Monday, July 07, 2008


If you're a fan of the TV series Survivor, this may be a bit repetitive, but bear with me as I set up this scenario for the uninitiated.

Last season featured the "fans" vs the "favorites" - the two starting tribes were composed of some of the show's biggest fans - real Survivor nerds whose heads were filled with trivia and presumptive strategy - and some of the show's most beloved (and hated) participants from previous seasons. For a whole roundup of the season, go here. But I with to talk about one incident in particular: the gullible decision of Erik, one of the fans. A scrawny 20-something ice cream vendor with a great poof of hair, Erik charmed us viewers with his boyish innocence.

As the show was nearing its climactic end, Erik found himself the sole fan remaining among four favorites: Cirie, Natalie, Amanda, and Parvati: one gangly, naive boy against four seasoned , devious women. But he shocked them when he won the immunity challenge that day, meaning that he would be guaranteed a spot in the "final four" unless he did something... stupid.


Erik, knowing for a while the girls were gunning to vote him off the island, had previously panicked and had tried to forge last-minute alliances with every single one of them, unsuccessfully trying to pit them one against another. The girls were all on to him, and let him know that they didn't trust him and had lost all respect for him. In a clever move, Cirie suggested to the other women that if they told him he could earn back their respect by voluntarily giving up his immunity at the upcoming vote, he might fall for it.

And fall for it he did. He gave up his immunity, hoping against hope that it was the right decision, and the women cast him off.

Now for the segue... Stephane Dion is in Alberta these days, trying to convince the hard-core conservatives out there that his environmental proposals are a good idea. He refers back to his days as a Unity fighter back in the Chretien cabinet, and tries to connect some very fuzzy dots:

"We have a united Canada, a Canada built on clarity and mutual respect. We did it with the courage, the determination, of a cowboy from Calgary," Dion told Liberal party supporters yesterday. [Is he talking about Joe Clark?]

With environmental concerns high in Canadians' minds, Alberta is now the focus of so much political attention, and Dion said his plan is the only one that can repair the "damaged" reputation of the oil-producing province that is responsible for one-third of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

"To me, it's important for the world to know how much Albertans care about the environment, how much you are green and you want to do the right thing," he said.

"I can't accept that your reputation is damaged, as it is now."

Gosh, thanks Stephane. But would you please stop waving that pocket watch in my face?

This reminds me of Erik because Stephane is saying that Alberta's reputation is damaged because of all that carbon and the only way for them to recover the respect of the nation is to submit voluntarily to massive taxes on the industry. Cirie spoke the same lie to Erik: nobody trusts you anymore - in fact, we all hate you very much - so make yourself vulnerable and trust us.

Dion does not speak of the natural consequences of this hypothetical act of submission, which would be the stifling of the oil industry in Alberta (not to mention the rest of Canada) and the mass exodus of all its skilled labourers, professionals and youth (kinda like what's been happening to Newfoundland the last few decades, up until recently when they began developing their own offshore oil).

His plan is to remove the tax burden from the people and place it upon the carbon industries instead. Sounds good, right? Rob Peter to pay Paul. Different source, but same overall recipient ... a Liberal government. Heh - I'm still trying to forget what the last ones did.

Do you think industry will just sit idly by and let itself be taxed into oblivion? Or will they shift south, across the U.S. border, where the oil is just as abundant and the economic environment much more welcoming? Then the beloved Canadian oil worker will be out of a job.

Don't fall for it, Alberta. Take a lesson from Erik. Keep your economic "immunity" and vote Stephane off the island instead.

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