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Getting it right this time

sheelagh matthewsBest Interest Sheelagh MatthewsBy Sheelagh Matthews
There’s a lot at stake these days. And it’s finally coming into our awareness just how vulnerable we really are. Something’s got to give if we want to expect any kind of future at all—for ourselves, for our children, and for our fellow citizens of the world. In other words, it’s time to get it right this time. Lucky for us Canadians, we have an opportunity to do just that and very soon.

How so, you ask? It’s a simple matter of casting our votes when Canada goes back to the polls to elect a new federal government on Oct. 21, 2019. Scheduled just 10 days before Halloween, this election comes with its own scary soundtrack of news bites and spooky music. Because if we don’t start taking the overarching issue of climate change seriously, including how it will change our economy, our livelihoods, and our living standards, we’re going to be looking at Trouble.

Yes, that’s Trouble with a capital “T.” Now that climate change is getting more media attention, including on the six o’clock news, it’s getting harder to ignore, or even deny if the latter is how you are so inclined.

Let’s face it, to deny climate change now would be like telling Henry Ford that the automobile could never replace the horse. Of course, Ford and his car-manufacturing business model ended up driving our North American economy for decades. Just four weeks before our next federal election, automotive workers about to forever lose their jobs once the General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant closes at the end of this year, asked the federal government for $1.4 to $1.9 billion.

Why? To transform the factory site into a publicly owned operation that would build electric cars for use by government agencies, such as Canada Post. This proposal was made by Green Jobs Oshawa, a group organized from the local GM workforce. These workers must have realized that unless they grabbed onto green auto manufacturing with both hands, they would soon see their futures slip away.

The Oshawa workforce knows how to build cars. Shouldn’t we use that expertise to its highest and best purpose, just like a carpenter should do with a piece of wood? About 13,000 jobs would be created by this project. Considering the billions and billions of taxpayer-funded annual subsidies to fossil fuel production, I think this is a fair ask, don’t you?

The question now is will we elect a government able to see its way to supporting green industries and green technologies in as significant a way as it has in the past for oil and gas, as well as conventional auto manufacturing? If so, our country could well find itself in much better economic and environmental shape than it is now. Not only that, Canada would be contributing to doing its part as a global citizen when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases.

Here’s another critical question to ponder: If we can’t see our way to do our part when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases, how will we be able to walk the Earth as proud Canadians? There is a lot at stake with this election: we need to elect leaders willing and able to lead us out of our present-day carbon comfort zone and do it with empathy, sincerity, and vision. As voters, it’s our duty to put into office those who will give our children, and their children, and their children’s children a future. Getting it right this time on election day—now that’s in our best interest.

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