Thursday, September 18, 2014

No Surprise Here- An Update

Tuesday's post discussed the apparent disappearance of a committee made up of representatives from Environment Canada, the Alberta government and oil and gas companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the tarsands. Investigative reporter Mike De Souza provides important new information about this committee on his website.

Putting the heat on Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq in the House of Commons, NDP environment critic Megan Leslie suggested it is time for the Harper regime to stop stalling:

“After seven years of the government’s broken promises to introduce greenhouse gas rules for the oil and gas sector Canadians are still waiting,” Leslie said.

“Now we hear that Environment Canada has stopped talking to the industry and the Alberta government altogether. In fact, the (federal) government-led committee hasn’t met since March 2013. When will this government quit stalling and when will we see the regulations?”

Of course, as is standard operating procedure for this government, Aglukkaq did not answer, preferring to mouth platitudes about what a great job the government is doing in reducing emissions in this country:
“We have taken action on some of the largest sources of emissions in this country, the transportation and the electricity-generation sector” ... “I’m also looking forward to taking part in the UN climate summit in New York next week to speak to Canada’s record in taking action on climate change.”

And this is hardly a time for obfuscation and misdirection:
Environment Canada estimated earlier this year that greenhouse gas emissions from the oilsands increased by 307 per cent between 1990 and 2012. The carbon emissions were projected to grow a further 61 per cent before the end of the decade.

A clue as to why the committee's work suddenly ceased may be found here:
Behind closed doors, internal records obtained by Greenpeace Canada through provincial freedom of information legislation revealed that industry lobbyists rejected proposals from the Alberta government to introduce tough rules, and instead suggested delaying action to allow for more “study, analysis and consultation.”
Concludes Keith Stewart, a Toronto-based climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada:
“This is what happens when a government opens the doors wide to the oil industry and shuts out everyone else ... The upstream oil and gas industry is now the biggest carbon polluter in the country precisely because the Harper government gives in every time they cry poor. Meanwhile, the public foots the ever-rising bill for climate disasters while the oil companies post record profits.”
It seems safe to conclude that this is yet more evidence that Stephen Harper is not here for us.


  1. I'm feeling radicalized these days, Lorne. I don't like it but these never-ending affronts by a government bereft of integrity or honesty, a truly predatory regime, allows citizens of conscience few options other than turning somewhat radical. It's as though there is no connection, no common ground, no shared facts. This government does not operate in the same world as the people it claims the right to govern and that incongruity gives rise to an authoritarianism that reigns rather than governs.

    I think it was two years ago, perhaps three, when Tom Flanagan gave an address to a group on SaltSpring Island. A few of Flanagan's observations about Harper have burned into my memory. For starters, Flanagan described his old friend as a man who eschews "vision." Harper's notions of government are entirely clerical and he is incapable of rising above that level. Flanagan went on to add that Harper has no compunction of promising the public what they want to hear and then doing none of it. What topped it off was Flanagan's (probably unintended) warning that Harper has a technique for implementing unpopular measures - incrementalism. He takes baby steps so seemingly innocuous that they go unnoticed. It's sort of like passing a truly draconian law one sentence or phrase at a time, perhaps even out of sequence, and then once clad with the force of law assembling those fragments into some dreaded statute.

    This is a predator. The people of Canada are his prey.

    1. Your metaphor is apt, Mound. The kind of incrementalism you describe has been skillfully employed by Harper and the corporate -driven media to the point, I fear, that it is not just Harper who is incapable of vision, but far too many 'regular' Canadians as well, despite regular exposure to the terrible consequences of such a soulless approach to policy formulation.