Opinion » The Outsider

Voting to protect our winters

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I've never been very political in my writing, preferring to leave the news in the capable hands of Pique reporters and the satirical commentary to G.D. Maxwell's weekly column on the back page of this publication. But every four years I hear from lobbyists, pundits, activists and politicians that this is the most important election in Canada's history. And while that may or may not be the case in 2019, as Canadians we have every reason in the world to have our say on Oct. 21.

I'll start first with the fact that this is my first time voting in a Canadian Federal Election. The last time 'round the election ferris wheel I was weeks (if not days) away from pledging my allegiance to the Queen of Canada and gaining my all-important ticket to vote: citizenship. I may have missed my chance to Stop (and stick it to) Stephen Harper, but thankfully much of the country rallied to the cause and "Harper's Last Day" suddenly grew from a hopeful pipedream to euphoric reality.

It didn't turn out to be all peaches and cream though, did it? Weed is legal, so credit where credit is due on that one. But what was an epic battle of David vs. Goliath/Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader/Jon Snow vs. the Night King—on so many issues—seems to have slowly devolved into the South Park-popularized partisan race of a Giant Douche vs. a Turd Sandwich.

I'll try to remain optimistic here, though it's a slippery slope. While the parties that are likely to win all have their downfalls, and the parties some of us want to win probably won't, there's nothing that embarasses a nation more than a low voter turnout. So what's a card-carrying Outsider supposed to do? Vote to protect our winters, obviously.

Whether you choose to believe the majority of the science community, fence-sitting climate change deniers or a raging Swedish teenager, the end result is the same. If we don't start making moves on this climate-change thing, eventually we'll all be f-----.

I realize that's a pretty simplistic view, but if you want to get down to the brass tacks of how it's going to affect your day to day in the mountains, we need to make the decisions that will protect our winter livelihoods (and playgrounds) for as long as possible. If the wealthy vote to preserve their wealth then the skiers and snowboarders should vote to preserve their pow. And, if you think that having a good snowfall season signals climate change alarmism, you need to understand the difference between weather (short-term) and climate (long-term) events.

Protect Our Winters (POW) does just that. Founded by snowboard rockstar Jeremy Jones in 2007, this nonprofit has grown to 130,000 supporters worldwide and has sent Jones himself to Washington multiple times to lobby members of congress to defend an industry that contributes about US$20 billion to the American economy each year (according to researchers at the University of New Hampshire and Colorado State University).

POW now has a northern arm as well, aptly named Protect our Winters Canada and chaired by Whistler local Mike Douglas. POW Canada has acknowledged that change starts at the individual, but if we want any tangible large-scale action we require large-scale policy changes on a federal level.

Is the current Liberal government equipped to do that? The jury is out on that one. Could a Liberal minority government with NDP and Green seats (as oversight) do better? Probably. Can the Conservatives? Hell no.

For the progressive parties, the last time it was all about stopping Harper in his tracks. This time it's about telling Trudeau to smarten up, check his place in the justice system and follow through on all the rhetoric that got him elected last time. Throwing strategic voting to the wind and voting with one's conscience is worth the risk this time. It may just send the message we want them to hear.

And make sure you all vote on Oct. 21.

Vince Shuley has his feet firmly planted on the left. For questions, comments or suggestions for The Outsider email vince@vinceshuley.com or Instagram @whis_vince.