By Mike Archer. Abbotsford News columnist Mark Rushton decided to get the straw man elements of his argument right out in the open and dispensed with at the beginning of his column on the Conservative government and the Enbridge pipeline.
Cover image: Mendelson Joe’s Stephen Harper postcard
By stating that Conservative Party of Canada stands for a strong economy, business and financial security for the nation Rushton leaves very little space for any of the other political parties, environmentalists, land owners, First Nations or any of the other 50 percent of the population who object to the pipeline proposal to occupy.
By declaring that the national interest is limited to a strong economy, business and financial security, Rushton picked a pretty narrow definition – one which many very successful, wealthy and advanced countries have not limited themselves too – countries such as Norway, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and many more which have chosen other virtues to include in their definition of national interest.
I could just as easily argue that those who have a better claim to owning the national interest are those who want to protect our natural resources, the environment and our economy from the short term profit taking the US oil companies who own the tar sands want to extract before tar is no longer valuable.
Having a) defined the shipment of Alberta tar as ‘the national interest,’ and, having b) defined the Conservative Party of Canada as the embodiment of a strong economy, business and financial security for the nation, he should have stopped arguing with himself after the second paragraph.
Whether Rushton understands that his logical fallacy implies that those who disagree with him and his political masters are apparently opposed to a strong economy and business and financial security for the nation is moot. He may just be talking to himself when he justifies Stephen Harper’s and his Alberta Conservatives’ scorched earth (literally) policy when it comes to the Alberta tar sands and the financial success of his friends and supporters in the oil patch.
He’s free to do so but he would be more honest were he to admit for whom he is shilling.
Rushton appears oblivious to the hundreds of countries around the world which have managed to run very successful economies, some of which have higher standards of living than we do, without destroying themselves and the environment in the process.
What about the national interest of Germany – Over half Germany’s energy now comes from solar power. If Germany can get over half their energy from solar power, why narrowly define our national interests as the burning of fossil fuel and the shipment of tar to countries which won’t abandon their dependence on oil. If that is our national interest I think we have some talking to do.
Without any justification, explanation or even the merest whiff of an argument he simply implies that, since his Conservative Party of Cannada stands for a strong economy, business and financial security for the nation everyone else must stand against a strong economy, business and financial security and, the ever present national interest – which apparently belongs to the Conservative Party as well.
“Not only is extraction, sale and export of Alberta tar sands of [sic] Canada’s national interest, it is in the global interest,“ says Rushton like a revival preacher herding the ignorant and the uninformed towards the collection plate.
The extraction, sale and export of Albert tar sands oil is fueling global climate change and retarding our adaptation to safer, more sensible and economically viable ways of making money, running our economy and avoiding planetary collapse.
Perhaps the fact that Rushton lives atop Sumas Mountain gives him the illusion that when the ocean levels rise he will be immmune from the effects of the climate change he seems to think should take a back seat to making a quick buck.
There are certainly arguments to be made which justify the short term economic gain resulting from burning more tar and risking ecological disaster in BC for the sake of Alberta’s economic well-being.
Most of those arguments have short-term massive increases in wealth for US oil companies as their end game. The long term sustainability of the Canadian nation seems a much more appropriate as something called the national interest than making short term money from the renmnants of a dying industry.
Protecting BC property owners (those of us down in the Valley) and future generations from economic and ecolgical collapse are subject matters which ought to be given equal billing if we’re going to discuss the pros and cons of pipelines.
Defining those with whom you disagree as being somehow against a strong economy, business and financial security for the nation is not going to win over anyone to the Conservative Party’s cause who thinks before they open their mouths.
Rushton might try explaining why none of BC’s Conservative MPs have been allowed to say a word in public about the issue or why, instead of telling Stephen Harper that there are some educated, concerned and angry citizens in their ridings who will punish them at the polls for his obstinacy, they seem to think their job entails explaining Stephen Harper to Canadians rather than explaining Canadians to Stephen Harper.