a niquab? Etc. Truly fascinating stuff, that’s all very good for TV.
In varying shades we’ve seen this all before:
Again we get to watch and enjoy all the hyper-partisan bayoneting, until it slowly drives us insane, and then we all head to the ballots and choose a new leader.
But you’d be wrong to think this is a normal election.
The world is changing.
Everyone seems to know that anthropogenic climate change is well underway.
We have seen all the symptoms at home and across the country. This summer, wildfires ripped their way through Western Canada amidst record drought levels.
Municipalities, like our very own, appeared helpless as the taps ran dry and water faced severe rationing.
If you go outside and measure, the atmosphere reads a staggering 402 ppm CO2 concentration.
Additionally, we’re now adding 10 billion metric tons a year to that amount.
What this means is: by the time the next election cycle comes around, we’ll be at or near the 450 ppm international limit set for humanity to avoid ‘catastrophic climate change’.
Already, the wheels are in motion, and we’re not entirely sure how this turns out, but we have a very good idea.
The oceans are now rising by .5cm a year. This is expected to increase, resulting in a 1-3m sea level rise by 2100, depending on which model you believe.
That is enough to make Florida disappear, along with a wide variety of heavily inhabited low-lying coastal metropolis’ turning into the lost cities of Atlantis.
We currently have 27 million climate change refugees in the world and that number is expected to grow to 250 million by 2050 (UNHCR).
Damages to the world economy are projected to exceed 400 trillion dollars.
Crop failures, super storms, ocean acidification and ecosystem decline. We know what’s ahead.
However, in a nutshell, we’re actually there now.
One might fairly ask: how did we get here? Who’s responsible for this?
The mechanics of climate change have been well understood since 1980, however there has been little to no reaction from the powers that be on this planet.
I’ve said this before in previous articles that the blame for anthropogenic climate change will be shared among many.
The dynamics of international relations will certainly be at play.
Corporate leaders will certainly take a large portion of the blame.
However, the governments and voters of the world’s largest GHG emitters will likely take most of the blame.
They’ve consistently voted in governments that have no interest in adapting to climate change; governments that have repeatedly shown no courage to regulate, as if they forgot what their job was.
In Canada we’ve had 5 Liberal and 5 Conservative National governments since 1980. Additionally, we’ve had 12 Provincial NDP governments.
Not one of these governments has taken the threat of climate change seriously.
In fact, we’ve never had a government meet a greenhouse gas emissions target yet.
And still, year after year, some madness gets us out in droves to vote for parties and leaders that cannot reckon with today’s existential crisis, which is clearly: anthropogenic climate change.
It’s as if it’s 1938, and we’re content to believe, again and again, that Neville Chamberlin can give us ‘peace in our time’.
As long as we employ ‘middle class’ economics and don’t vote for the other guy, we’ll be ok, right?
Even the prospect of 27 million climate change refugees is enough to bankrupt the world’s governments.
250 million refugees, as are projected, along with the various other climate change maladies, represents something that even the world’s strongest nations will be powerless against.
It’s a monumental reckoning to start to think in these terms.
This is the kind of stuff that makes dust out of empires.
Collectively, we need to start taking stock in our future.
And that begins by not voting for the ‘status-quo’ governments, around the world, that have failed to respond to this clear and present danger, repeatedly, year after year.
In each country the political dynamic is largely similar, although the names may vary:
Taken together, the Liberals, Social Democrats and Conservatives, will take the blame for not responding to climate change, for they have been in government through all of this time.
Expecting these status-quo parties to respond to climate change, is like trying to drive a car from New York to London: it’s a vehicle simply not built for the job.
These entities were only ever designed to fight elections against each other, and to compete in offering economic promises to voters.
We desperately need to re-tool our politics and remove these imposters from office.
The job of a ‘head of state’ is to respond to existential challenges on behalf of the populace, and they are simply not acting like heads of state any longer.
I foresee a future where these entities rightfully decline into obscurity, as the gross severity of their collective folly becomes fully evident.
