The Ontario Premier rushed out of the limo and held the door for his guests. Lucas stretched as he peered at the front of the Canadian Parliament building. The building stood brightly illuminated in contrast to the flickering city lights of the surrounding area.
Joiner commented on the brightly lit parliament grounds. “Naturally, we can’t have the beacon of our country sitting in the dark. Parliament Hill has its source of power; generators run 24/7 these days to keep the head of our government powered.
Lucas shot a quick glance at the Premier; his mood still soured from the cheap ploy the Ontario Premier had pulled while driving from the airport. Putting his hand on Alice’s back, the two climbed the steps leading into the mainstay of the Canadian government leaving their host behind.
Hugh Joiner quickly swallowed his pride and rushed to join the couple. The errors of judgment by instructing his driver take that particular route to make a point with Lucas becoming plainly obvious. Joiner babbled as the three entered the building to draw Lucas’ mind away from the mistake the Premier had shown. A disturbing thought that he had severely pissed off the man responsible for his tenor as Premier now hung heavy on his mind. Joiner was beside himself in his efforts to erase his mistake.
As the three followed the Parliamentary aid down the large stone hallway to the Prime Ministers office at the back of the building, Lucas offered no signs of clemency toward the Premier, tuning out the man’s feeble attempts at conversation. When their escort stopped at the ornate doors leading into the P.M.’s office, Lucas turned to the Premier.
“I think you’ve helped us enough for tonight Hugh. I would like to speak the Prime Minister privately.” Lucas turned his back on the beleaguered politician. “We will find our way back to our plane. Don’t wait around for us,” he said as he took Alice's arm and walked with her to meet the Canadian head of state.
Carl Emery scrutinized the stack of documents on his desk. The reports his chief of staff had hand delivered to his office a few hours ago sat spread out over the breadth of his mahogany desk. The Canadian Prime Minister read and reread the couriered statements. How could this possibly happen? Again he lifted the last page of the officially stamped declaration. The countries economy was tanking and now this.
The door to his parliamentary office opened. Angrily he raised his head. He had made his instructions to his staff quite clear. He was not to be bothered while he decided how best to deal with the situation at hand. About to snap at the intrusion, his overburdened mind quickly recognized the robed figure and his lady friend cross the threshold. Emery checked his tongue.
With a brief glance down at the papers covering his desk, Emery pushed his chair back and rushed to meet the guests. “Lucas, Alice. My deepest apologies for not personally meeting you at the airport,” The Prime Minister explained shaking Lucas’ hand. “I presume that Premier Joiner explained about the sudden emergency?” Lucas nodded his understanding the P.M. became visibly relieved. “Where’s my manners,” Emery led the two toward his desk. “Please have a seat. Can I offer either of you a drink?”
Seated back behind his desk, the Canadian Prime Minister gushed on about the strides the country had gained moving into a much smaller footprint of fossil fuel use. Carl Emery explained a few of the harsh changes he had implemented toward that goal since the last meeting between the two.
Emery took a breath, his friendly façade slipped. With a tremble in his voice, he cut to what he thought was the reason Lucas had paid this visit. “Before you ask, yes. The tanker traffic coming into our Eastern ports has increased.” The P.M. swallowed nervously. “Let me explain before you remind me of the deal we made.”
“Our country is suffering a recession like none before. Our GDP has retracted to alarming rates. Manufacturing, exports are falling off month by month almost becoming non-existent. Our cities are emptying as people leave in droves looking for work and affordable shelter of any sort. Hell, we’re even having difficulties keeping the lights on, not only here but also all our essential services are now suffering, hospitals, government offices, all the critical services.” Prime Minister Emery leaned back in his chair. “You need to understand. I have no choice. The need to increase the oil supplies from the Middle East is imperative if this country is to avoid insolvency.”
“What about the aid your country receives to mollify the adjustment to renewable energy sources, the turbines and solar panels that arrive on your shores daily from China. Do the people of this country not get paid to install these energy substitutes?” Lucas questioned. “I would think that a vast amount of jobs are being created to replace the downturn in the workforce from the old hay days of your oil based past? Certainly not you or anyone else of average intelligence could have thought that this transition would be smooth and without sacrifices.”
Emery averted his gaze to the top of his desk avoiding further eye contact with Lucas. With a shrug of his shoulders the Prime Minister realized his excuses held no merit with the man seated across from him. Despondent, his mind struggled for a suitable reply. He had signed a deal with the devil when he accepted the P.O.T.E. Foundations backing to win the last federal election. Now like it or not, he would go down in history as the Prime Minister who had sold out his nation.
“The agreement was for you to assume the office of Prime Minister and to lead this great country down the road toward a greener future. You have plenty of resources in the western half of this country that we agreed to allow you to use to aid in the process. I was under the assumption that the majority of Canadians backed the changes. Have they not spent countless years protesting and campaigning against the, correct me if I am wrong, the killing of our planet by the continued use of dirty oil from…the tar sands, isn’t that what they call the area?”
“If it was only that easy,” the P.M. mumbled. A flicker of hope returned as his eyes rested on the last page of the documents sitting on his desk. Lifting his head he slid the page at Marcus without a further word. Marcus picked the paper and raised it to his face. Expressionless he read the few paragraphs contained on the official paper then reread the top section a second time.
“In agreement with the three Prairie Provinces and the Territories of Yukon and the Northwest, we, the sitting premiers, at this moment withdraw our bordered land from the confederation of the Country of Canada. As with, the region west of the Ontario border and east of the Rocky Mountains, above the 49th parallel, will now be considered the sovereign territory and from hereon be known as the Western Republic of Canada.”
Lucas slid the paper back onto the Prime Minsters desk. The emergency the Canadian leader had been alluding to no doubt, he thought. Lucas regarded the meaning of the official document signed by the new Western Canadian contingent. In a rare display of emotion, Lucas smiled at the Prime Minister. “Carl, the People Of The Earth Foundation is not the mafia or a drug cartel. We don’t rely on threats or make people disappear for not living up to our agreements.
An arrangement that I know I need not remind you, that was signed by one of your predecessors at the Paris Climate Accord in 2016. Our Foundation is here to support the leaders of the world so they may accomplish the goal of reversing climate change and improve the state of the environment in each country so the earth will remain inhabitable far into the future. If you feel a need to import a small amount of oil to allow your government to keep control of the country, then so be it.”
“I am confident you will find a way to deal with the rogue provinces in a way beneficial to your nation's well-being, and soon,” Lucas added. “The days of tankers ferrying oil across the open oceans is coming to an end. What kind of impression will this have on the rest of the world if every time a crisis evolves we resort back to carbon-based solutions?” Lucas tapped the documents and rose to leave.
Alice sat motionless at the side of the desk. The only signs she displayed were the slight movement of her head as she watched the volley of words between the two men, her face passive, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with any of the banter.
Prime Minister Emery escorted his visitors to the main Parliament building doors where he bid them farewell. Walking down the stairs to a waiting car, Lucas excused himself. In the brightly lit parking lot, unobserved fingers typed a quick text message then hit send. The continued supply of oil from across the ocean was unacceptable, and an altogether stop was becoming imminent. The planning would involve months of preparation but now was as good of time as any to put things in motion.
A new Canadian Author with too many ideas in his head. Surprising even himself with where his stories go.