Thursday, December 27, 2018

The Climate Year In Review

Go ahead. Tell me that climate change is an unproven theory.

Meanwhile, if you live here in Ontario, 2019 will likely prove at least as depressing as the second part of 2018 has been:
In the midst of this season of giving, a precious treasure is being taken from Ontarians; the hard-won tools that protect our environment are being stolen in broad daylight by a provincial government that claims the need to do this to fight “red tape” and make Ontario “Open for Business.”

It has taken Ontario’s current provincial government remarkably little time to sweep away an array of laws and policies that are crucial to the protection of Ontario’s natural environment and farmland. It took decades of discussion by previous Ontario governments, academics and other experts for these environmental safeguards to be finally put into place.

The heart and soul of the Environmental Bill of Rights Act is the oversight provided by the creation of an independent environmental commissioner. A bill to cut “red tape” strips the commissioner of many of her powers and much of her independence.

Similarly, the Greenbelt Protection Act, intended to give permanent protection to this area, became law in 2004 after decades of studies, planning and debate. The act was intended to give permanent protection to an ecosystem of forests, streams and farmland surrounding the Golden Horseshoe. Less than six months after their election, the Ford government has introduced legislation that opens the door to development within the Greenbelt.

It has also taken decades for governments, including Ontario’s, to accept that harmful climate change is real and to take action to slow its acceleration. Ontario’s cap-and-trade program was introduced less than two years ago by the former Liberal government.

By July of this year, the Ford government had repealed those regulations and quickly replaced them with a scheme which the environment commissioner considers only a fraction as effective as the one it replaced.

If this were a movie, it would be called How Doug Ford Stole Christmas.

The effects of the Grinch’s theft of Christmas presents were at least limited to inhabitants of the small village of Whoville. The same cannot be said of Doug Ford’s theft of some of our most precious gifts of a clean and healthy environment. The harm will be felt throughout Ontario by both present and future generations. Nor is there any evidence that the eventual redemption of Dr. Seuss’ Grinch will be replicated by Ontario’s Grinch. This movie is not likely to have a happy ending.

John Swaigen, Toronto


  1. Perhaps the consolation prize is that no one, whether Liberal, Conservative or of any other affiliation, can say they weren't warned. No one can plead ignorance any more. Everyone today, especially our leadership, is accountable for what they do and what they choose to not do. We've seen what your man, Ford, has done but we've also seen what Kenney, Moe and even the NDP's Notley have done or plan on doing. Some day each of them should be in the prisoner's dock for what is rapidly coming to be seen as a crime against humanity, all humanity. The "we had no idea" defence is now off the table.

    I've been working on a post over the last few days dealing with the neoliberal order as a possible barrier to meaningful action on climate change. Do global trade agreements, combined with market fundamentalism, tie our hands?

    1. You pose an interesting question here, Mound. I look forward to reading your post.

      While I agree with your assertion that the political leadership stands aptly accused of crimes against humanity, I also have to marvel at our selfishness as a species (and believe me, I include myself here); far too many are still content to whistle past the graveyard, even at this late date.

  2. .. firstly.. merci beaucoup for yet another year of timely critical concerned observations ! Tried to convey such as well to the likely suspects.. at Northern Reflections, Mound's intense lair, Climenhaga, Desrocher re polar bear, Leach re 'Energy'.. Simon as well.. the list, the beat goes on

    We get the thin toxic gruel of Scheer - his far side 'chattering & posturing' and the rest of the Harper Rump Reformer droogs .. the Kenneys, the Denise Batters, the frumious Ford et al

    Buried in the noise we find the partisan flat earth society of blundering political preeners pimping the majical elixer of diluted bitumin for the holy economic grail of diluted bitumin. The intoxicating low hanging fruit of partisan political pandering sellouts - Hello Justin th 'Nation Builder' - c'mon down !

    1. Thank you for your comments throughout the year, Sal. Let's hope against hope that 2019 brings better news, eh?