Together, they’ve treated politics like a game, but it never was a game.
Their time is soon to be over, and that ending could not come soon enough.
17 thoughts on “The case to never again vote NDP, Liberal or Conservative, as long as you live.”
I would love to have the green party in power. However, for this to happen we need to have “rep by pop” Both Mulclair and Trudeau say they will do this. Have to hope this will happen.
Thanks for the comment: the point of this article is that we’re basically out of time. I wish we had a few more election cycles to begin working on this issue, but it’s far past time to act. proportional representation is not going to save us from catastrophic climate change, that’s the unfortunate reality in 2015.
wow , this guy gets it…..
I would hate to have the Green party in power. Not because I don’t like it’s platform. Actually, the Green party’s platform is the closest I can find to my own philosophy. The problem is the administration of a territory by an ideological group, like we have now in Canada, and like there are in many other countries in the world (most Arab countries, Israel, etc.).
Ideological parties are bound by their ideology, which often makes them take decisions that go against the best interest of the majority, whatever the majority is for a particular issue, and that includes the Green party. We can’t run a country by putting more importance on a particular aspect over other important aspects, and that’s why the Conservatives are failing (focus on economy), and that’s why the Green party would fail too, despite their good will.
Be it at the local, regional, provincial or national level, I expect the leaders to take the whole picture into consideration, and not to be overly influenced by a particular aspect of the picture. The Green party is a great opposition party, because it can remind others of the importance of the climate, but it could not be a good leader, because it’s peripheral vision is limited, even though it’s foward vision is more advanced than that of the other parties.
Facts and numbers are great in science, but in politics, people tend to use them at their advantages, and Green party partisans are no exception. For example, this article leads us to believe that climate changes are solely anthropogenic, which is not the case. A good deal of the change is anthropogenic, yes, and we have to do something about it (which the actual government is not doing because of ideological reasons), but we also need to know that the planet is regularly going through cycles of warming and cooling, and that part of the climate change is related to those cycles.
In politics as in drinking, moderation is always a good policy. : )
I’d be very interested to see how the ‘moderate’ parties you speak of will react to 450ppm, and the consequences that brings. What I predict is something similar to 1940 England, in which they showed a real lack of understanding of how to respond to a real and true existential crisis. In that situation, nobody wanted their lives to change, but something external forced a new reckoning. The main thrust of my piece is to indicate that we’re now beyond the tipping point, and lack of action from our so called political leaders got us here. My article is based in science rather than ideology. People who know me, know that I am at heart a moderate conservative. Anthropogenic climate change is an exception without parallel in history, and that’s why you’ve got a moderate like me to become interested in Green. It’s impossible to keep sweeping the climate crisis under the rug, as the status quo parties have now done for 35 years. There will be no niceties of political debate when we’re faced with 250 million refugees, and 400 trillion in losses worldwide. It’s something that those who have steeped themselves in status quo politics fail to understand: this whole world we live in is about to drastically change, for the worse. It’s changing no matter what you believe in politics, or what your ideology may be, or who gets elected prime minister.
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man that was a lot of fluff , and not a single example given to substantiate the fluff that the gpc is ideologically driven , have you read the party platform?….
Actually, the Green Party policies are the most inclusive, in that they are engineered to benefit ALL Canadians, not special interest groups like unions, corporations, the wealthy, etc. Therefore they are the least ideological, though I suppose the concept of more advanced democracy and the consideration of future generations in itself could be called ideological.
