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Regressive Canada

Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are now 35% higher than they would have been if we were meeting our Kyoto targets. Our emissions are now worse than those of the US, who never signed Kyoto.

The blaming and bickering has commenced: the Conservatives are accusing the previous Liberal government of failing to enforce the treaty they signed. But the Conservatives are being accused of using the poor performance as an excuse to back out entirely from all efforts.

The Conservatives are also against the carbon credit system of trading, which allows a country that has not met emissions targets to trade “credits” with another country that has exceeded them. This system is supposed to provide economic incentive for countries to clean up; but if you simply back out the deal when you fall behind on targets, of course the system won’t work. It’s much like flipping over the Monopoly game board and running away crying when you start you lose.

More hypocritically, a Canadian is currently chairing the next meeting of Kyoto nations as they begin discussing the plans for stage two. Quite clearly, a country that has met none of its targets and is openly stating that it no longer support the treaty should not even be at the meeting, let alone chairing it.

Finally, it appears one environmentalist sure hasn’t had the idealism beat out of her yet:

Environmentalist Elizabeth May says the Tories can meet Kyoto targets by imposing a moratorium on new Alberta oil sands projects. “There is no need to exploit every last area of bitumen muck in the Athabasca region.”

Anyone who reads a newspaper knows that the Alberta Oil Sands are the great economic hope of Western Canada. They have been dancing on the oil fields for about a year now, and in their minds, the party is only beginning. The Alberta Oil Sands are seen as a great savior for many: they will free Alberta from the shackles of Ontario oppression, and the United States from a reliance on Mideast Oil. Also, we’ll all get rich.

Anyone who tries to rain on this parade by pointing out that extracting oil from the sands will be economically expensive and destructive to the environment will likely be run out of town by a posse of Lincoln Navigators. The development of the oil sands will simply not be stopped or slowed at this point, for any reason, least of all environmental ones.

If Canada is put in a position where we are forced to choose between the economy and the environment, then we will be doomed, because no government — especially not a Conservative one — will put greenhouse emissions before dollars and jobs.

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