The Probable Justin Trudeau

(written initially as a comment to the article ‘The Real Justin Trudeau’ on the website ‘The ECOreport’: Original article HERE)

I cannot say that I personally agree with all of what I perceive to be Trudeau’s aims, but with that caveat I can with confidence state that he is the quintessential Canadian politician, even to his tendency of favouring appeasement regardless of his own expressed values.

He is intelligent (his decision to veer off from completion of his Masters of Environmental Geography was, I think, based on a realistic analysis of the political and legislative landscape at the federal level prompting an earlier than planned “move”, that particular degree would perhaps be one of the greatest qualifications for a prime minister of the Dominion of Canada).

He identifies fully and actively as Canadian, rather than passively, and vests his ideals within that identity (seriously, he grew up with the Constitution Act of 1982 as his Dr Seuss, and a dominant factor in his home environment, anyone who can’t respect the effect that would have on any but the most dull of children, most likely is not someone who should ever have a say in anything affecting youth, period).

His vision, without knowing the exact centre of his aim, includes the realities that neither end of the so-called “political spectrum” will admit to, the broad range of realistic considerations both of today and of the future, the “missing moderate” portion of our media driven consensus landscape of perceived reality.

The question on topics like the construction of new pipelines should not be “Yes or No?” but rather “Which ones do we need, and which ones are unacceptable risks both domestically and in the global picture?”.

Currently Trudeau is under the constant attack by the self-declared “Right wing” of Canada, as he has been ever since the Conservative poster child Harper finally lost an election despite gross misuse of public funds for consistent and narcissistic inter-election campaigning (really, how is it that re-branding the Government of Canada with one’s own name is considered compatible with ‘conservative’ values???).

Trudeau is also dealing with the disappointment of the so-called “Left”, the environmentalists, scientists, and humanist advocates of social justice and safety who have been left disappointed by many of his decisions that were definitely made within the confines of what had been set up for him by his predecessor, few of whom question why it would be if he were solely committed to the destruction of the environment and the honour of the Crown vis a vis First Nations for the sole sake of economic gain, that the “Right” would be so adamantly attacking him.

For just under a year now, this writer has been searching for a very specific quote that is recalled from the spring of 2016 by Justin Trudeau to the effect of “I will do what I can to do what I believe is right for Canada, but it is up to Canadian citizens to lead the way and clear the path”.

Not being able to confirm that quote is frustrating to no end, but it’s relevance is not diminished one iota even were it to turn out to be the fabrication of a faulty memory and wishful thinking.

Whatever he may be inside of himself, the concerted and expressed will of the people of the Commons will guide and/or enable Trudeau’s policy decisions.

If he is pure pragmatism, the will of the people interpreted through the filter of his own aims would be the path to continued power.

If he is pure idealism, then it requires a demonstrable public mandate for him to make politically or economically hazardous decisions, or take stances that would be controversial.

A friend who has met the fellow had a statement to offer to myself, one that almost had me tear up as it was well in line with my thoughts at the time:

“He’s a nice young man, fairly bright and with solid values, but he made one stupid mistake. He counted on Canadians to believe in Canada the same way that he does, and now he’s surrounded by wolves.”

I do not support Justin Trudeau, but this is why I will defend him when he is unfairly attacked.

Because I believe in Canada, too.

What “Refugee Problem”?

  In either of the non-Latin North American nations, The United States of America or the Dominion of Canada, there is a simple way to bypass the “Our own homeless vs refugees” problem (or veterans vs refugees, or any one of a dozen memetic concepts that in the real world do not actually help group A, but simply shaft group B).
  First, decide that you truly respect all of your fellow citizens, and that while they do not have to accept, they should always be offered the bare basics if needed to be a secure human being, with safety and dignity.
  Second, fix in your mind that part of the love and respect for your fellows is to choose to have your nation do what is right and sensible, that there is not a conflict between the two values.
  Third, consider that since many of the refugees are potential citizens, that to be on the safe side they should be treated as though they already were, this means that the ones that eventually leave will have been treated as well as you would have yourself treated.
  Fourth, through stimulus packages to the industries that will be needed to deal with an influx of people from a different culture, many who have been traumatized and need to adapt to a society that is strange to them while still being true to themselves, start to create the human and resource infrastructure to be able to efficiently:
-Build, source, or refurbish buildings to serve as civilized housing, even if temporary.

This involves multiple industries, and is best if it is able to source non-traditional materials, such as the currently experimental stackable Sea Can units outfitted to be single person housing or linked for multi-member households.

– Have compassionate yet efficient professional health care, including medical, mental health, and child welfare, the time taken is an investment in the people’s contributions to society in the future (and any world view that dictates otherwise is clearly focused on the short term and immediate, thus being suspect when debating the long term weal of the nation).
-Provide job, life, education, and cultural counselling that is thorough but also not overly constrained by bureaucracy, and a limited ability when it is for the good of an individual in context of society to fast track certain processes.

While some people will never produce any visible benefit to the society around them, regardless of what they are given, they are in a minority among those whose means and well being is the primary constraint upon their ability to offer benefits of any substance to their communities and the future of the world at large.

-Engage in food production and distribution that is simple, and not constrained by budgetary restraints, the aim is to build people up to be able to maintain themselves.

Focus procurement on local and sustainable goods, this cycles the funds expended in a manner that supports domestic concerns and stimulates a fundamental industry for any safe and secure society in a sometimes unpredictable world.

