May and MacKay: The Trouble with Greens in Rural Canada
So here is what I think. Robert Greene wrote a book called The 48 Laws of Power. In this he made every chapter a 'law' and showed historical transgressions and observances of hard-edged ideas like, "Crush your enemy totally" and "Conceal your intentions." In the margins he quotes relevant proverbs and sayings that help illustrate the point. The book is intense, but there are some fantastic little stories held within.
One of the stories is from the chapter "Know who you're dealing with" (I think). It talked about charlatans in early modern Europe. Apparently, they would roam from town to town selling ridiculous 'potions' that held fantastic promises of youth, beauty, and health. What Greene points out in this segment, is the clientele charlatans targeted. They specifically avoided those who had received greater than normal education levels. These people would generally figure out that what was being sold was false promises.
They also avoided farmers at all costs. They avoided them because they had no formal education whatsoever, and that this instilled a remarkable common sense when it comes to far-fetched ideas.
They preyed on the average townsfolk, who were familiar with the general ideas and terms, but not the specifics or critical thinking that come along with it. In essence, charlatans would prey on the half-educated.
To be clear, I'm not saying that farmers are ill-educated today. Quite the opposite, I think there is an amazing knowledge reaped by working the land as they do. It is something no university can ever offer. Further, I'm not arguing that the Green Party is run by charlatans. I respect what they do and am excited for when they enter the House.
There is a disconnect, however, between the two that makes May's interest in the riding folly. The Green Party will not win its first seat in Central Nova.
So May and the Green Party platform will show up and tell the agricultural side of Central Nova about sustainable agriculture. She will tell them what their way of life is doing to the planet, why environmentally friendly pesticides need to be embraced and why fishing, pesticides, subsidies, and oil-dependent farms need to be scaled back. May will tell them that Canadians need to farm smarter.
Farmers, true to their knack for common sense, will ask how. How can we do this without losing our farms? How can we do this without limiting production? How does a Green vote translate into better lives for Central Nova?
Farmers work so hard. Traditionally viewed as fearing change, the possibility of losing their farms creates a strange drive to innovate in people. If that means lobster shells for fertilizer, they're doing it. If that means switching to part time to eke out a living, so be it. Times are tough for these Nova Scotian farmers in particular, and they've been tough for a long time.
That being said, change isn’t universal. The farmer's almanac is still in use -- same time tested 1797 formula for predicting the weather. I have a good friend who lives on Big Island, part of Mackay's riding. Apparently the DRO can tell how new people vote when they move to the island. Some things don’t change in Central Nova. Apparently politics is one of them.
Now picture May's 2006 run in London. From my perspective, London is a college town with offices and insurance -- and the finest lawn in Canada not located on a golf course. Lots of middle class people who are removed from the land. Campaigning on abstract concepts of ‘smarter, more environmentally friendly agriculture’ seems to be an easier sell. I just see it being easier to tell London that Canadians need to be smarter environmentalists than Central Nova. Have you ever tried to pull a smart car out of a tractor rut?
Elizabeth May is a very smart environmentalist. I’ve read At the Cutting Edge, and thought it was well written and an important addition to environmental awareness in Canada. I do not, however, think that running in Central Nova is wise...
...especially when citrus prices are at an all time high and global warming is coming on strong. MacKay’s agricultural plans for the riding ??
“I’m proud to present the plans for Nova Scotia’s new cash crop: Canadian grown Oranges and Grapefruits, 2020.”