Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Has Harper Betrayed The West? A Mound Of Sound Guest Post

Recent summer flooding across southern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba seems to be bringing the reality of climate change home to the people of the prairies and it’s drawing some unwelcome attention to prime minister Harper.

Look, it was bound to happen. You can’t have once-a-century weather disasters arriving every two or three years for very long before even the doubters stop listening to climate change deniers. That, from a glance at some prairie newspapers, seems to be happening at the moment. Postmedia science scribe, Margaret Munro, writes that these summer floods are the new reality for much of western Canada. Reginal Leader-Post columnist, Murray Mandryk, writes that Saskatchewan has to catch up to the fact of climate change.

“But don’t take my word for it. Ask someone like hydrologist John Pomeroy – Canadian Research Chair for Water Resources and Climate Change at the University of Saskatchewan – who has studied the issue for years, including intensive study of the drainage of Smith Creek, which flows near Langenburg along the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border.

“’We have to stop doing what we are doing,’ Pomeroy said in an interview from Alberta, where he is currently studying the impact of mountain run-off into the South Saskatchewan River.

“’Things are happening and they are happening much faster than anyone imagined.’”

Munro highlighted Dr. Pomeroy’s remarks about how the pro-oil/anti-science Harper government has gutted federal hydrology, climate and flood management programmes, leaving the provinces to fend for themselves.

“By July, Smith Creek is usually ‘bone dry.’ Last week it hit a new high as 24.5 cubic metres of water a second roared down the stream.

“[Pomeroy] says heavy winter snow had saturated the soil, which was made even wetter by unusually heavy spring rains. Then the frontal system came up from the US, stalled over southeast Saskatchewan in late June, ‘and pushed it over the top.’ The system dropped more than 150 millimetres of rain in a few days – almost as much rain as normally falls in southeast Saskatchewan all year.

“He says the change in the past decade has been remarkable.

“’Everything we know about hydrology of the prairie appears to be different,’ he says. ‘We never have saturated spongy soils with flow running off farmers’ fields in the midsummer. Never.’

“The situation calls out for a national Canadian strategy and program to improve flood prediction and water management, Pomeroy says, pointing to the US which has more comprehensive systems.

“He says recent cutbacks and, in some cases, the ‘gutting’ of federal hydrology, climate and flood management programs have left the country ill-prepared.

“When it comes to the flood forecasting problem, he says, ‘every province is left on its own, with some doing better than others.’”

Coastal British Columbians know how Harper has betrayed us and left our environment defenceless. Harper has moved the west coast oil spill emergency centre to Montreal. He has shut down many of our Coast Guard stations. He has axed entire departments of Fisheries and Oceans once responsible for monitoring our coastal waters and the health of our marine species. He has stripped navigation regulations and done everything asked of him to facilitate hazardous oil tanker traffic. To us, the fact that Harper has gutted federal hydrology and flood management programmes, leaving the prairie provinces defenceless. is old hat. This is simply another illustration of Harper’s rank ideology at work in betraying the West for the sake of Big Oil only this time it’s Harper’s natural constituents caught in the crosshairs.

Reality is catching up with Harper and even the usually reliable, centre-right media are beginning to speak out. Doubters and deniers are beginning to sound utterly unconvincing, shrill, desperate. Pomeroy might have coined a suitable epitaph for Harper’s conservatism when he said, “Things are happening and they are happening much faster than anyone imagined.”


  1. I suspect that historians will conclude that Harper was his own worst enemy. But I doubt that the prime minister will ever come to that conclusion.

  2. I think these kids got close to the truth years ago.

    God save the queen
    The fascist regime
    They made you a moron
    Potential H-bomb

  3. .. of course Harper has betrayed Canada.. that's his destiny and legacy to Canadians.. Examine his actions.. not his mealy mouthed speeches, Question Period nonsense, or the releases from his spokeswanks, MP's or Ministers

  4. Owen, it's hard to see that Harper was his own worst enemy. He came to Ottawa to pursue a very narrow agenda - shifting Canada's political centre and establishing expansion of the Tar Sands to the US and Asia. He's paid lip service to pretty much everything else, talking a good game and doing nothing. To use Joe Oliver's words, Harper & Co. have been inimical to Canada.\

    @ Anon. Can you visualize Harper onstage reprising the Sex Pistols?

    @ Sal. I think what's different this time is that Harper has dropped his nearest and dearest, the prairie folk, into his ideological cesspit.