12 Oct Step it Up Canada!
Though I was frustrated when the country took voting Harper out to an extreme and we were bathed in a sea of red as the Liberals dominated the federal election last fall, I have to say I was optimistic. I believed the great things coming out of our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau’s, mouth. I believed that “yes! Canada is FINALLY going to start playing in the big leagues for combating climate change.” But, I guess we’re just like the Toronto Maple Leafs, even when it looks like we’re doing well, we always lose.
As one of my good friends, and fellow iMatter leader Cameron Yetman said when I expressed my frustration of Trudeau’s recent actions of pipeline approvals “Trudeau’s honeymoon with environmentalists is now over.” We were all just too happy to be rid of Harper and have a government that maybe would at least ACKNOWLEDGE that climate change is happening and not just fire all the scientists who don’t agree with endless exploitation of the not-so bountiful resources of our country. And while it is indeed true that our Liberal majority government says that climate change is one of the biggest crises facing the world today, and that they signed the Paris COP21 Climate agreement, their actions have NOT followed their words.
When Justin Trudeau first became Prime Minister, this is what we heard, this is what gave us hope:
“We’ll demonstrate that we are serious about climate change … This means making decisions based on science, it means reducing carbon emissions, including through carbon pricing towards a climate resilient economy. It means collaborating with our provincial and territorial partners, supporting climate change efforts in developing countries and investing in sustainable economic prosperity.” – Justin Trudeau 2015
As the terrible attack ads claimed during the election “Justin Trudeau is just not ready.” He’s not ready to defy consumer need and want for more resources from the tar sands NOW, he is not ready to take down big corporations that are exploiting the tar sands, he is not ready to listen to the voices of his citizens and make educated decisions about the climate that allow for a future of sustainability for the 7th generation, he is not ready to listen to the indigenous peoples of our country and protect their rights and their land, he is not ready to be the leader that Canada needs to combat the climate crisis, but he is what we have. Having not been old enough to vote in this federal elections, I had to depend on other citizens in this country, they made the choice to vote only to get Stephen Harper OUT. We needed to STOP HARPER, but we also needed to have NDP and Green Party representation in our parliament. With our primitive First Past the Post voting system, this country-wide effort to extirpate Harper became one of the largest Liberal majority governments. Ridings that have been New Democrat Party for years went red.
But, wait! There’s an upside! (not really but first I must portray this as an upside before I tear it apart and illuminate you to the hypocrisy and ineffectiveness of his plan). Last week, Trudeau announced a “tough love” carbon-pricing plan on all the provinces and territories in Canada, saying that all provinces either have to have a carbon-tax or cap-and-trade system in place by 2018 or the federal government with step in and take charge. This price on carbon tough love attitude is all to cut Canada’s carbon emissions 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. Only 30%. Congrats Trudeau, you have managed to a) adopt Harper’s terrible goals of climate action that have no hope of reaching the targets of the Paris agreement and b) pissed off all the remaining conservatives in this country (and there are quite a few) because it’s a tax and pissed off the NDPs and Green because it’s a terrible climate action plan and c) pissed off all the hopeful citizens who put their faith in your ability to listen to our voices through the numerous climate consultation town-halls held this year. Good job. That would most definitely not earn you an A for Aggressive and Ambitious Action.
As Canada’s lone Green Party Goddess Elizabeth May states “How can he reconcile adopting the Paris agreement, while accepting the Harper target, which will make achieving Paris impossible?” How can he? How can he listen to the voices of thousands of concerned citizens at town-halls demanding a climate action plan that keeps fossil fuels in the ground, building a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050, and ensuring a just transition for indigenous peoples, workers and climate-impacted communities again and again, sharing their personal stories of how they have been impacted by climate change, and make the same dirty mistakes that our former prime minister Stephen Harper made again and again.
How can he say that we are serious about climate change when the federal government still subsidizes the fossil fuel industry?
How can he say that we are building a sustainable economy when the entire foundation of our economy is currently built in non-renewable, fastly disappearing, harmful fossil fuels?
How can he have a face so innocent of climate crimes and appearing to take action to combat climate change with one hand, and with the other be approving new fracking gas export projects? Hinting to approve the kinder morgan pipeline?
As Bill McKibben states in his reaction to Trudeau’s failure to do the climate math “the carbon in the oil and gas fields and coal mines already in production will take us past the two degrees of global warming that all nations pledged to avoid in Paris last year. (Never mind the 1.5 degree target that Canada led the way in promoting). It’s not the next oil field that will break the planet’s climate: it’s the ones we’re already pumping.” It’s the ones we’re already pumping, and thanks to Trudeau, we’re going to start pumping more oil fields? What kind of faulty logic is that?
Every time I hear of record temperatures being reached all over the globe, every time there is a new extreme weather event like Hurricane Matthew, every time a First Nations community does not have access to CLEAN DRINKING WATER, every time a conflict new or old causes drastic impacts on the residents of the country, every time I step outside and see numerous cars releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, every time I am reminded that WE ARE IN THE MIDST OF THE 6TH MATH EXTINCTION IN THE HISTORY OF THE EARTH.
I am terrified for the future of our planet, of our species, of all the other species on our planet.
I don’t want the beautiful ecosystems that occur on our planet, the beauty of nature to disappear before my eyes in search of everlasting wealth and “luxurious” consumer lifestyles.
I don’t want to be angry at my government who represents the views and voices of all the citizens in the country.
But, I have to be. I have to be angry and frustrated and worried and scared.
Because Justin Trudeau is not doing his job. TO LISTEN, to make informed decisions that protect the country in the present and in the future, and to make us be proud to be Canadian.
Oh Canada, our home but not our native land (save the Aboriginal peoples of Canada),
I don’t feel very patriotic because the true North is NOT STRONG in our actions to combat climate change and definitely NOT FREE from corporate influence and consumer greed.
Our pipelines carrying crude oil, bitumen and other substances reach from far and wide across the country, contaminating drinking water of many Aboriginal communities.
Oh, Canada, we stand on guard to demand that our government take aggressive action to mitigate climate change but we are not listened to.
Oh Canada, Justin Trudeau must act as the god to keep our land sustainable and prosperous, but he is not.
Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee and will not back down from the opposition we face for we MUST have action on climate change NOW.