Divest or not divest: Why is this still the question?

Divest or Not Divest: Why is this still the question?

Bambi’s third post is a quick reflection on an interview with Ms. Tina Oh, our former Mount Allison divest star ?, published in NB Media Coop.

The article entitled “Challenging Mount Allison University’s complicity with the fossil fuel industry: Tina Oh” is signed by Mr. Abram Lutes.

Mr. Lutes is a member of the Young Communist League Fredericton (http://theaquinian.net/young-communist-league-fredericton-voicing-the-radical-vision/). Obviously, he is free to endorse any ideology, even a totalitarian one to the left (some may be more attracted by totalitarianism to the right, mind you).

Mr. Lutes is also a student researcher with “RAVEN (Rural Action and Voices for the Environment)”, which “is an activist research project working with rural champions for the environment in New Brunswick”.

Ironically, RAVEN is funded by public funds, *partnering* with agencies from both the provincial and federal governments.

From their website (https://raven-research.org/about/), we can read the following: “Our partners are the NB Media Co-op (NBMC) and the Joint Economic Development Initiative (JEDI).

RAVEN was launched in September 2018 with secured funding until 2022 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF), and with in-kind contributions from the project partners NBMC and JEDI as well as Frictive Pictures, a New Brunswick film production company.

RAVEN is an associate member of the New Brunswick Environmental Network, an umbrella network linking more than 100 grassroots and other NGO organizations across the province”.

Mmm… What kind of weird country do we live in where Governments (through people’s tax money) fund initiatives like this one to ruin one if its now formerly vibrant sectors of the economy?

I do not know if I should smile or cry, thinking of where Canada has headed. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Is capitalism that bad? Crony capitalism and wild capitalism are not good… but why would capitalism in a socially-oriented country be bad?

Without a free market in my birth country, my dad (= parents) could have not lifted us from low-income to the middle-class through his innovative entrepreneurship. He is a decent self-made man. My hero!

Wouldn’t it have been more productive and constructive to fund research on renewable energy?

In the article above, it is written that faculty members of Mount Allison University are very supportive of Divest Mount A. False. Some of the faculty members are VERY supportive. Others, like myself, are unsupportive. Yet others do not care either way. 

Why am I not supportive? Well, although I may be wrong, I doubt that the removal of fossil fuel investments from a university endowment will make a difference for oil firms (it would only lower the university’s endowment).

Same for pension plans. The article below explains it better than I would, although I tried on many occasions to explain my point to colleagues.

The article in question is entitled “Fossil fuel divestment doesn’t damage oil firms, just pension funds” and this is exactly Bambi’s take on the issue.

Bambi thinks that any divestment of any pension plan should be perhaps made optional: Those of us who want to divest and live poorer in our older age can do it. Those of us who prefer to pass would remain “free” to chose where they wish to invest their pension funds.

This being said, Bambi is by principle against the idea of imposed boycott. Bambi prefers personal boycott, if we must. Regardless of the topic or issue. This applies to all issues in her mind. Do not boycott politicians you do not like. Do not boycott food from countries that have occupied yours (I have said so many times, if I do so, I would end up eating only “poutine” ?). Do not allow yourself to impose boycott on arts, on institutions, etc. Boycott yourself, if you wish.

Our Canadian public companies may not be perfect (does perfection exist?). They surely remain MORE ethical than other oil companies elsewhere.

Until we find a better, realistic, sustainable alternative to oil to heat our houses, fuel our airplanes and cars, this is all what we have.

However, innovations in vehicle technology (i.e., hybrid cars) are promising—even if our province’s electricity is too expensive to make such choices. In contrast, bravo to Québec; it seems to be the province with the highest number of electrical cars on its roads. I must add here: bravo to our current federal government. Its “purchase incentive program for electric vehicles” may be one of its rare good achievements, according to Bambi’s non-expert citizen opinion; if only for that, Bambi does not regret her past vote…even if her forthcoming one may be different.

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