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Paul, you have identified the chief reason I no longer work in politics. When I started on the Hill in 1990, talk and debate were front and centre. This has morphed into something I find both distateful and sad.
I was recently in the UK. A similar inability to debate and discuss is occurring there, albeit in complete sentences delivered in authoritative accents.
Also, the same argument about immigration, in which everyone is in favor in theory, but in practice find it is ruining their lives. The idea of accommodating so many newcomers is ridiculous given our crumbling public services.
This had finally found its way into the mainstream media via the housing crisis and I think this explains the reluctance of politiicans to talk about this publicly.
Unless Artificial Intelligence (not the "general" kind) can replace immigration, we aren't alone. China needs immigrants, or will desperately need some within a decade; after that things get much worse. Japan is inventing robots because their young people reject procreation and their immigration policies make Quebec look laissez faire. And of course there is Europe.
Language-as-culture will become a smaller and smaller problem/issue.
Thanks Mr Wells, a fine coda to the week.
As a technical comment, I can provide links to the MIT study that modeled how much climate damage you get from natural gas, combining the CO2 it produces (half as much as coal, by the megawatt-hour), and the effects from some of it leaking, between gas field and gas power plant.
Natural Gas is just as damaging to the atmosphere if the leakage rises to 4%. The industry scoffed that they never let money leak away, that the whole cycle loses only 0.25%. External observations - looking above pipelines, Infra-red views of gas upgraders, gas power plants - peg the number at 2.5%.
(That was before Turkmenistan was found the other day to be leaking almost unbelievable amounts, part of the overall system.)
If the effect was linear, then 2.5% would be about 2/3rds as bad as 4%, and in total getting your megawatts from gas is 80% as damaging as with coal.
Frankly, it's not "Serious" to believe that is an important improvement. Philippines could reduce asthma and heart disease by switching to natural gas - but saving the world, not so much.
Whether one agrees with mass immigration or not the biggest issue right now and into the future is housing everyone.
How can Canada possibly house one million plus people per year? Based on anecdotal stories from family, friends and refugees across Canada it is very difficult to find somewhere to rent at the moment. Stats show extremely low vacancy rates. Add in the cost and only those with wealth can find a nice abode. Of course large urban areas like Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto are the worst along with places like East Vancouver Island.
For once I am on side with Québécois.
Paul, on the goal of increasing Canada's population for economy reasons, I reference Doug Saunders' little book, Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough, where briefly tours through immigration policy past and present and makes a case for growing our population. I would also gladly plug his earlier work, Arrival City, for discussions of integrating newcomers.
I, like almost all Quebecers, want French to remain the common language. As an immigrant, I also recognize that learning French is not something that happens in the six months after one arrives, by taking a few French courses. New immigrants learn French over years, some faster than others, some more fluently than others. It is the immigrants' children that learn French so well that it becomes as much their first language as whatever language they speak with their parents at home. The requirement (in the late 70s?) that immigrant children go to French schools was a brilliant idea, and it has worked very well in the past. Unfortunately the Quebec education system undermines this mechanism for the integration of immigrants via the public schools through its financing of private schools, and concentrating those kids from families with less financial resources (many of whom are immigrants) into the under-financed public schools.
Wrt your comment that 58% of The Philippines power is coal sourced I note (I live there) it is also debilitatingly expensive for such a poor country, at least 5 times more than Ontario. Canada’s empty efforts to slay the mythical monster of global warming only harms struggling 3rd world countries such as The Philippines.
The Freeland piece was the best insight on Canada’s climate agenda by any journalists, including those on the climate beat.
The GoC’s ‘selective Biden syndrome’ means only on-brand elements get attention - hydrocarbons need not apply.
Meanwhile, the hard but much needed part, aligning our climate and energy policies gets the yada-yada.
Assuming Biden has another six years to implement an agenda critical to Canada’s national interest but inconsistent with our own plans, Canada will be playing the same losing game we’ve played for 20 years. Endlessly debating, growth summiting, fire side-chatting about our ‘energy’ future. Looking for some mysterious force to sign a permission slip so we can do something. Anything. Meanwhile, our only energy customer becomes a stronger, less dependent competitor.
I am an anglophone married into a Quebec family. When I hear my family talk about loss of language, the idea of bringing on lots of francophone immigrants does not get them excited. It seems they are more worried about the loss Quebec's founding European root culture. Saying this openly brings with it a risk of being labeled as racist, so I can understand why. However, it would be could to be have more transparent debate in the media on what is actually at risk of being lost, and why that is important (or not).
Thanks Paul for a fine review of a week of good reporting. Also thanks for employing the word “monotonically”, which, while it will never make a Wordle, is an excellent mouth warmup for podcasting.
Fine. You've warned that important journalism cannot proceed with necessary revelation of sources. Now, how would you deal with Alex Jones? Rely on the good sense of the population to lead to ridicule of fake news reports?
Great article and speaks to a core change in the past 25 years and that is the diminishment of unmediated conversation and debate in the public square. It has led me to feel that I can no longer make a difference and questioning why anyone ichooses to be involved in politics at any level of government.
Paul, I very much enjoy your extended weekend essay on various topics. Am I alone in thinking that with a few exceptions like John McKay, our MPs are waiting to be told what to think and do about issues by consultants and/or honchos in the PMO?
It seems to me we don’t need an expanded civil service AND outside consultants.
Time for less “talk talk and more walk walk!”
Build it and they can come. Housing, a decent health care, language classes for newcomers and a system that does not discriminate against skilled professionals and tradesmen.
This was also covered in this morning’s La Presse. “Ottawa se distancie de l’Initiative du siècle”. Included in the La Presse article, I liked Blanchet’s comment .......”Or, il ne devrait pas revenir à « quelques intellectuels dans une tour à Toronto » de déployer une stratégie qui vise à « casser les Québécois une fois pour toutes », s’est indigné le chef du Bloc québécois,
I am glad people are not sleeping at the switch. :)