R. Sanders’ joyful note (record, Aug. 23) for the bright (Conservative) future on the North Island was perhaps intended as a caricature, a wry glance for our amusement at a rather smelly possibility.
He is talking, of course, about gerrymandering, “manipulating [electoral districts] in order to obtain an unfair advantage” (Oxford English Dictionary) — not something to crow about, surely.
While R. Sanders may not be at all serious, we all know there are people out there who do hold such views as he expressed in his letter. For brevity, I’ll call them “the Sanders.”
They are concerned about “loony lefties”, “tree-huggers,” “enviro-extremists,” “left-wing nuts.” Apparently the Sanders of the world do not read anything scientific.
“Tree huggers” for example are concerned about preserving shrinking habitat, and maintaining the climate-stabilizing forests of the planet. Those of this tribe (the Sanders) denying climate change might note that June alone broke over 3,000 high-temperature records across the U.S. May was the warmest month on record for the Northern Hemisphere, the 327th consecutive month in which the global average temperature exceeded the 20th Century average.
The possibility of this happening by chance is vanishingly small —this, when global temperatures should be cooling, in accordance with the natural global temperature cycles. If the Sanders are uncomfortable with temperatures and such, think wildfires, crop failures, massive storms.
All these are rising out the normal fluctuating background. Only one of the reasons to preserve our environment — we need its support as much as any other living thing.
What about enviro-extremists?
Well, just to take one example, our present federal government in 2010 destroyed all copies of an environmental report on the impacts of Alberta’s tar sands development on water supplies. The findings can still be got at, from the reports submitted by experts.
Not happy reading: There is leakage from tailings ponds, likely to increase as the tar sands are developed; there is a threat to aquifers, which are in any case inadequately mapped; air pollution alone from this industry deposits annually the equivalent of a 5,000-barrel spill into the Athabasca River.
Shrunken government departments do not have the resources to answer most of the vital questions regarding the effects on water, in river or aquifer. So, who are the enviro-extremists?
Like many of the Sanders tribe, letter-writer R. Sanders is concerned about Communists. The sneering word appears frequently in letters to the editor.
Well, because capitalism is not doing too well, one does not have to go to the other extreme.
And capitalism is sick. Example: Ferdinand Mount headed the policy unit for Mrs. Thatcher (she and her folks were not Communists, by the way) and is very unhappy about the way senior bankers and executives kept the tax cuts they were given, but also the “perks”, previously given because their taxes were so unfair, while the cheap labour offered by ‘globalization’ penalized the poor sods at the bottom of the heap in Western countries.
As even the middle classes now know, these same rich and powerful lobby and lean on governments, and the very democracy we pretend to hold dear is creaking and cracking. Perhaps the Sanders should not be so smug about the Conservative record, around the world, as in Canada.
Maybe I’m mistaken. Maybe R. Sanders was indeed offering a caricature for us to chortle — or weep — over. I hope so.