Get some folks engaged in domestic gardening, particularly if for some reason they are unable to join the work force. This is an excellent occupation for the elderly, particularly if youth can be persuaded to voluntarily assist them, as it creates the continuity of generations that is lacking in much of mainstream North American culture while also enhancing domestic food security by establishing horticulture as a societal norm.

-Offer practical yet encompassing interfaith worship and services, that are acceptable to a fundamentalist of almost any faith, as well as to an atheist, which do not prohibit personal practice nor that of congregations. This could in large part take the form of participatory discussions or debates about fundamental ethics as regarding humanity itself, the value of gratitude and reverence for the simple grace of being alive and conscious in the first place, or how to reconcile personal beliefs with a secular world without sacrificing integrity of self.

Familiarization without competitiveness is needed for true integration of individuals, and the peaceful co-existence of disparate cultures.

  By deliberately cultivating these capacities to meet the needs of populations of displaced people from cultures significantly different from our nebulous Canadian multicultural identity, people who have been through experiences that leave marks on the psyche as well as the body and position in the social matrix, the capability to deal with our own domestic homeless, veterans, elderly, mentally ill, and others who have suffered poor fortune, would be established.
  The end product would be a more secure society with grateful and healthy new citizens, guests returning to home nations safe once more or moving on to more suitable hosts who have departed with stories to tell of the intelligence and compassion of the nation that hosted them, a populace and government with the proven ability to deal with disasters or future refugees (probably a growth industry, sadly), and a nation better able to honour itself, citizen by citizen.
  Seriously.

Alberta, the Oil Economy, and the Future

This is my response to another comment in a discussion on a web page with more than average “conservative” readership, and I have realized that it actually says about all that I need to on this subject.

  “I’m taking the time to write out as complete of an answer as I can, because you’ve just brought up the (no pun intended) million dollar question surrounding the Alberta oil economy, I sincerely hope that you read it through when you have the time and are in the mood to consider my words instead of looking to argue with them, and will answer respectfully, because I really want to know what you have to say to them.

  Here we go:

  Having all of the economic “eggs in one basket” is exactly why there are a lot of people who are now unemployed, many of whom are in danger of losing their homes that they use to house their families that they need to feed.

  In biology, it is called a “mono-culture”, it’s why timbered areas that are mostly reforested with cloned saplings are at greater risk than natural forest for disease and parasites, and it’s why having only one type of easy to grow potato outside of the dozens of varieties available led to the Irish Potato Famine.

  It is not an “all or nothing” game, there is no reasonable way that Alberta or the world could instantly shift from a hydrocarbon based industrial base all at once.

  Even if we could make the shift for our transport infrastructure to another technology, the long chain hydrocarbons from oil would still be useful for plastics and medicines and that will never change.

  It would be nice if we could get past the laziness of people who start their car to drive three blocks to the corner store, or the simple stupidity of making and buying products and packaging that has no purpose other than to be thrown away and replaced, but that’s a tall order.

  I’m mostly going to leave alone the problem with making the fiat currency economy the main focus of an argument when (no matter what someone might want to believe or what creatures like Ezra Levant will twist facts and logic to say) there is an incredible body of evidence saying that every tiny bit of temperature increase globally or toxic compounds entering the water table that we can avoid is actually pretty damn important at this point.

  But the fact remains that tying Alberta’s future (as well as the rest of the country’s) to a single sector without actively developing others is dangerous.

  It leaves us vulnerable to shifts in the global market.

  The bulk of the profits made as things stand are actually to the benefit of people and countries that have no vested interest in the future of Alberta past having made that profit, and paying it out to their major shareholders.

  With FIPPA and (sadly) the TPP that seems likely to come into force, any changes made in provincial or federal policy to protect the long term interests of Alberta, citizens or the land itself, those foreign owners can sue for damages based solely on what they think they should have been able to make.

  It puts people like me whose immediate family and life long friends are in Alberta and suffering from the current slump, but who love the west coast and don’t like the odds on more pipelines or tanker traffic when it comes to the salmon, trees, and clean water that are jeopardized, in a really rough position.

  Honestly, it sucks to say it, but if my nephew or one of the men that I know who has lost their jobs recently aren’t able to find a new one soon, I trust them to be able to not die of starvation before they can figure out how to either find a new one or learn to survive like thousands of years of human beings managed to before the industrial revolution.

  One tanker spill, one pipeline ruptured at the top of a watershed, and the damage can’t be repaired, ever.

  The Gulf of Mexico is not recovering from the BP oil spill, and the track record of integrity for the companies who want to expand operations is not one to breed confidence.

  When I was at the University of Lethbridge in the 90s one of the older students that I met was an environmental scientist taking a new degree because he would not falsify data on water testing for an oil company, and was effectively blackballed from working anywhere in Alberta because of that.

  I’ve met many more since then, as well as ones who happily fake data or follow orders during assessments to “don’t look there, it doesn’t exist”.

  The patch is going to keep operating, that isn’t going to change, and again, it shouldn’t, people have bills to pay and you can’t retrain people for industries that don’t exist.

  But Alberta should be exploring ways to make sure that within a generation the people who are kids right now will have the option to find gainful employment in other industries, be they more sophisticated agricultural systems, high end manufacturing using petrochemicals refined with a higher standard of efficiency than is currently standard, industries based on skills and technology such as environmental remediation and disaster mitigation, information technology, and/or alternative energy sources, whatever.”