It’s been nine days since a federal court ruled to halt the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Things appear to have gone to ground as everyone prepares their next moves in the ongoing dispute that has pitted province against province, First Nation against First Nation, and party against party. As I watched the events unfold last week, I was struck by just how polarizing the debate had become. You were either for the pipeline or for the environment, with no one, it seemed, willing to meet in the middle.
And yet, hanging over all of this, the larger facts remain the same: the country is facing a demographic cliff, a strained education system, unaffordable health care, aging infrastructure and rising income inequality—not to mention an unpredictable economic future with our largest trading partner.
Meanwhile, whether by pipeline or by rail, we remain heavily dependent on carbon usage and exports, and will remain so, by some accounts, for the next four to five decades, at least.
As bleak as this seems, it isn’t an intractable problem.