I hate to burst your bubble but even the most pragmatic parties are ideological. That word simply means “governed by a specific line of logic”. So a party that believes in supporting labour, supporting business, generating mushy middle policies that amount to nothing, are every bit as ideological as a parties grounded (pun intended) in environmentalism. That being said, if you dissect each party’s policies all succumb to generalized neoliberal tendencies. Which is to say, all use, endorse, or promote policies within the current global economic framework. Case in point, BC which is purported to have among the most progressive climate change policies has witnessed successive rises in GHG emissions, while simultaneously seriously increasing inequality. This is because its carbon tax is designed within a neoliberal expansionist and financialized economic model. By contrast, when Ontario wanted to reduce emissions it unilaterally fazed out coal plants. Creating a sustainable economy requires fundamentally reorganizing social systems of accumulation, democommodifying most social relations of production, and severely limiting unfettered markets. There is no party on anyone’s radar capable of such a feat in Canada. And to suggest that such a transformation is easy, is to dismiss the challenges faced by the likes of Greece and Syriza, ostensibly the most left government outside of Cuba. Transformation does not occur outside more profound social movements.
The problem as I see it is that elected governments do not actually run the world. It is run by big business whose prime directive is to accumulate more and more wealth by any means at their disposal. Just take for instance the banks and oil companies as a couple of examples. World oil price goes down – gasoline price stays even or goes up. Banks make record profits by paying little or no interest on savings.
Even if elected representatives were in control they are so concerned by being re-elected for the next term they refuse to rock the boat so to speak. Not sure what the answer is or if any exists.
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Hello Bob, the frailty of government is something a lot of people believe in these days. I don’t share these views, to me, this is but a temporary phenomenon. The power to regulate business rests solely with government. It’s backed by the military, and it doesn’t matter how rich you are, the head of state, and elected parliament, makes the rules. What we’re seeing now is typical of ‘late stage’ capitalism, and is likely to change in the very near future. It’s an outgrowth of our growth driven economic paradigm, and it’s only skin deep. You speak to the point that Greens are trying desperately to address, and that is our deeply broken political system. Even though it may seem that business controls government, that’s something the governments agreed to, and can take away at any time. What we need are governments that have a courage to regulate, and are ready to step away from our current political culture of electioneering
Exactly what I was referring to. It is true that governments have the power to enact legislation that has controls on big business but it seldom seems to do so. If what we have now is “late stage capitalism” it is a very long lived stage.
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and don’t neglect to mention the ongoing global geoengineering experiments which are by far the greatest exasperaters of this near term global extinction problem…..
It is truly unbelievable that the defining, existential issue of our time will have little or no impact on the outcome of this election. Thanks for pulling a few feet back to the ground with this article, Noel. But after an election which reminds me of the burning question who could have best keep the champagne chilled on the Titanic, where do we go from here?
Hey Sjeng, one of my favourite moments as a Green was your Keynote address at the BC Green AGM 2013. You called it like it is: the NDP where the biggest obstacle to progressive change then, and they are now. They’re sitting on the territory, doing nothing, whilst feeling oh so self-entitled. Don’t split MY vote right? That’s when I realised there is a subset of ‘fighting greens’ in our movement that are ready to call it like it is, and it is very very troubling…weak, incompetent, criminally negligent, malevolent, these words all come to mind when I think of our political leaders over the past 35 years. Very glad to be amongst good company with you and all the other ‘fighting greens’ in our movement!
The Greens have not been corrupted… because they have not been in power yet. Power corrupts, and it takes a really strong person to deflect this corruption. Once in a while, we have the chance to count on such a person in politics, but the very strong people usually prefer to stay clear of politics, because they know how dirty it can be out there.
Politicians not only have to maneuver among corporative interests, which can put a lot of pressure on them, but they also have to deal with a not so clever voting population, a big part of which think that people like Reagan, Bush, Trump and Carson can make good presidents, to take an example close to us.
For a municipality like Sechelt or Gibson, people who accept to go in politics are usually people who want to improve the quality of life of the municipality (with a few exceptions), but the bigger the economy is (urban, regional, provincial, then national), the more pressure is put on the politicians, to a point where the pressure is unsustainable.
With time, the citizens become “sleepy” and don’t realize the importance of some aspects that don’t have a direct consequence on their life… until a disaster happens, and wake up people. Then, as Michael wrote, “we sink”, and people wake up.