Wednesday, December 14

We Were All Thinking It

There have been two big uproars in the normally internationally ignored Canadian political front.  The first came earlier this week (as no surprise) when the conservative government officially withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol.  This move took a swift chunk right out of Canada's world image and brought it another step closer to the conservative's ultimate plan of an America shaped Canada.  Honestly,  some of the the conservative government's reasons for pulling out even make sense on the surface:  we can't hit the targets without damaging the Canadian economy, none of the other big polluters have to do it! (waaaah), they have a better plan, we shouldn't have signed it in the first place.  Yes, the economy is important.  Ours is one of the only economies in the "west" not looking directly into the crapper and, of course, it would be nice to keep it that way.  No, the US and China did not sign Kyoto.  They have a better plan - this one I can't even address except to say - um, yeah right.  The point more than Kyoto or not is that we're tarnishing Canada's reputation, we're going back on our word and we're taking the easy way out.  I'm tired of feeling like I have to apologize to the world for the behaviour of our current government (thank clothespins I at least did not vote for them).

That brings me to the second media storm:  Justin Trudeau calling Environment Minister Peter Kent a "piece of sh*t".  The worst part is that he had to apologize.  Please.  Environment Minister is a puppet post for this government, a mere formality with a good salary.  I think this outburst is a sign of the opposition's growing frustration with this insufferable PC cabinet.  I say, well done Mr. Trudeau; it isn't like everyone in the room wasn't already thinking it.  Could you direct that Harper's way next time?

1 comment:

Tom said...

Thanks for this, Katie. The thing that I find most disturbing is that in spurning Kyoto at Durban, Peter Kent didn't even feel bothered to contest the urgency of climate change. His arguments came from another angle, that you already mentioned: Canada's economy would suffer in the short term (i.e. the "economic recovery" from the recession). There aren't many serious human-induced climate change deniers in power these days; however, there are those that get away with shortsighted environmental policy-making simply because we're not feeling the pinch quite yet.

The shocking thing is that if we look beyond our borders, the immediate evidence of global warming is overwhelming. Countries like Tuvalu in the South Pacific that lie only a few metres above sea level are already seeing their physical existence literally sink into the ocean, yet influential world actors like Canada are the exact reason their voices aren't acknowledged. Canadian "economic interests" also broadsided recent efforts to hold our mining companies more accountable in the Global South, in the form of the defeated Responsible Mining Act (Bill C-300).

If Canadians ever had a reputation as "global citizens," this is certainly being eroded as we speak. I find it so disheartening that we're using our relative stability coming out of the recession as a bragging point and an excuse to cloister ourselves, rather than considering it as a position of strength from which to make a contribution to solving some of the world's most pressing problems.