Why I don’t want to be Canadian right now

Posted in rants on December 13th, 2011 by brooke

Say NO to Stephen Harper

Thanks to dstewart.org for this great pic

I’ve been saying this more and more recently, but now I really mean it. I’m embarrassed to be a Canadian. The damn icing on the cake is the recent news that the Harper Government (which doesn’t adequately represent all of Canadians, so I’ll refrain from calling it the Canadian Government) has withdrawn from the Kyoto protocol.

This is on top of Canada’s insane exploitation of Alberta’s oil sands through a devastatingly high-impact extraction process that uses 2-5 barrels of water to produce 1 barrel of oil while contaminating groundwater and freshwater in the entire area. The mines created in order to extract the oil are some of the largest in the world. It’s estimated that the emissions generated in order to refine tar sands oil is 3 times more than conventional oil production. Well, I guess we wouldn’t have met our Kyoto emissions targets anyhow….

Next is our pathetic attempt at establishing TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline, which was stalled because the Obama Administration recognized that much more research on the environmental impact needed to be done. Why? Because the proposed pipeline was to go through environmentally sensitive areas that, should a rupture occur, would be devastated. More PB oil spills anyone? As to be expected, this has tainted American’s view of us Canadians. Wait, aren’t we supposed to be the good guys?

To add another layer to the cake, the Harper Government’s inability to properly manage our environmental impact and seeming disinterest in funding Environment Canada is the scorn of environmental critics everywhere, including the the federal commissioner of the environment and sustainable development. According to the scathing report, our industries aren’t properly held accountable for ineffectively transporting dangerous goods across our country. Yikes.

Oh and now here’s another layer – and it’s a big one! The recent US-Canada border deal apparently has the potential to significantly save some cash, simplify trade and reduce border bottleneck. But at what cost? One example: “To reduce border choke points, the deal calls for officials to inspect shipments arriving from offshore at the perimeter. That means a shipment destined for Canada but arriving first in the United States would be inspected only once, by Americans.” (Emphasis added.)

Ottawa intends to harmonize commercial regulations with the U.S. that could have significant impact on Canadians. Rules governing agriculture and food products are just one area where there may be changes. For instance, the two countries seem intent on creating a “common meat nomenclature” in the years ahead to end discrepancies in classification of cuts. But there are also likely to be changes across a wide range of products, including vehicle safety standards, boating gear such as life jackets, health products, workplace chemicals, environmental standards and the approval process for new prescription drugs.

(Source: TheStar.com)

And we trust agencies like the FDA to screen Canadian-bound goods???? This means products containing GMOs from big agricultural firms are soon to be crossing our border. Other things like labelling, preservative use and testing methodologies will be unified too. Franken-food anyone?

These examples are just a few of the recent failures on the part of our Harper Government. Now, back to that icing on the cake. The Kyoto Protocol. Essentially it was designed to encourage major emitters in the ‘developed’ world to take responsibility for the emissions we have spewed out since our industrial revolution. While I have to admit I think it’s emission reduction targets could have been much harsher, what it symbolized is pretty critical: the unity of the world’s nations to fighting climate change and reducing its impacts. Now that Harperites have said ‘no’ – arguing that if the major emitters aren’t signed on, neither are we – we’re showing that we just don’t give a shit. Apparently the cost of reducing our emissions, which would require breaking our addiction to dirty oil, is too much. Do they not know that catastrophic shifts in the environment will jack up the bill too? Oh wait, they probably won’t even be in power by then, so why would they care if it’s someone else’s mess to clean up? Now we’re the subject of intense global scorn on the issue. Thanks a lot, Harper.

So, to sum up my disappointment. As a Canadian, I believe in respecting and protecting our valuable resources, which we are so fortunate to have. I also believe in protecting our health through tough food regulations and inspection, as well as putting an emphasis on sustainable, local and organic agriculture. Also important is my belief that as one of the chief emitters of CO2, it is our obligation to reduce these emissions and invest heavily in renewable energy. I know I’m not alone on these beliefs and I’m petrified to think of what else Harper is going to do with his newfound power as a majority government. It’s really time to tell them to get their act together. Otherwise, being Canadian is going to get a whole lot worse.

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