A year ago I participated in an artistic movement to enliven optimism surrounding the Canadian federal election. As the year has come full circle, many things have changed in politics, yet many procedures (including pipeline approval) have hardly changed from the previous operations of Parliament.
99 youth were detained today for demonstrating peacefully outside of Canadian parliament in Ottawa in opposition to the Kinder Morgan pipeline (including two students from Halifax). The group trespassed beyond a marked gate protected by security forces, to emphasize the importance of the message they were bringing to “President” Justin Trudeau.
“I was arrested today protesting the Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain#Tarsands pipeline along with 99 students & youth from across Canada today. Young peoples sent a message to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that real climate leaders don’t build pipelines – #StopKM!” – Clayton Thomas Muller writes alongside this photo.
Trudeau campaigned on a lukewarm climate strategy, with buzz words and a charismatic smile. It won the vote over Stephen Harper’s ten year reign, but as the honeymoon phase of his inauguration is ending, we now see his hands are tied in global environmental clusterfucks the same way Mr. Harper was, although I appreciate the feminist charmer over a Conservative robot. He touts a gender balanced cabinet with ministers who are actually well-versed and well-represented in their area of interest. It was a glimmer of the rainbow after the flood.
Yet, this issue is not over. The demand for better leadership is not over. Especially so as we witness the American election debates with gaping mouths. One might think the climate issue is no longer important, as these debates never graced the lips of either candidate, nor the moderator, knowing full-well what the topics of debate would be regarding: scandals both nominees are liable for, and avoiding.
We’re at the final question of the last debate and climate change has not come up in a serious way once. Criminal negligence. #debatenight
— Naomi Klein (@NaomiAKlein) October 20, 2016
This issue is not over, and we need to be reminded of this daily. That action is not positive words and nodding our heads while loading up at Costco and upgrading our iPhones..
Gord Downie is using his final burst of activist capacity to voice concerns for Indigenous communities otherwise left behind in our history; in our reality. Oil pipelines cutting through reserve territory, while water pipelines are in disrepair, is abominable federal policy. Residential school children ripped from their families last generation is affecting reality for those trying to make it through this one. His Secret Path production highlights the all-too-real elements of his own recent struggle with Memories, death, isolation.. and in this finds a way to communicate his conscious approach to shared humanity. Literally giving everything he has to be sure Canadians know how we done fucked up. And how we have to be accountable to this story as a part of our history. Alongside oil, alongside colonial assimilation. To become strong in our reconciliation.
Real leaders build the right pipelines. We can be the leaders; we hear this more and more… But how? What can we do?
This October 20th, I’m happy to see a new face behind the desk. But let’s talk about using oil better, if we must at all. Let’s be proactive to sustain cultural relationships with our land. Sustain our ability to be kind beyond pleasantries and brave faces.
Let’s use oil better so we won’t need it at all.
Take a sad song and make it just a wee bit better. All of us. Take it from a Jude; it’s possible.