Wednesday, August 14, 2019

UPDATED: Patently Ridiculous

That is my assessment of our faux Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna, in her latest political statement in answer to the question of whether or not Canada should ban the export of our plastic waste:
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she has asked her department to look at what else Canada can do to reduce the amount of Canadian garbage that is ending up overseas.

As recently as Aug. 1, McKenna’s officials dismissed the idea of banning plastic waste exports entirely, fearing such a move could be economically harmful to countries with recycling industries that rely on the material. [Italics mine.]

Canada pointed to Australia, New Zealand and Japan as countries with similar policies.

But last week, Australia’s federal and state governments came together to start planning for an eventual ban of plastic waste exports.
While some might be fooled by McKenna's expressions of concern for jobs in other countries, others are not:
Kathleen Ruff, founder of the online advocacy campaign, wants Canada to agree to stop shipping plastic waste out of the country. She has been critical of the federal Liberals for refusing to agree to amend the Basel Convention to stop plastic waste exports. The convention is an international agreement to prevent the world’s wealthiest nations from dumping hazardous waste on the developing world.
Ruff said she was happy to hear McKenna say there was room to do more — and suspects the Oct. 21 federal election may have something to do with it.
Politics, indeed. I think I would have more respect for McKenna if she took the almost unheard of route of speaking honestly to the public and state that a ban of plastic exports would require the elimination of a wide array of single-use products that Canadians are addicted to, ranging from plastic water bottles to bubble wrap to takeout containers to coffee cups (lined with plastic). Such a move would take real courage and vision, but the initial public backlash might be politically costly.

Instead, we have a visionless shill masquerading as the Environment and Climate Change Minister taking faux pride in the fact that we will ban plastic straws in another year or two.

In closing, it is useful to remind ourselves that we are all complicit in this minister's posturing:
Canadians are among the biggest producers of waste in the world, churning out as much as two kilograms per person every day.
Not a pretty picture

UPDATE: Now here is something we should all find sobering about plastic pollution:
Abundant levels of microplastic pollution have been found in snow from the Arctic to the Alps, according to a study that has prompted scientists to warn of significant contamination of the atmosphere and demand urgent research into the potential health impacts on people.

Snow captures particles from the air as it falls and samples from ice floes on the ocean between Greenland and Svalbard contained an average of 1,760 microplastic particles per litre, the research found. Even more – 24,600 per litre on average – were found at European locations. The work shows transport by winds is a key factor in microplastics contamination across the globe.

The scientists called for research on the effect of airborne microplastics on human health, pointing to an earlier study that found the particles in cancerous human lung tissue.


  1. She's the undisputed Queen of political horse shit and bafflegab, Lorne. I wonder if that's what Trudeau saw in her when he chose her for the enviro portfolio.

    1. Souls are bought rather cheaply these days, Mound. I guess her price was right in Trudeau's eyes.

  2. .. ms McKenna might do well
    to consider the actions, indeed the principles
    and strength of her former 'fellow' Ministers
    Ms Jane Philpott and Ms Wilson-Raybould ..

    Currently she is only a cheap imitation of Peter Kent
    the failed flop of a limp Minister of Environment
    under Harper/Novak's regime
    and she is trotted out almost daily
    to do the jerkwater talking noise

    She's really earning the 'climate barbie' insult
    which I thought unfair.. but now seems apropos

    1. The chasm between McKenna and people like Philpott and Wilson-Raybound is vast, Sal, but I'm sure Mckenna says to herself as a nightly mantra against her betrayal of integrity and principle that she is doing a fine job indeed. People like her, when they look in the mirror, rarely see what is so readily apparent to others.