Canadians (and others) have long backpacked around the world adorning their luggage with Canadian flags. It has been seen as the ticket to generous and friendly treatment worldwide. This however, may be a thing of the past.
On top of balking at committing to a second phase of the Kyoto Protocol, Canada is deliberately obstructing the process and maiming any agreement that might emerge. It has been painted as part of the notorious three: including Japan and Russia, that are willfully trying to block a new Protocol agreement. Canada has had the gall to insist that it is not against a new Kyoto Protocol – just a Protocol that has targets. And thus no weight or meaning. Canada is promoting a ‘zombie’ Kyoto that has its heart cut out.
Despite signing on to Kyoto, Canada’s is farther away from its target than any other country in the world, needing to reduce emissions by over 33%. Canada, one of the original signatories of the Kyoto Protocol, was one of the first to renounce its commitments under the Protocol. The conservative government, drawing its base largely from Alberta and inexorably tied to the dirty stream of Tar Sands oil, models itself after the United States in prioritizing short-term national economic interests.
As a Canadian I am embarrassed by my country’s performance at the Cancun negotiations. There is a glaring contradiction between espoused Canadian values of environmentalism (a recent study indicated that Canadians place the environment over the economy) and the short-sighted, anti-environmental attitudes of our government. Is it a question of a government non-representative of its constituency? The fact that the current Senate is unelected would support this. Or, does it fundamentally come down to what George Bush Sr succinctly professed, our’ lifestyle is simply not up for negotiation?’
Rather than showing the leadership on climate change that Canada should , it is willfully obstructing the process for the rest of the world. This will doubtless go down as a shameful juncture in Canada’s history. This is not a good time, nor a good meeting in which to be a Canadian.
Posted by Regan Suzuki