Merlin Nichols: O Canada, O World, Oh Why?


O Canada, O Nations, O World, what is going on; why is it going on; when will it stop? Trouble piled upon trouble! Frenzy following frenzy compounded with panic! The blind following or leading the blind – though they claim to see. What have we done to deserve such chaos and uncertainty that eats into our souls, our minds, our wallets, our national spirit?

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War on terror; war on people’s minds and bodies; attacks on our intelligence and on our integrity – to say nothing of attacks on what’s left of our virtue!

Scarcely we finish with Greta’s campaign of fear (except we’re not finished with Greta) when the rails are blockaded and commerce grinds to a slow death; that’s not over and COVID-19 raises its sweaty face scattering panic around the globe – possibly somewhat assuaged by a vanishing domestic stockpile of toilet paper. Isn’t enough plenty?

Apparently not. OPEC has undertaken to further undermine our domestic oil industry while we blithely continue to heat out homes, drive our cars, and deliver our necessary goods all for the benefit of OPEC and the injury of Canadian workers and families – with no benefit to the environment. Have our minds been entirely smoked?

Can’t we have a bit of time and a little peace to collect what’s left of our wits, consolidate our resources and emotions, and make sensible decisions?

What’s next?

If we had only known, if we had cared to know, that all this was in the offing, would we have chosen to be born just now?

Or have we come into the world for such a time as this? Tell me if you can.

Actually, we did know or, more correctly, we could have known at least the generalities if not the specifics of the present-day chaos, anger, fear, rebellion, mayhem, murder, and loss. It was all written in the ancient scrolls of the prophets and is still there in highly readable modern English, Hindi, Urdu, Japanese ... for our perusal. Except it seems we choose not to peruse or to pay attention.

We’d rather blindly follow the blind and collectively flounder in the ditch of our own digging.

Well, what did the ancient scrolls predict as normal or to be expected for our times? Can you imagine wars and rumors of wars, insurrections, social upheavals? How about famines and endemic diseases? Ecological and climate uncertainty? Panic sweeping the world; hearts failing for fear of what is coming on the earth, the nation, the family, on me? Yes to all the above. But haven’t these scourges and fears gone on for ages of generations? To be sure, they have!

The past century was particularly brutal but in retrospect it appears almost benign to us in O Canada. Perhaps because most of the violence occurred far away from our homeland (it is our homeland; we have no other on this planet), out of sight, out of earshot; we sent our kids over there somewhere to do our dirty work (dirty work that had to be done, to be sure), and the news of it was severely controlled.

The dirty work is wired into our own homes today. It takes a mighty will to resist its corrosive influence but it is essential for our health and mind development that we do resist.

Times have changed enormously in the last two decades. No longer can we officially control the news – only manipulate it, fiddle with it, add to it, subtract from it, tweet it out of all resemblance to truth.

And withal it multiplies exponentially seemingly as a living thing.

And so we derive our opinions, develop our biases and learn our loves and hates.

While ignoring the wisdom of the ancients that could point us to a path through and out of the mess we are in.

In the meantime (all time is mean if we play the fool), all I can do is point Ottawa, and maybe also Quebec and Toronto in the right direction – my opinion of right derived from decades of observation, reading, conversation with intelligent minds, and practical experience: We need to cut our economic ties to OPEC real soon. We have to stop funding with our purchases of oil the arbitrary, authoritarian governments whose regard for the earth we share and for their own people is obviously, indisputably, dubious.

Step one means taking immediate steps to connect Alberta energy with Canadian markets.

Step two means taking immediate steps to begin the process immediately.

Step three means to finish the task while we still have an industry to fill the pipes.

To dally threatens the survival of the industry and perhaps of Canada as well.

To destroy our domestic industry with the vague hope of some indefinable ecological or climatic benefits will ensure no such benefits. We’ll simply continue to buttress the irresponsible OPEC regimes while impoverishing our own nation and families.

Is that what we want?

By the way, Mr. Trudeau, as the Ancients have cautioned: “He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind.” Time to listen up!

Merlin Nichols is the former mayor of Chetwynd.

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