NEB Hopes For Fairing Hearings On Energy East. Good Luck With That
Everyone knew that the National Energy Board’s hearings in Montreal concerning a trans-Canada pipeline were going to be divisive. Montreal mayor Denis Coderre had already signalled that, on behalf of his constituents, he would protest the environmental impact of the pipeline though the region. He would be joined by green activists protesting that fossil fuels are the devil’s work.
On the other side, industry sources were prepared to make their case that the pipeline to New Brunswick was both safe and profitable for all. Westerners, who have long supported Quebec’s economy via equalization payments in the billions each year, wanted the province to see the pipeline like the creation of the railroads in the nineteenth century— a national unity project.
With so much passion riding on the hearing it’s little surprise that it was quickly shut down by protesters who loudly disrupted the agenda. As of this writing the NEB is trying to decide how it can hold open and fair hearings in Montreal. Good luck with that.
Suppressing free speech to save free speech is the calling card of the new left’s operating manual. The point of the protest is not advancing cooperation. It is advancing a radical notion that the sins of the past on oil, natives, Quebec sovereignty or foreign entanglements disqualify anyone but the enlightened left from deciding policy.
The recent change of a Montreal park’s name from Parc Vimy to Parc Jacques Parizeau is a perfect distillation of this agenda. Useful idiots like Coderre inadvertently abet them with his pandering to the Prius Pilgrims in Montreal’s urban community.
The root cause of the left’s smug assumptions is not oil, natives, Quebec sovereignty, foreign entanglements or Justin Trudeau’s selfies. The culprit is moral relativism. Just as it has done in the United States, moral relativism has become the accepted worldview of Canada’s chic radicals, artists, dissatisfied leftists, intellectual poseurs and, increasingly, elected politicians.
Expressed simply, moral relativism dictates that all sins are indelible. The descendants of sinners are morally unfit to judge others in perpetuity. If the facts need to be massaged to reach the conclusion— well, advancing a “better world” sometimes necessitates breaking a few eggs. (See Gord Downie on Justin Trudeau’s native policiesgoo.gl/ssupK2)
In its most ludicrous form, president Barack Obama cited the Crusades of the eleventh century to disqualify modern Americans from judging radical Muslim politics.
In the U.S., everything is now about race. So America’s slave past is freely used by Black Lives Matter to tarnish those with no possible connection to the practice. (Shockingly these are mostly white male Republicans.) But the cudgel can be easily summoned to keep any infidel in line. As Bill Clinton learned, a liberal icon too can be silenced by the threat of BLM propaganda.(http://www.ebony.com/news-views/bill-clinton-black-lives-matter-protesters#axzz4IpmTm3iU)
The fever swamp of moral relativism is academia. Since the Viet Nam era, the seats of higher learning have proved fertile ground for the Grievance of the Month Club. BLM, safe spaces, micro-aggression charges, shutting down speeches, green orthodoxy are all the contrived offshoots of moral relativism’s re-arrangement of history.
Example: the classic meaning of WW II was seen as 1) Nazi aggression2) The Holocaust3) The atom bomb ending war with Japan 4) The sacrifice of Allied troops to liberate Europe and the Pacific and 5) The onset of the Cold War.
But academics now consider the salient points to be 1) The tragedy of the atomic bomb 2) Women in the workforce 3) Japanese internment in U.S. 4) Lack of integration in armed forces and 5) oppression of nations by corporate America in service of the industrial military complex.
There has been some campus pushback (http://lasvegassun.com/news/2016/aug/27/university-of-chicago-rebels-against-correctness-p/) but many of the top U.S. colleges have folded under PC pressure (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/good-men-project/liberals-deeply-disturbed-political-correctness_b_8537946.html)
This scrambling of narrative has extended to politics. Witness Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown’s obsequious retreat on the sexual re-education camps of Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government. The Tories have surrendered on issues of sex in what Financial Post columnist Phillip Cross calls the “monolithic, suffocating liberal swamp” of Toronto. (http://business.financialpost.com/fp-comment/philip-cross-toronto-has-become-a-monolithic-suffocating-liberal-swamp)
Popular culture, too, eagerly grabbed ahold of this Proustian lament for things past. Hollywood churns out a steady stream of films and TV programs on slavery to keep the narrative fresh. The sexual revolution of the past decade has also proved a fertile source of sitcoms and TV series. Popular music, dominated by urban artists, brazenly calls for shooting police and destroying neighbourhoods to support the narrative of killer cops— a message eagerly accepted by whites in the Occupy movement.
Underpinning this bonfire of the vanities is the utter certitude that its disciples are on the right side of history. On everything from self-identifying genders to melting glaciers to racial grievance theory they cite notions and theories as fact. “Don’t you want a better world?” is the refrain used to justify complete adherence to a set of facts ginned up to shame white male privilege.
Writer Chuck Klosterman has a book entitled, “But What If We’re Wrong?” He points out how the certitudes of the past have often proved hopelessly flawed. From Y2K to the Population Bomb, the best and brightest have often been wrong. But the virtuous folk think they’re batting 1.000 on all the issues.
Judging by the NEB fiasco and the like, Klosterman will have lots of material for a sequel. That is, if the NEB protestors allow him to publish it.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy
Bruce's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience with successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author of seven books. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013).