Why did Canada's Prime Minister visit the United Nations this week? It wasn't for the right reason...
There are over 31,000 lakes in Canada larger than three square kilometers. 9% of Canada’s total area is made up of freshwater. Canada also has 1.3 billion acres of boreal forest which soaks up 22% of the total carbon stored on the earth’s land surface. Crazy… Eh?
It’s just too bad our Conservative Government could care less. It’s hard to say if our leaders are climate change deniers per se, but they’re most definitely in denial in regards to doing something about it.
I have ranted time and time again over the last eight long frustrating years about Canada’s tar sands expansion, the defunding of the experimental lakes and other environmental science endeavors, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s effective gagging of Canadian scientists and so on.
Let’s face it, if you are an environmentalist living in Canada, the past decade has been one embarrassment after another. This past week is no exception.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in New York to protest government inaction on climate change this past weekend. While I was both surprised and impressed at Canada’s media coverage of the event, I was disappointed in Canada’s participation in the UN Climate Summit that followed.
Where is Prime Minister Stephen Harper this week? Why he’s in New York of course. But if you were waiting for a mind melting speech on climate change, you’ll be waiting a long time. Even though he’s in the city, he decided to pass on the Climate Summit just like the other big polluters like China, India and Russia.
Harper sent Canada’s Environment Minister, Leona Aglukkaq instead. During her sub-par Climate Summit speech she said “We are not waiting to act. We are taking decisive action to ensure Canada remains a leader and contributes its part to this global cause.” She added “What we’ve moved on is the two largest emitters in Canada related to the electricity sector as well as the transportation sector.”
During her speech, Aglukkaq did not mention oil or gas one time. Not one time. Just freakin’ slipped her mind. Never mind the fact that 25% of Canada’s emissions come from oil and gas production. A percentage that is sure to increase as the tar sands expand.
So, why was Stephen Harper in New York if not to address the world on climate change? He was invited by the United States to give a speech before the UN Security Council on ISIS. Yes, Harper would rather pass on the opportunity to address the UN about the climate change fight we are barely involved in, preferring instead to address the UN about a fight with ISIS that Canada is barely involved in.
Meanwhile, back at home, the parliamentary secretary to Leona Aglukkaq said on Monday that Canada’s Conservative government is “a world leader in addressing climate change.” That’s like saying the Republican Party is a world leader on helping the poor.
Among developed nations, Canada ranks 3rd among the worst polluters of carbon dioxide emissions in the world (per capita). Canada lags behind only Australia and the United States. While the Aussies and Yankees have started to see emissions go down the past few years, we Canucks are still seeing emissions rise.
I suppose Harper’s trip to New York this time around was more productive than his trip last September when he told a Business Council to tell Obama that “Canada would not take no for an answer” on the Keystone XL pipeline. Luckily Obama has yet to say yes.
I can’t help but shake the feeling my country has become as useless as the American Congress. We talk very little and do even less.