Cultureguru's Weblog

Of food, technology, movies, music, and travel—or whatever else strikes my fancy

Democracy then and now

Leave a comment

Saturday we went to a fundraiser for the Cambridge Fashion History Museum. They were holding a Tango Tea, and type of event popular in the 1910s. This was a high tea at which people would do the popular dances of the day—including, but hardly limited to, the tango. They encouraged us to dress in outfits reminiscent of that time. I didn’t have exactly that, but wore a tango dress with a fashion hat—I looked at pictures, and everyone wore hats then.

Me with a Givenchy that was part of the exhibits

Jean wore a fetching pinstripe suit and his Dad’s fedora; unfortunately, the person we got to take Jean’s picture didn’t press the camera button all the way down, so his outfit is lost to the mist.

Another friend took a picture!

They brought in a Stanford professor who specializes in dance history. He did a few classes in the morning that we didn’t attend, but during the tea also did some demos and shorter lessons on the basics of the one-step, the grizzly dance, and other popular dances of the time. Our ballroom dance instructor wouldn’t have approved of the techniques (or lack thereof), but it was fun learning and seeing these dances that did evolve into today’s waltz, tango, quickstep, foxtrot, and samba.

The Sufragettes were active in the 1910s, and through some educational (but fun!) games, we learned more about them. We were also invited to join the movement.

The two ladies in the centre made these dresses themselves

In Canada, most women earned the right to vote in federal and Ontario elections in 1917. Asian women were excluded until after the Second World War, and Native women earned the right only in 1960.

In 2018, Canada has a feminist Prime Minister who insists on a gender-balanced cabinet (though parliament remains far from balanced). In Ontario, we have a ridiculous, unqualified Premier who beat several far more qualified women on the way to power.

So, the fight’s not really over.

Premier Ford is currently pretty busy throwing Toronto’s municipal election into chaos for no reason while trying take away their right to free speech as quickly as possible, so when Greenpeace added to his pile of lawsuits for not doing the legally mandated consulting before cancelling cap and trade, he capitulated (to some degree) and opened a one-month opportunity to comment online. You can find it here: Just click Submit a comment.

Not sure what to say? Well, in case it helps, this is what I submitted. (And no, I don’t think it will make a difference, but at least I’ll be able to say I tried.)

I particularly object to the timing of this bill. Cancelling participation in the cap and trade program should not be done until the Progressive Conservative have in place a viable alternative plan to reduce Ontario’s greenhouse emissions. At this point, they haven’t given any hint what that new plan will be, only that there will be one.

We can’t have any time lag between the end of the cap and trade and the start of whatever it is the Progressive Conservatives are going to do instead, because in that time, emissions will increase (unless, perhaps, Ontario has a recession). Ontario is already experiencing the effects of climate change now: Increased wildfires, more severe rainfalls and flooding, the spread northward of lime disease and West Nile disease, and lower nutrition density in food. All of these things will only get more frequent and more severe as emissions increase.

While Ontario on its own can’t ensure that Canada meets its Paris Treaty obligations, as Canada’s largest province, without their participation Canada is sure to fail. And while Canada can’t on its own solve the global problem of climate change, if we don’t do our part, how can we expect the larger emitting countries to do theirs? Per capita, Canadians are some of the highest emitters in the world. There’s nothing special about us that allows us to pollute as much as we want while the rest of the world tries to reduce. Other cold, sparsely populated countries don’t produce as many emissions per capita as we do.

Delaying the cancellation of the cap and trade bill until 2020 would bring many other benefits to the province:

  • The government can keep its obligation to its partners in Quebec and California and give them appropriate notice of their intent to withdraw, set at 12 months. Doing it faster than that puts them at risk of lawsuits from those governments.
  • Businesses can benefit from the carbon credits they purchased in good faith as recently as June of this year. The Ontario government is spared the cost of having to compensate these companies, and the risk of lawsuits should the compensation offered not be deemed sufficient.
  • The Ontario government will benefit from cap and trade revenue during that time. If they feel bad about Ontarians paying more for gas, they could return the money to the taxpayer instead of spending it on government programs (that benefit Ontarians).
  • The Federal government would not impose a carbon tax on Ontario, and the Ontario government saves the $3 million of legal fees they’ve set aside to fight the Federal government in court to try to stop them from doing that. (I would note that the Federal government was elected with a majority on a clear mandate to bring in national carbon pricing, so given the Ontario government’s current argument that appointed judges should not be overriding the decisions of elected officials, they are being extremely hypocritical in bringing forward this legal action.)

But most important, still, is that they not get rid of the current plan to reduce emissions before having the replacement plan well defined, costed, and ready to implement the moment the other one ends. Because these are the sad facts about climate change (from the New York Times Magazine –

The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming “a prescription for long-term disaster.” Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario.

Three-degree warming is a prescription for short-term disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities. Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree warming is the realistic minimum.

Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable.

The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.

And you’re allowed to submit links, so apart from the New York Times one, I added What scrapping cap and trade will mean for Ontario and Climate at the Crossroads (which is really more for the Federal government, but what the heck).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s