It's no surprise that Canadians aren't swooning over Justin Trudeau anymore, if they ever did. That over-worked trope was always annoyingly sexist anyway. Nobody needs this election, and we're tired.
From the confirmation of Indigenous children's unmarked graves, to terrifying fires, to a catastrophic evacuation from Kabul, to protesters blocking ambulances at hospitals, it's been one helluva summer.
Still, one hopes Canadians will be clear-eyed about the sobering consequences of the choice we face as a nation on Monday. The government waiting to be sworn in will be either Liberal or Conservative.
Can we please focus now?
This pandemic is still with us. Alberta, the flagship province that most embodies the CPC zeitgeist, just declared a state of emergency as its ICUs collapse and 24 people died in a single day.
"If there's one lesson we should have learned as a nation these last two years, it's the indispensable role of government," @garossino writes
And this summer almost 600 British Columbians perished in a heat wave that sparked wildfires that burned over half a million hectares to the ground, including whole towns. Plural.
Climate and Covid must command our full attention as citizens.
We will not see the back of Covid in this country without vaccine mandates. Full stop.
We must establish climate policies that meet or exceed our 2030 Paris commitments. Full stop.
There are excellent reasons to vote for either the NDP or Green Party. There are no defensible reasons to vote PPC, whose masterful campaign-by-tantrum dominated news coverage. The laissez-faire mantra of the CPC has shown itself to be manifestly unsuited to meeting moments of great crisis.
Which brings us back to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals.
If there's one lesson we should have learned as a nation these last two years, it's the indispensable role of government. It was good government that delivered CERB benefits into millions of Canadians' bank accounts within weeks of the 2020 lockdown.
It was good government that set up emergency access to capital for Canadian businesses and non-profits, and assured the public that the federal government would see them through to the pandemic's end.
It was good government that procured more than enough vaccines to immunize the entire nation in a timely way, and it is good government to impose a vaccine mandate wherever practicable.
It is good government to introduce a national $10 a day child-care plan.
(It is not good government to fight residential school survivors in court).
We should put to rest forever the notion that taxes and government are inherently bad. We could not have survived Covid without them, nor will we conquer the climate emergency.
On the climate score, it's arguable that the Trudeau government's performance has long been under-rated. This is a somewhat self-inflicted wound, as the party's own focus on Justin Trudeau obscures outstanding leadership of Catherine McKenna and Jonathan Wilkinson in Canada's environment and infrastructure portfolios.
Notably, former BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver endorsed the Liberal climate platform as "a plan that reflects the urgency and scale of the crisis." Weaver was a lead author of the IPCC 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th scientific assessments, and former chief editor of the Journal of Climate.
And respected independent experts Mark Jaccard and Katharine Hayhoe have also awarded high marks to the Liberals, while expressing dissatisfaction with the NDP and Green Party plans to achieve laudably ambitious goals.
For this, these scholars have been subjected to relentless personal attack on social media, but little substantive response, with the exception of this spirited response to Jaccard from Seth Klein in these pages.
Missing from Jaccard’s assessment is an analysis of power, particularly as it plays out within the Liberal party. That’s a problem because, without that framework, one has no understanding of how and why it is that the Liberals consistently promise to do things in an election (campaign from the left) and then fail to follow through (govern from the right).
Jaccard, not to be outdone, swiftly replied:
"Above all, don’t be tricked by ambitious targets with vague policy statements. Climate-insincere politicians learned early that naive voters would reward them for promising dramatic GHG reductions in a short time, which they subsequently never achieved once in office. This has been a deception by politicians across the political spectrum — Conservatives, Liberals, and the NDP."
Among progressives and climate activists, the Liberals abandoned credibility with their purchase of the TMX pipeline. Yet environmental law professor Martin Olszynski offers the intriguing take that this move averted a national unity crisis in the west.
Does anyone else wish that we'd had a lot more attention to this level of debate, and less coverage of howling anti-vaxxers this election?
At this moment, in this election, and for the rest of our lives, climate is too important to be an electoral after-thought.
While many academics conclude that the Liberal Party's policy commitments show the best path to meeting our Paris commitments, Seth Klein is right that we must do more. The alarms from fires, floods and tornadoes ring louder every year.
And methods matter more than sentiment.
It is entirely fair game to push the NDP and Greens to produce credible pathways to the goals they promise voters. In our all-too-common cynical response to Liberal climate policies, we've had a blind spot about the failure of progressives to produce solid achievable mechanisms for change.
In the decades ahead, when we look back on this fateful time, we will not wish for a moment that we'd done less. We'll regret every year we cede power to the CPC, which put climate activists on a terrorist watch list, and subjected them for years to a vindictive CRA witch-hunt.
Count this voter in for supporting every ounce of pressure we can put on the Trudeau Liberals to deliver more and better results on climate. Perhaps a minority government is the best check voters have.
When you go to the polls, remember that we will have a Liberal or CPC government. Vote like you'll make all the difference, because you do.