Why Are Practically None of Our Political Leaders Willing to Encourage Us to Do Everything Possible to Cut Back Our Use of Gas and Oil?
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted March 7th, 2022 on Niagara At Large
I don’t know about you, but I am getting awfully damn tired of turning to the news and hearing or reading the same lines from Canadian and U.S. politicians, and from economists and global trade gurus when it comes to slapping sanctions on Vladimir Putin.
The lines revolve around whether Canada and the United States, along with those in Europe and elsewhere should ban the purchase of Russian gas and oil and they go something like this –
“We know that gas and oil make up Putin’s number one cash cow and that short of NATO forces joining Ukraine in taking direct military action against him, not purchasing any more of his gas and oil is probably the most effective way of crushing him, but if we do that, where do we find enough oil to make up the difference?
“And if we can’t find enough to make up the difference, we will have gas and oil prices at our pumps spiking even higher than they are now.”
Of course, that assumes that for our vehicles at least, we have to keep on consuming the same amount of gas that we are consuming right now.
It’s an assumption that also has some of the knuckle-draggers we have in elected office – politicians like Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, with their heads hopelessly stuck in the carefree, gas-guzzling decades of the 20th century – to call for building more gas and oil pipelines, including the controversial XL pipeline between the tar sands in Alberta and refineries in Texas.
So much for addressing something that (unless he launches nuclear missiles) is even a greater threat to humanity than a homicidal tyrant like Putin – climate change. Not that the likes of Ford and Kenney take the climate crisis all that seriously anyway.
What is absent in all of this – unless, in all of my following of the circumstances we now find ourselves in, I have missed it – is any discussion at all among our leaders about the possibility of cutting back on gas use as a way of making up for taps running dry on petro from Russia.
During the early 1940s, our elders in Canada and the United States made a number of sacrifices in the name of supporting their side in the Second World War fight against fascism. They collectively endured scarcities in a number of resources that were needed to support the war effort, including gasoline.
Governments in both countries went so far as to launch programs for rationing gasoline and vehicle owners were issued what were called “gas ration cards” or “ration coupon books” that they carried with them to the pumps.
Along with the rationing of gas, car pooling was also encouraged on the domestic front. as a way to reduce gas use and the wearing out of rubber tires (rubber was a precious commodity for the WWII effort).
To promote carpooling, the governments rolled out posters showing cars full of people n their way to work with slogans like; “Help win the war. Squeeze in one more.” There was also a poster of a single person driving a car with no one else but Hitler sitting beside him as if to say that people are helping to give that madman a free ride to go on committing genocide if some sacrifice isn’t made around the consumption of gasoline.
Along with the rationing of gasoline at the pumps and carpooling, another way we can cut back on petroleum use these days is to have as many people as possible working at home rather than driving whatever distances on roads and highways to an office. This was something that was much less possible during the Second World War years when there were no home computers hooked up the internet, ut we’ve had plenty of practice doing it over the past two years with COVID.
There are reportedly plenty of people out there who came to like the idea of working at home since the pandemic began so why not let them continue doing that as another way of reducing the consumption of gas and oil?
Finally, the technology around electric vehicles has developed to a point where our leaders can do what leaders did during the years of the Second World War who worked with industries to convert whole plants from domestic car production to manufacturing armoured tanks and air bombers, and order the mass production of electric trucks and cars.
All of this, from the rationing of gas to a speedier conversion to electric vehicles could be done with the right leadership.
But where is that leadership? I don’t even hear opposition parties, including the NDP in Canada (the only possible exception is the Green Party) advocating rationing or any other solutions that would cut back on gas and oil consumption.
What are they afraid of – a backlash from a public that would rather go on guzzling cheap gas?
Where is the spirit of collective sacrifice our elders were willing to make in the war against Hitler?
Do we want to win this war against Putin and his bloody assault on freedom and democracy?
Here is a media release that the Ontario Green Party released this past February 25th, slamming Ontario Premier Doug Ford and his Conversvative Government for using Putin’s war on Ukraine to peddle Alberta’s tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline –
TORONTO — Ontario Greens Leader Mike Schreiner made the following statement:
“Doug Ford thinks that opening up the Keystone XL pipeline is the way to stop the world’s dependence on oil from Russia. He’s wrong.
A harsh unified response to Russian aggression is absolutely necessary, but opening more expensive pipelines and polluting the air, as Doug Ford proposes, is not the answer.
We need to get the destabilizing influence of big oil from places like Russia out of our lives. And the best way to do this is by investing in cleaner, cheaper forms of energy like renewables and by electrifying transportation and heating.
Getting off oil and gas will make Ontario far more self-sufficient, secure and prosperous.
It’s time to get big oil out of our wallets.”
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