Youth against cynicism

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Last week’s demonstration, Mr Montpetit noticed that the younger generation was anguished by a future mortgaged by climate change. The construction of pipelines is a profoundly hostile policy toward their generation.  On October 21, please give the boot to those who wish to build 3 pipelines.

Youth against cynicism

They say that truth comes from the mouths of babes! Last September the 27th, from Halifax to Victoria , some 140 demonstrations against climate change took place across Canada. In Montreal, it was a veritable tide which spread peacefully through the streets behind young Greta Thunberg. In order to get the big picture, the Guardian reminded us that the previous week, 4 million young ( and not so young) people – had marched for the climate in various cities of the planet. (1) The demonstration of such profound concern about a future compromised by the combustion of fossil fuels caused  »Rich Big Oil » to react.

The heads of industry characterized the demands of the organizers as  »…naive and unrealistic… »; then the leaders of the  »Global Business Forum » added with cynical condescension, ‘‘… that they support the right of the participants to attract attention to this problem and applaud their emotional engagement….  » (2) That is the official, diplomatic version of PR (public relations). However, on the web, the reaction against Greta and the protesters became vitriolic. (3) Meanwhile, in Québec as elsewhere, the negative effects of climate change have hit us sooner than the experts had predicted. (4) The last report of the IPCC leaves no doubt as to the seriousness of the situation. (5)

During the march, in front of me, I saw a student whose poster expressed her apprehension in the face of the possible 6thgreat extinction of species. It read;  »I dream of dying of old age »(Je rêve de mourrir de vieillesse). For kids born after 2000 , the  »dream » to live a normal life is, according to industry, simply an  »…emotional engagement… »! Each young person who demonstrates his or her distress is like a drop of water; one drop hardly makes an impression. But millions of drops can form an irresistible tsunami to move the bigwigs of this world.

Faced with the climate emergency, it is clear that everyone of us must do their share of the change, whether individuals, local communities, industry or governments. We must think globally, but we must act locally; in other words, locally means Canada. In this manner, the  »…naive… » enthusiasm of youth exerts an enormous pressure on the politicians during an election campaign. Dozens of posters denounced the Trudeau government’s purchase of TransMountain Pipeline. The party heads, Mrs May, Mr Trudeau and Mr Blanchet took part in the march, while Mr Singh did the same in British Columbia. As for Mr Scheer, after taking part in the taping of the TV show Tout le monde en parle on Thursday evening, he hastened to hide himself in his aircraft to flee Montreal like a dog afraid of being kicked…

Worse! Next morning, to thumb his nose at the demonstrators, we find Mr Scheer, flanked by JasonKenney, premier of Alberta, promising a  »transcanadian energy corridor ». (6) The solution of Mr Scheer and Mr Kenney, is to promote the transport of fossil fuels. On top of TransMountain, that “energy corridor” means the revival of Energy East and paving the way for a natural gas pipeline to the Saguenay River to export LNG(liquified natural gas); «fraxed» natural gas and the expansion of tar sand production means an exponential increase of climate destroying greenhouse gases. As for Mr Trudeau, he talks out of both sides of his mouth; even though he pretends to respect the Paris Accord, he bought TransMountain and proposes to triple its capacity.

During my teaching career, I was often confronted with the brutal frankness of teenagers; a frankness not  »politically correct », but always sincere. Young people born after 2000 may live to see the twilight of the 21stcentury…. if climate change does not exterminate them beforehand. It is in this context that the dream of the young demonstrator to  »die of old age » takes on its full meaning. At the moment of making your choice on election day, please remember that in the long term , the construction of pipelines is a profoundly hostile policy toward your generation. In the short novel «Youth», Joseph Conrad describes the indomitable spirit of youth. On October 21, with this spirit and a hope to have a future, please give the boot to those who wish to stick 3 pipelines up your “you know what”.

Gérard Montpetit

Member of Comité des citoyennes et citoyennes pour la protection de l’environnement maskoutain

October 4, 2019






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