Replacing the Centennial Flame is a symbolic move that accomplishes nothing

When I first heard that the federal government was considering replacing the Centennial Flame with electric or LED lighting, I had to check what the date was, to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.

This is exactly the kind of story that some of us would fall for if it was a prank. But it turns out it’s true. Federal officials are examining a range of options to replace the flame. So one day, you could bring visitors to Parliament Hill and gather around the light of an artificial fire. Of course we should be taking action to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but one flame that’s powered by natural gas won’t make much difference. Replacing the Centennial Flame is an example of a symbolism that’s becoming the current government’s specialty. Instead of meaningful action, we get bromides and virtue signalling.

If we’re going to fight climate change and reduce the use of fossil fuels, let’s embark on some thoughtful and sweeping policy changes that will really reduce our consumption, not waste time and energy on a gesture that will remove an iconic image in the capital for the sake of a few political points. Let’s leave the flame alone and get back to addressing the real issues.

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