Canada is addicted to oil. Like all addictions, ours is debilitating. It has erased the line between state and private industry (thin as that line is in most countries), stifles our politics, and is holding back local, provincial and national preparations for a world without fossil fuels. Curing our addiction to oil and gas will take time and money, and historic levels of Indigenous–federal–provincial co-operation. But it absolutely has to happen—starting now.
Instead, Canada remains trapped in a pseudo-constitutional fight over new pipelines, fuelled by populist rhetoric with clear partisan objectives. Despite their recent experiences with climate change–related flooding, droughts and wildfires, “Blue Wave” premiers from Alberta to New Brunswick are insisting the “national interest” aligns with the profitability of Canada’s powerful fossil fuel sector. Disagree and you may end up on an enemies list of "foreign-funded radicals."
This issue of the Monitor explores the varieties and consequences of "extractivist populism" in many parts of Canada. It also asks if a populist approach to meeting the climate crisis might bring people together to cure our addiction to fossil fuels, and lay the foundation for a more prosperous future for everyone.
Here's a sample of what you'll find in the issue:
- Extractive populism and the future of Canada, by Shane Gunster
- Populism as good storytelling, by Paul Saurette
- The Pallister government shifts into high gear, by Lynne Fernandez and Shauna MacKinnon
- For an ecological populism, by Robert Neubauer
- By enabiling civil society, we protect our freedom to disagree, writes Michaela Mayer
- Kenney's enemies: A long-standing Alberta tradition of playing the victim is taken to new extremes, by Ricardo Acuña
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Cover illustration by Scott Schields.