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Evan Saugstad: Climate crusaders losing the battle of public opinion

"Code Red for Climate Action" is steadily taking a back seat to "Code Red for Affordable Living" as the masses struggle to pay their bills and keep their families fed.
extinction-rebellion 3-min
Activists with the so-called "Extinction Rebellion" stage a "funeral procession" for the planet in Vancouver. Photo Dan Toulgoet

George Carlin once said, “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize that half of them are stupider than that.” He also said, “Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups.”

Oh, how I loved George’s sarcastic and humorous wit, but I'm not sure if he could keep up to the lunacy of today… hmmm, if I were to say his seven words, would that now be considered a crime against humanity?

I wonder what George would have to say about Canada’s gas and oil industry: Best thing since sliced bread, or about as desirable as monkey pox? I would think the former, but that is me.

Canada’s oil and gas industry should be one that we are proud to support and be thankful for. It is the grease that keeps our wheels turning, the envy of the world, pays more of our bills than any other, and the life blood of our economy, most of the time, if we leave it alone to do its thing.

But, unfortunately, we do have some very influential politicians who are well-known for their opposition to everything gas and oil, and who continue to lead the charge to end our reliance on this great and needed resource. Would George place these in the bottom half of his stupid spectrum?

A recent RBC report confirmed the dominance of Canada’s oil patch as one that pays more than its fair share of taxes and royalties, to the tune of about $48 billion this year, and, if energy prices stay at similar levels, up to $64 billion in 2023. Nothing else even comes close to matching what gas and oil contributes to our life and our economy.

Despite this contribution and these numbers, Jagmeet Singh wishes to tax them out of existence and distribute their wealth as he and Justin Trudeau did with CERB. Mayor Stewart of Vancouver wants to tax their residents and join a lawsuit against Canada’s “Big Oil” so he and his council can use this wealth as the community rebuilding slush fund, under the guise of climate change. And as Trudeau and his buddies blindly charge ahead with legislation to increase the cost of production, all done under this same guise.

It makes one wonder, if we need to do so much to be prepared for the wild swings that weather can have on our communities and economy, why we wouldn’t be looking to do more to be ready and that we use this annual tax contribution to help accomplish such tasks.

Why do we blindly accept that Stanley Park’s sea wall was destroyed by climate change, when the culprit was the lack of maintenance by the City of Vancouver that allowed a completely predicable and regular King tide to combine with high winds to destroy it? Or, why do we say the same when we allowed the flooding of former Lake Agassiz, also caused by a lack maintenance to its dikes by all three levels of government? Or, why are we still so unprepared for wildfires that we let them burn communities while we throw our hands in the air and yell ‘climate change’ when all of these are predictable, preventable, and under our control to ensure they do not happen at the scale they currently do?

In this time of lies, deceit, and obfuscation of what our climate crisis truly is, why would Vancouver council pick July 2022 to embark on a process that, if successful, would drive the price of petroleum-based products to levels that would make today’s prices seem like a bargain?

I can think of a couple reasons as to why, including questioning the intelligence of those involved. I also believe that these leftist leaders don’t give two hoots about what higher energy prices mean as, come hell or high water, they are willing to bring Vancouver to its knees in their plight to rid their city of anything that resembles carbon.

Now, more importantly than any other time since the climate crisis was invented, climate crusaders realize they are losing the battle of public opinion. The "Code Red for Climate Action" message is slowly and steadily taking a back seat to the message that says "Code Red for Affordable Living" as the masses struggle to pay their bills and keep their families fed.

In this time of skyrocketing energy prices and runaway inflation, and while the rest of the world racks their brains trying to figure out how they can get their hands on enough affordable petroleum to keep their lights on, buildings heated, traffic moving, and food to feed their masses, Canada keeps trying to head in the opposite direction. At this same time, Vancouver council voted to support a 2030 Winter Olympic bid for the lower mainland, which, coincidentally, only costs a few billion that will miraculously be paid for by someone else, and, not so coincidentally, will generate a few billion more tonnes of carbon spewed into their tranquil atmosphere. Oh, how my head hurts.

The lead proponents behind this lawsuit dream, are, and not surprisingly, a bunch of underemployed lawyers looking for another government handout to keep them working. “Yes,” they say, look how successful the lawsuits were against “big tobacco” and “big pharma,” conveniently forgetting that we as a society could do without cheap tobacco and had alternatives to the abundant and addictive fentanyl-type drugs.

Yes, they conveniently omitted that should lawsuits such as these be successful, the cost, no matter the amount, will only be added to the cost of petroleum production. They ignore that we cannot live without petroleum, that more costs mean higher prices — for everyone. Yes, they care not that we feel more of the same pain as we have today.

If recent history has taught us one thing, it's that people won’t change their attitude simply by charging them more. Price people out of their life and lifestyles and they will price politicians out of their jobs, pure and simple.

And you think the Freedom Convoy is something not to be repeated? Allowing stupid people to keep doing stupid things does not lead to good outcomes.

Evan Saugstad lives and writes in Fort St. John.

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