Whooeee— we’ve got a living drama going on right before our eyes! I don’t mean the classical Tragedy unfolding south of us as the American government destroys the environment while undermining the rule of law. No, no. Not that. There’s a Canadian version.
Our players are following a more refined scenario that is more subtly structured. On the whole, they portray more appealing characters.
We members of the audience, somewhat confused by conflicting promotional hype, do not know whether we are watching a Comedy (Happy-Ever-After) or a Tragedy (Cathartic Disaster) or even something in between.
Let’s over-simplify and take a look at the bare bones of our production to date. For that same simplicity’s sake we’ll call it what it may well turn out to be — “An Apocalyptic Drama”.
An Apocalyptic Drama
Victim One: A Provincial government longing to protect people, jobs and the environment.
Victim Two: Another Provincial government longing to protect people, jobs and the environment.
These two are twins but not identical.
Villain: A five-headed creature conjured into reality by our predecessors. In spite of not being human it is extraordinarily rich and, consequently, influential. It is also exceedingly adept at manipulation.
The Hero: A promising young Federal leader (emphasis on promising).
The Plot (so far):
The Villain is boiling up and promoting an ever increasing supply of Cool-aide. (Usually spelled “Kool-aid”, but why continue to malign a childhood drink?) This concoction may create jobs, boost the GDP and eventually destroy the environment.
One of the Twins claims that in the national interest and to save jobs it is necessary to drink some of the Cool-aide even though it’s poisonous.
The other Twin is refusing the Cool-aide on the assumption that the bigger the dose the bigger the danger and – apparently in line with Murphy’s law – that whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
The Twins are fighting with each other and the Villain is laughing all the way to its boardrooms while devoutly praying that the Twins, whom it dislikes intensely, will destroy each other. The God it prays to is the equally illusory two-headed God of Growth and Profit.
The Hero is standing in the wings, apparently adamant but inwardly quaking. He has already appeared in a few minor scenes but his big inevitable scene is soon to come.
We the audience know that the Hero has been tasting the Cool-aide and that he rather likes it but that his better instincts put him on the side of the abstaining Twin. We hope he has the power to sort out everything — like the power the old Greek dramatists gave to their “deus ex machina”.
The tension is rising. Soon the Hero’s “enter” cue will be spoken and he’ll stride onto the boards for that obligatory scene.
We are about to see a real life portrayal of a figure that is carved into the stones of the Hero’s own workplace. That figure represents “Freedom to Choose” and is a stern Freedom indeed because the choice can be made to lose that Freedom — and then literally all will be lost. In which case, of course, our Hero becomes an anti-Hero and the Drama becomes a Tragedy.
We members of the audience who are not asleep are on the edge of our seats. This Drama is not just about the future of our heirs but possibly about the future of our species.
* Photo copyright © Ian D. Scott
From The Carving of Canada
by Munroe Scott