LONDON, UK -- "Canada, among all the advanced countries, is best positioned to prosper and profit from the ecological crisis," announced Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper shortly after arriving for the opening of the G20 summit.
"Earth Day is a pessimistic and -- frankly -- socialistic concept, and we would rather focus on the many causes for optimism in the 21st century," explained Harper. "Some people see the Arctic ice cap as half melted, but I prefer to see a new shipping route as half freed up."
"The only thing we have to fear about climate change is fear of climate change itself."
Canada's Conservative government, said Harper, will be introducing a motion in Parliament to cancel the April 22 celebration of Earth Day, replacing it with Oil Sands Day.
"I will have to study this proposal," responded Liberal opposition leader Michael Ignatieff, adding, "On the surface, though, it sounds awesome, much like the oil sands themselves."
"And, as you know, I don't take lessons from National Geographic," added the Liberal leader in reference to his disparaging remarks about a story the magazine did last month on the environmental impact of Alberta's 'tar sands.'
Prime Minister Harper, once an ardent denier of anthropogenic climate change, now acknowledges the human effect on climate.
"I get it," explained Harper, "I'm down with the scientists. Especially with those who warn that it is likely already too late to stop runaway global warming. Climate change gives Canada a competitive advantage and that's what tar, uh, oil sands day will be all about," said Harper.
The official holiday will be marked by government-sponsored educational ads on television celebrating the new opportunities for Canadian prosperity:
-A thriving trade corridor in the ice-free Northwest Passage.
-A construction boom for indoor ice rinks in small Canadian towns once reliant on outdoor rinks.
-New market opportunities for bottled water exports to drought-ridden countries.
Prime Minister Harper introduced this government initiative at the G20 in an attempt to impact the debate around the economic recovery.
"This annual Earth Day business poses a threat to the world's recovery from economic and financial crisis," Harper argued. "It encourages further contraction of the economy through energy-saving and reduced consumption, when what is really needed is stimulus -- and the Canadian oil sands are the ultimate economic stimulator on the planet."
When asked if he was concerned this new course of action would put Canada out of step with a new U.S. administration and ongoing multilateral efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Harper quipped, "Mitigation of climate change is like, so late 20th century -- the genie is out of the bottle and it's best to approach it as an unprecedented economic opportunity."
In a pair of related announcements, Heritage Minister James Moore announced that CBC's 'The Nature of Things' would be discontinued immediately, while Immigration Minister Jason Kenney announced a new list of public personalities who are to be denied entry into Canada.
"I'm sure that there are dozens of hippy republics, and tin-pot Luddite dictators who are willing to roll out the red carpet for the likes of Robert Kennedy Jr., George Monbiot and Vandana Shiva, but these three and a host of other environmental extremists are no longer welcome in Canada," said a spokesperson for Kenney's office.
On the subject of the potential wave of so-called 'environmental refugees' expected to be caused by climate change, Minister Kenney had a message: "If you live in a coastal area of the Third World, start learning French or English if your 'plan B' includes Canada."
*Happy April Fools Day from all of us at rabble.
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