French philosopher Albert Camus once said: “The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.”
He won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Literature, and could certainly have collected a lot of fodder for many more books on his favourite topic of absurdism, had he been around politicians in Canada last week.
Provincial premiers met in various gatherings to see if common ground could be reached about oil pipelines, but that was not to be the case.
The B.C. premier declared he was there to protect the coast and citizens from an inevitable oil spill; despite the fact that about two-thirds of British Columbians support a pipeline expansion from Edmonton, Alberta into Vancouver Harbour.
The Quebec premier was still opposing the Energy East pipeline carrying what he had previously referred to as “dirty Alberta energy” running through his province en route to New Brunswick refineries. However, last week he was a tad less rude about the crude traversing his province — maybe because a Liquid Natural Gas pipeline is in the works, and he has now decided to join with several other premiers opposing the federal Carbon Tax.
All the absurdity that transpired at premiers’ meetings seemed to be in line with other comments from Albert Camus: “By definition, a government has no conscience. Sometimes it has policy, but nothing more,” and then: “To govern means to pillage, as everyone knows.”
Monsieur Camus would have been even busier scribbling in his notebook had he seen our prime minister in action during the same period last week.
The PM was in Montreal on Wednesday to nominate a star-boy Liberal candidate for October’s federal election — none other than Quebec’s foremost anti-pipeline activist and lifelong Greenpeace supporter Steven Guilbeault, who is adamantly opposed to the Trans-Mountain Pipeline Expansion (TMX).
About 36 hours later the PM was in Edmonton delightedly taking selfies with a group of TMX workers who were all dressed in blue coveralls, and looking ready to operate those shovels that he promised will be in the ground this summer.
His message at both disparate meetings was that he’s able to mix energy with environment, but sounded almost as confusing as his environment minister, who is forever tickling her tonsils with her toenails.
Clueless Catherine McKenna’s foot was once again firmly entrenched in her mouth when she bragged how Ottawa has the greatest tap water, seemingly forgetting her job is to supply Indigenous communities with fresh water that is safe to drink and bathe in, without causing cancers and skin disorders.
Canadians can look forward to similar absurdities multiplying during the run-up to October’s federal election, and should not forget these final words of wisdom from Albert Camus: “Stupidity has a knack of getting its way.”