Day 9 – Canada Solidifying Its Reputation As An International Pariah

Canada is already feeling the effects of climate change.  In British Columbia, hot summers and mild winters have led to an unprecedented infestation of the mountain pine beetle – destroying $6 billion worth of trees. The infestation is now spreading across the provincial border to Alberta.In Ontario, Lake Superior fell to its lowest recorded level in September 2007, and the water level in other Great Lakes has also been affected by higher temperatures. A drop of 0.08 – 1.18 metres in the Great Lakes water levels will cost the hydroelectric industry $240 – 350 million each year.  On the prairies, according to Natural Resources Canada, “Increases in water scarcity represent the most serious climate risk in the Prairie provinces.” Droughts will lead to billions of dollars in economic losses.

Yet, the Harper Conservatives have chosen to completely ignore the advice of their own experts. Going into Copenhagen the Conservatives’ plan for responding to this looming national and international crisis was pretty pathetic. It was bad enough that their position was weak to begin with, with Harper and Environment Minister Prentice making it sound like their offer of a 3% reduction below 1990 in Canada’s greenhouse gases by 2020 was reasonable, while what will save us from catastrophe is nothing less than a 40% reduction. The Harper Conservatives also repeated that they could do nothing without the Americans (so much for Canadian sovereignty!). This stance is interesting because several provinces, including British Columbia and Quebec, have formed their own responses to climate change without the federal government because they can’t wait any longer!

But now, instead of the pathetic 3% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that the Conservatives put forward, CBC News has revealed that the Conservatives have considered abandoning some of the greenhouse gas reduction goals set out in its 2007 green plan and allowing weaker targets for the oil and gas sector! Click here for the full story.

As James Hoggan points out in DeSmogblog. com, Canada has already earned international humiliation in Copenhagen as a country that is lobbying AGAINST a reasonable agreement. Thanks to the actions of the Harper government and their obstructionist stance on climate change, there is a movement afoot to kick Canada out of the Commonwealth. This is Canada we’re talking about, not the former apartheid regime in South Africa or Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, in whose company Canada would be if this movement succeeds. Dozens of representatives of developing countries leave the room when Canada speaks these days. Canada has already been awarded 4 “Fossil of the Day” awards in Copenhagen, more than any other country.

Canada’s regressive behavior on this issue has even caught the attention of the pranksters “The Yes Men” whose latest hoax was a news release stating that Canada was now committed to reducing emissions by 40%. This was followed by several other fake releases that included comments from a member of the Ugandan delegation praising Canada’s decision. A third (fake)release followed, purporting to be from the Canadian government saying that the previous releases were spoofs, but then provided a “quote” from Prentice:

It is the height of cruelty, hypocrisy, and immorality to infuse with false hopes the spirit of people who are already, and will additionally, bear the brunt of climate change’s terrible human effects. Canada deplores this moral misfire.”

Click here to read about it on The Yes Men website, and here for the CBC coverage.

The Canadian government’s behavior is more than embarrassing, it is shameful. I am upset that Canada is becoming an international pariah because of the Harper Conservatives  failure to do what’s good for the whole country now and in the future, because they can’t see past Alberta oil money. As Brian Gordon stated recently on

Real Conservatives would be working to conserve all that is good about Canada, not just rich people’s money.

Call or write your MP, and let them know that you want Canada’s reputation to be an enlightened, progressive one again, not one that makes us an international pariah and the butt of jokes.

0 thoughts on “Day 9 – Canada Solidifying Its Reputation As An International Pariah”

  1. Canada’s obstruction surely amounts to a crime against humanity. The G77 countries are up against the wall; climate change is hitting many of them now. Bangladesh has already had to abandon some islands, for example, and the tragedy in the Sudan can be partly blamed on water sources drying up due to global warming. The developing countries are going to escalate their actions – their only other choice is to die quietly, and that won’t happen.


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