I was reading the news this morning on the CBC website and at every turn I was reminded of our government’s seeming helplessness. After giving it some thought though, I realized that the helplessness is entirely intentional. A side effect of our societies fixation on short term thinking, both in the business arena as well as in politics. Apparently it also transfers into the bureaucracy as well. Does no one in power believe in the principle behind the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? Apparently not.
The Department of Foreign affairs had no plan for evacuating Canadians from Libya, in spite of it being a military dictatorship headed by a batshit crazy Colonel and his sons. Even if we somehow come to grips that Canada does business with such regimes all the time, for the people who are charged with looking after the interests of all Canadians to not have a contingency plan in place in the event of unrest? And then after it becomes apparent that there are problems (reports of bombing from airplanes hit the Internet a day before any such reports hit the mainstream media in Canada), to still have no plan of action, no plan at all other than butt covering platitudes?
It is easy to point simply to the government employees involved and say that they dropped the ball. But it is much fairer to point to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister and ask where was the leadership? Why is it not standard procedure when dealing with politically volatile regimes to have contingency plans in place? Did we learn nothing from Lebanon?
Not surprising when you come to think of it though. After all, this is the same party that puts their ideology of greed before pragmatism. We do business with Libya because there is money to be made. We don’t do contingency plans as a matter of course because we are too busy making money or manipulating it. After all, this is the same party that had no problem thinking up and executing an unethical campaign spending scheme. If only they would use their talents for the good of Canada instead of the good of the Party.
Other examples of ideology getting in the way of preparing for foreseeable emergencies abound. Peak Oil, Climate Change, the harmful effects of industrial agriculture, aquifer depletion across the prairies, the destruction of the Athabasca River watershed, the collapse of the Newfoundland cod fishery. All of these are foreseeable, all will have an impact on the lives of ordinary Canadians over the next twenty years. Our government has no plan, other than the plan to get a majority and remake Canada in the image of some Reaganite hell, like their ilk have done to the United States. To deny the evidence of your eyes, to shut off your cognitive functions simply because you cannot afford to face reality? It must have something to do with being a Conservative in this country, as the mindset is not confined to the Federal level of politics.
Our country is facing problems, The world is facing problems. We need people in charge who get it, who can take a look at what is coming and start making preparations. Business as usual got us here, greed and envy will bring us to an all too predictable end. It is time to take action, to begin the planning for the foreseeable emergencies, to listen to the scientists and the oil engineers and start thinking about how we are going to address these issues that imperil our country.
I fear that the process of waking people up will take too long, that events will conspire to force decisions on our institutions, decisions that will play only one way, by transferring what little wealth we have left, natural or man made, from the many to the few. And whether you live in a dictatorship or a democracy, this is the real cause of unrest in our societies.
Maybe Harper has a plan for our country that is not this plan. And maybe pragmatism will outweigh politics, partisanship and ideology too.
As it ever was…