Saturday, September 10, 2011

Leaders or figureheads?

Deciding which candidates would be figureheads and which would be leaders is up to you.
With the Alberta PC party replacing Premier Ed Stelmach who is resigning October 1 what changes? Will we get a figurehead or a leader?
Changing things isn't easy. Alberta is a big ship and can't turn on a dime. Claims of being an energy superpower is code for continued expansion on oil and gas, rather than any major expansion in renewables.
Provincial leaders have a choice of loyalties: to the party, to their riding, to their province, their country, or the world.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair
Anyone who can get elected premier will be under immense pressure to pander to the Oil and Gas sector, despite climate change and the environmental impacts associated with fossil fuel production.
In 2008, the energy sector made up 30.8% (almost $90 Billion) of Alberta's GDP. That should indicate how entrenched the industry is, and how much money can be made in the industry. Political muscle? You bet.
With flagging economies, and these resources available, loyalties to party, province and country would suggest exploiting as much and as fast as possible. A strong economy is good for jobs and re-election.
Climate change impacts are down the road and hit poor people in far away places first. Profit and jobs are here and now. Very tempting.
We have a history of trying to pitch the cleanliness of our oil, treating it as a marketing problem. The product is the problem, and our entire system is complicit. Some of us admit we have a problem.
A political figurehead can keep the ship going straight ahead. A leader can forego the easy option, embrace reality, and usher in a clean energy future that we can be proud of. A principled future that we don't need to defend with marketing or guns.
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