I’ve been emailing with a guy in the provincial government regarding the government’s woodstove exchange program, trying to tell the guy that I believe there are some glaring problems with the program. It’s not going well, and I’m not sure what to do about it at this point.
I’ll tell you about what I’m not seeing eye to eye with this guy on. The way the program works is: if you have a woodstove 5 years or older, the gov’t will reimburse you some money if you have a new, cleaner form of home heating installed, like a heat pump, and have your old woodstove removed and destroyed.
I like that the gov’t is offering incentives to encourage cleaner home heating, but I don’t like that part of the program involves intentionally throwing out and destroying something that still works and can serve a purpose. I think that people who take part in the program should have the option to keep their woodstove since it would still be useful during prolonged power outages (like we just experienced two months ago), and I think that emergency preparedness is something the provincial gov’t should be extremely concerned about too.
So I emailed, uhhh, “Buddy,” let’s call him. I explained my point of view. He responded that the purpose of the program is to improve air quality, and if people were allowed to keep their old woodstoves, they’d probably still use them instead of their new heat pumps and our air quality would continue to suck. He didn’t address my concern about giving people the choice to keep their woodstoves as emergency heat sources.
I responded and said that didn’t make any sense, that there is no reason people who just paid thousands of dollars for a new heat pump would continue to use their old woodstove instead as their primary heat source. I also reiterated my emergency heat source concern.
Buddy responded that it doesn’t make sense that people would keep using woodstoves if they had heat pumps but he insists they do. I don’t believe him at all, but continuing on — addressing the emergency heat source thing, he said if people want to keep their woodstoves, they shouldn’t participate in the program. I had also bitched that destroying woodstoves that still work and serve a purpose is incredibly wasteful, and to this he replied, “that’s what happens when something newer and better comes along. If a woodstove has been used for a few years, it’s not really just being thrown away.” I rolled my eyes with a haughty air of superiority at that.
That’s where we’re at now, and I don’t know what to do at this point because I feel like Buddy is just not hearing half of what I’m saying. Like a caricature of a gov’t employee, he doesn’t care about the bigger implications at all — it seems like he doesn’t really care if the program makes sense or could be improved; to him, the program is how it is and that’s all there is to it. It’s like he’s deaf to the idea that the program has some shortcomings and could be tweaked, even though I’ve said just that, verbatim.
So I started writing yet another response that will probably fall on deaf ears, but stopped short of sending it because I’m not sure what I hope to achieve — Buddy clearly doesn’t care about the bigger picture that is paramount to me, and I don’t care about the program that is paramount to Buddy. Is there any point to me writing him a third time? Am I likely to finally get through to him then? Will this email finally make a difference? Probably not. He’ll probably be just as annoyed and stubborn about his position as I’m being about mine. Looking at it that way, I think I’ve already done my civic duty here, I tried, time to move on.
But on the other hand, I think about how fucking stupid and useless gov’t often is, and I think this program is a good example of that. So why should I pay taxes to my gov’t only to have them do stuff I think is flawed? Why should I let them get away with bullshit? I should be as annoying as I want. Squeaky wheels get the grease, after all.