It's been astonishing to witness national media coverage of the Kinder Morgan pipeline dispute between Alberta and B.C.
Virtually every commentator east of the Rockies appears to be of one mind.
They've drank the federal Liberal and Alberta NDP Kool-Aid that this carbon-spewing project to mostly benefit U.S. shareholders is in the "national interest".
This is so even though it will increase tanker traffic nearly seven times in the waters off Vancouver. They don't appear to care that this project imposes a threat to B.C.'s tourism sector and its Super Natural brand.
But most alarming, this supposed "national interest" undermines Canada's capacity to meet its commitment under the Paris climate agreement.
The logical corollary is that the Paris climate agreement is not really in the national interest.
Justin Trudeau, Alberta premier Rachel Notley, various industry associations, and newspaper columnists who peddle this mantra about "national interest" will never publicly admit that they don't think the Paris climate agreement is in the national interest.
But when you look at this pipeline and Enbridge Line 3's impact on Canada's capacity to meet its international commitments, it's very easy to draw this conclusion.
"National interest" is a phrase designed to make Canadians with concerns about the pipeline appear to be parochial, small-minded, and opposed to the greater good.
The reality is that those who are risking arrest have a much broader interest: the survival of humanity on Earth in the face of rapidly rising greenhouse gas emissions.
They're willing to go to jail because of their beliefs and their deep concern about people in other parts of the world.
That's the antithesis of parochialism.
It's easier to make a case that pipeline advocates, like National Resources Minister Jim Carr and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, are actually the small-minded thinkers opposed to the good of humanity.
Do you think people facing rising floodwaters in places like Bangladesh or Maldives or droughts in sub-Saharan Africa and Mexico give a fig about Canada's "national interest" as a justification for making their lives more miserable or the needless deaths of their loved ones?
Does the national interest trump those who could see their homes burn up in future forest fires, which are resulting from hotter temperatures brought on by this fossil-fuel madness?
What about kids with asthma or seniors with respiratory problems living in cities like Vancouver and Kamloops and Quesnel, which will increasingly be shrouded in smoke during forest-fire season? Should they too be sacrificed on the pillar of the national interest?
Does the national interest take precedence over residents of the Caribbean and Gulf states whose lives are going to continue to be devastated by hurricanes?
As the Straight cover story noted this week, rising greenhouse gas emissions could conceivably make the planet uninhabitable for humans by the end of this century if feedback loops kick into high gear, resulting in large releases of carbon from oceans and methane from the Arctic.
This week, the Washington Post reported that circulation of water in the Atlantic Ocean hasn't been this sluggish in 1,000 years.
The story was based on a study published in Nature, and it links these changes in ocean currents to summer heat waves.
We're already on track to have mean global temperatures increase within a decade by 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial times.
Children and teenagers in our midst could be on a collective path to climate Armageddon, yet the media continue being taken in with clever phrases like "national interest". You're a bad Canadian if you don't support increasing greenhouse gas emissions!
It was probably coined by a high-priced spin doctor in some backroom to flog this pipeline to the public. Where's the intergenerational justice?
The next time one of these smarmy politicians uses the words "national interest" on a TV or radio talk show, I would love to hear the host respond with this question: "Is the Paris climate agreement in the national interest?"
Are you listening Evan Solomon, Rosemary Barton, Vassy Kapelos, Anna Maria Tremonti, Michael Enright, Carol Off, and Eric Sorenson?
Based on what I've seen and heard to date, the answer is probably not.More