Whether or not it’s cold outside, I don’t just mean the weather.
Whether or not we tolerate something wrong when it is far away.
Or whether we’ve spoken up or called out when it is closer to home …
As Mr. Putin’s actions prove, accepting reality has a leavening effect on the world – as COVID impacts continue to reverberate while bears hibernate. But, as Calgarians know, a few frigid days do not take away the reality that this has been a pretty mild winter.
Well, mild if you leave out border blockades, trucker protest convoys, pipeline construction terrorist sabotage on the Coastal Gas Link in BC, and invocation of the Emergencies Act by our Prime Minister, it’s tough to see the blurry lines between our self-professed democracy and despotism.
We are not under Martial law, any more than those eastern Ukrainians are, but at a time when our government is freezing people’s bank accounts and skirting due process, I’m not sure we should be saying much about what other countries are doing; instead, we should be pressing our Canadian government to not over-step. Or does speaking out against draconian actions put me at risk of being investigated or jailed or having my bank account frozen. On this issue, today, I feel safer than if I was living in Ukraine, but not as confidently as I would have said that a week ago.
It was difficult yesterday to appreciate the arguments about climate change and global warming – I watched weather reporting on temperatures around the world and noticed those 30C+ temperatures in so many places before I went out into -25C darkness with light snow falling and a -31C wind chill. And speaking of political weather, a deep chill is unfolding in the war of words between western/NATO countries vis-à-vis actions by Russia entering Ukrainian territory disguised as peacekeeping …
Am I concerned?
Yes, and I probably should be more concerned – as a Canadian like so many others, descendants of eastern European immigrants and refugees – but what can I do? What can we do? Is Putin a despot, or not? Will they build statues of him as they have for so many other leaders only to tear them down in disgrace decades later? And how different is that from what Canadians and Americans have been doing with statues of once-revered leaders who, through a better understanding of our history, are now cast in disgrace?
But I digress.
What I’ve yet to see from ‘on the ground’ journalists in Ukraine are interviews of any of the 700,000 in the eastern part of the country, the ones Putin says are traditional Russians – he granted them citizenship first, and now he wants to move the border. Western European countries are mouthing words about sanctions and penalties, but history has taught them well that their gigantic neighbour isn’t going anywhere. Canadians have long ago learned of our vulnerability being next door to an enormous power – one day they are your friend, yet some days, not so much …
What’s the sticking point?
Energy and pipelines and the prospect of war with Russia at any time, but especially in the wintertime, is a tough sell to any population who must endure it or pay the costs in financial and human terms.
Whatever the daily temperatures, the lessons of Napoleon and many others, is that when it comes to Russian aggression, there is no global warming coming to your aid. It’s hard to predict the weather amid all the bulls and bears.
Russian bears are not hibernating, and there must be bulls in Ottawa because of all the bull)!@&)_#
As for the NATO and European Union gang, it’s looking like you have a weak ‘sanctions’ hand to play, and the world is watching nervously as you play your cards.
To this observer, this is a far riskier game you are playing than the Cuban missile crisis of long ago. If nothing else, this should signal that we need an east-west pipeline in Canada to ensure the stability of energy supply for all of Canada. Europeans will, I expect, bend to Mr. Putin’s will because he can turn off their tap. Their leverage of stopping a pipeline to pinch Russia’s wallet is a foolish bluff, because Russia will find another way to sell their gas to someone else.