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Green Leader Elizabeth May's plan to 'transition' the entire oil and gas industry's workforce, without consulting them, is frightening
Every little world-saver, and the big ones, too, are stars in their own private movie. They write and direct as well. The script never changes. They, and they alone, see a world in menace; they and they alone know, absolutely know, what the danger is and what the world must — must — do to avoid collapse and devastation. And that salvation always — always — means they must be granted the power to change the world and all it does, so that their vision and certitude can be validated.
Frequent world-saver Naomi Klein has a cause every half-decade, but the title of one of her books in particular, gives the trend: This Changes Everything. Naturally she was on about global warming, being the universal queen bee of protest politics. That title is the DNA of every radical — give way to my superior vision, let me change everything, and I, the social justice warrior superhero, will give you salvation.
Down in the states, another hero, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, recently released a Green New Deal in which to avoid “the extinction of life as we know it” — in 12 years no less. As a result the greatest economy in the world has to be, root and branch, transfigured and to a certainty, devastated in the process. Global warming, naturally, demands it.
A terrible hubris and arrogance walks with the world-savers. And I suppose if you think you’re the one to save all the world, it will inflate the ego a tad. It will also make you reckless, careless about lesser people, the “unanointed” — those outside the light, people who are not prophets and saviours, but who work, raise families, scrape by as best they can. Mere drones these.
You spend your life on platforms in front of microphones, daily preaching alarms and terrors, scatter yourself to great summits in the metropolises of the world, stay at exquisite hotels, and meet all sorts of pompous and important people who think exactly as you do. It’s electrifying. One minute you’ve saving the Maldives and fattening up the polar bears, the next you’re on to room service for a choice martini.
There is not a day without a TV interview, a podcast or two toting up fresh disasters, a manifesto here, a blockade there — this is your life. It’s a whirlwind for the cause and you are the windmill that powers it.
The fabled couple of the late and much lamented Ralph Klein, Martha and Henry, do not know this life. But you know them, they are your fodder and cement. Whatever great plans you devise will eventually land on their doorstep — most likely when you are off to another gargantuan international massage. Martha and Henry have never been to Paris or Rio or Beijing, have never known and will never know the eco-orgasm of being a world-saver. They don’t live in a movie. But, ultimately, they will be the instruments of your plan — they’re the ones who’ll feel it, but you’re its architect and supervisor.
This week, the Green Party’s Elizabeth May gave a charmingly considerate lecture to the oil and gas workers of Canada, Marthas and Henrys all of them. She is going to “transition” them out of the work they are pleasantly (if they still have work) and professionally engaged in, and which at this very moment actually exists; the work that they have been trained for and built up experience in, and for which they receive real and present pay cheques. They are going to be transitioned into a new line of work because Ms. May thinks it is better for them.
I must explain that word transition. In the context of Ms. May’s vision, it means that all work in the oil and gas industries — and the hundreds of industries and services reliant on it — will come to a halt. It must stop. Alberta (mainly) under her vision is killing the planet. So we can have no argument about the premise. But the highly considerate Green leader wished to emphasize that “workers in fossil fuel industries and fossil fuel-dependent communities not fear for their future.” (Which, let me note, they would not be if every environmentalist and Green on the planet hadn’t been trying for two decades now to put them out of business.)
She is not “at war” with the fossil fuel industry, she claimed. (At that statement it is reported the Rockies — all of them — crumbled from the wit of it. The Three Sisters are now a pile of laughter-collapsed dust, sands on a Prairie landscape.)
Not to worry. All the oil and gas people are going to be transitioned and retrained and upgraded and relocated, take courses in the Man of La Mancha, sent out to clean up, refurbish, insulate everything in their path. They will take donkeys to their worksites, gnaw on vegetarian burgers to keep their strength up … and “all will be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”
Her “plan” (and does it ever need scare quotes), built on the sly assumption that it will be seamless and perfect, is to transition the entire workforce in a nation’s oil and gas industry into some utterly speculative, unproven and fantastical “new green economy.” This is to oblige her notions, and those of her fellow environmental radicals, that this is how it must be, if she and they are to save the world.
The hubris and condescension supporting an upheaval of this scale are astonishing. I wonder, was there a single hearing in a public place with those working in oil and gas to ask them what they thought of this, whether they wanted it, whether they accept Ms. May as the architect of their present and future? Did she go to Fort McMurray and consult with the mayor and council? Were there hearings and consultations in Newfoundland about the offshore?
The idea that the leader of a one-member (elected) party named after a colour feels she has the right or the competence to rearrange the order of the economy and re-engineer the lives of so many is actually frightening. Re-engineering people’s lives from on high is not something I thought I’d ever read about in Canada, but here we are, mere months from an election, and it rolled out with hardly a whimper of surprise.