Stephen Harper is clearly not moved by Canada's rapidly decaying reputation regarding its appalling position of climate change. In a Bloomberg story I have not seen reported anywhere in the Canadian media, Harper told the South Korean National Assembly that he will "...use Canada's co-chairmanship of next year's Group of 20 countries meeting to urge members to put economic recovery before efforts to protect the environment."
This is a blatant violation of the role that Canada has been given to co-chair the first meeting of the G20 as a body acknowledged as the effective replacement of the G8. Canada is now not only a rogue country on climate change but is headed by a rogue prime minister -- stating openly that he will abuse his power as a co-chair to do everything he can to derail climate change action and protect the deadly tar sands of Alberta from any effort to slow down its development.
Harper's speech in South Korea's happened the same day that a U.S. report, published in the prestigious, peer-reviewed Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, claimed that Alberta's monitoring of the tar sands was completely inadequate and vastly underestimated the pollution of the environment saying that "..estimated airborne emissions of PACs [polycyclic aromatic compounds] from the industry's activities as amounting to a major oil spill each year if they were in a single place."
Based on its own independent monitoring of rivers, the study's authors openly contradict the Alberta government's claims that the pollution in the Athabasca and other rivers is due to naturally occurring hydrocarbon compounds. The study states: "At sites in the oil sands area where nearby land has not been disturbed, PAC levels in rivers are similar to what is found in remote Canadian Arctic waterways, but in areas most affected by extraction activity, they rise by 10 to nearly 50-fold, reaching amounts within the range of harm to aquatic life."
None of this will phase Harper or the Alberta government (which has already dismissed the report) given that they inhabit what one of George Bush's advisors called the "faith-based world" as opposed to the "reality-based" world of the scientists they detest.
But perhaps we could persuade Harper to stay home from Copenhagen where he can only do more damage. If we invited him to something he would actually like to attend, maybe he would cancel his trip. Something like:
"You are formally invited to attend a Memorial Dinner honouring Milton Friedman to be held on December 14. The gathering will include your friends and allies from the National Citizens Coalition, the Fraser Institute, and the oil industry. We would like you to address the assembled guests on the remarks you made in 1997 (quoted in the Toronto Star, April 6 1997) that conservatives "work to dismantle the remaining elements of the interventionist state..." If you could link this to your views on obstructing government action on climate change, this would be of particular interest to our audience."
"We would like you to attend the formal opening of a private health care clinic on December 15. We would appreciate it if you could cut the ribbon opening this private, for-profit clinic and make a few remarks on how it fulfills the dream of the organization you once headed up -- the National Citizens' Coalition, that was founded by Colin M. Brown to turn back public Medicare."
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