Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Who are the Real Extremists?

The following is a copy of a letter to the Editor of the Sudbury Star (a Sun Media outlet), submitted by me on Wednesday, September 28, 2011. At the time of posting this to my blogsite, the letter to the Editor remains unpublished. I'm publishing this on today, on the same day that national Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan released his report which indicates that Canada has no intention of meeting its Kyoto Treaty greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Which begs the question: if protesters in Ottawa last week were fined $65 for trespessaing, what fine is now appropriate for Canada, an international law-breaker? Stephen Harper talks about a "law and order" agenda, but willfully breaks the Kyoto Treaty, which Canada entered into in good faith. In whose interests has Canada broken the law?

Who are the real extremists?

(Aside) I saw a great, and unfortunately true, tweet earlier today: "Canada is to climate change what Japan is to whaling". Our international reputation will continue to plummet under a Conservative-led government. We have to Stop Harper!


Re: Oil industry propagandist Ezra Levant’s column, “Extremist oil protest puzzling”, published in the Tuesday, September 27th edition of the Sudbury Star.

So, Mr. Levant wants us to believe that people protesting against the climate crises on Parliament Hill earlier this week are extremists in the employ of foreign governments. Last I checked, those getting arrested for engaging in a civil disobedience exercise on the Hill on Monday came from all walks of life, right across the country. They were proud to be fined $65 to make their point. What brought them together was the idea that our government needs to be more responsive when it comes to climate change.

Levant uses a bait-and-switch technique to question why protesters didn’t set up barricades in front of the Saudi embassy. Of course, Levant wrote a book about how Saudi and middle eastern oil is “unethical”, so he’s got a financial stake in promoting the idea that pumping Canada’s dirty tar sands oil is somehow better for Canadians.

Sure, Saudi Arabia has it’s problems. But so does Canada. The Alberta tar sands project is the single largest industrial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Environmental organizations from around the world are keeping a close eye on decisions being made in Canada, which Levant interprets as some kind of sinister ulterior motive. What Levant doesn’t want you to know is that greenhouse emissions from the tar sands will raise the carbon content in our atmosphere on a global scale. That means that people living in Canada, or the U.K. or Bangladesh all have a stake in lowering emissions.

Levant, though, would rather label grandmothers and others engaged in civil disobedience exercise as extremists working for foreign interests. Of course, the real truth is that the tar sands interests for whom Levant shills are composed of a number of foreign-owned companies, such as Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell. I don’t think that there’s anyone left in Canada who doesn’t believe that the multi-national oil industry has its own vested interests: making money at the expense of dumping tonnes of carbon pollution into our atmosphere.

Levant’s rant is an injustice to the environmental protesters who only want Canada to meet its international obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our government continues to pursue policies which encourage the industrial expansion of the tar sands, while knowing tar sands oil will disproportionately contribute to the climate crisis. Given the anticipated impacts of global climate change, including the impacts which we will experience here in Canada, who are the real extremists?

(opinions expressed in this blog are my own, and should not be interpreted as being consistent with the views of the Green Party of Canada)

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