web analytics

O Canada

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, December 5th, 2009 - 18 comments
Categories: Environment, International - Tags: ,

Depressing reading in this piece by George Monbiot on Canada:

So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush.

In 2006 the new Canadian government announced it was abandoning its targets to cut greenhouse gases under the Kyoto protocol. No other country that had ratified the treaty has done this. Canada was meant to have cut emissions by 6% between 1990 and 2012. Instead they have already risen by 26%.

It is now clear that Canada will refuse to be sanctioned for abandoning its legal obligations. The Kyoto protocol can be enforced only through goodwill: countries must agree to accept punitive future obligations if they miss their current targets. But the future cut Canada has volunteered is smaller than that of any other rich nation. Never mind special measures; it won’t accept even an equal share. The Canadian government is testing the international process to destruction and finding that it breaks all too easily. By demonstrating that climate sanctions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, it threatens to render any treaty struck at Copenhagen void.

After giving the finger to Kyoto, Canada then set out to prevent the other nations striking a successor agreement. At the end of 2007, it singlehandedly blocked a Commonwealth resolution to support binding targets for industrialised nations. After the climate talks in Poland in December 2008, it won the Fossil of the Year award, presented by environmental groups to the country that had done most to disrupt the talks. The climate change performance index, which assesses the efforts of the world’s 60 richest nations, was published in the same month. Saudi Arabia came 60th. Canada came 59th.

In Copenhagen next week, this country will do everything in its power to wreck the talks. The rest of the world must do everything in its power to stop it. But such is the fragile nature of climate agreements that one rich nation especially a member of the G8, the Commonwealth and the Kyoto group of industrialised countries could scupper the treaty. Canada now threatens the wellbeing of the world.

As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the pursuit is of petro-dollars is also tearing Canada apart – quite literally. Most of Canada’s reserves are not oil, but tar sands, “a filthy mixture of bitumen, sand, heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals” which are “being extracted by the biggest opencast mining operation on earth”:

An area the size of England, comprising pristine forests and marshes, will be be dug up unless the Canadians can stop this madness. Already it looks like a scene from the end of the world: the strip-miners are creating a churned black hell on an unimaginable scale. To extract oil from this mess, it needs to be heated and washed. Three barrels of water are used to process one barrel of oil. The contaminated water is held in vast tailings ponds, some so toxic that the tar companies employ people to scoop dead birds off the surface. Most are unlined. They leak organic poisons, arsenic and mercury into the rivers. The First Nations people living downstream have developed a range of exotic cancers and auto-immune diseases.

Sadly of course we Kiwis now have to mobilise to protect our own National Parks from the same madness. Make a start with the postcard campaign described earlier. Don’t let the National government do this to our country…

aspiring-mine

18 comments on “O Canada ”

  1. gitmo 1

    Bombastic pap.

  2. prism 2

    gitmo – The information in this post is really disturbing. Could you cheer us up with some facts that show that its wrong.

    • gitmo 2.1

      Sorry I was referring to anything written by Monbiot as being bombastic pap – I’ve given up reading anything he dribbles on about

      • Bored 2.1.1

        Hey Gitmo, try reading this one, you might learn something. Theres a hell of a lot of people I read who write bombastic pap, like the columnists and editors in the politics and business sections of the daily papers. Then there are the academics, people like Kurosawa and Fergusson, all write bombastic pap to their viewpoint. That said theres always something in there to consider, even in disagreement. Its called filtering the pap crap. Give it a go.

  3. TF 3

    Go here to the climate change debate in Canada that Monbiot was there for.
    Elizabeth May Canadian Green Leader and George Monbiot on one side
    BjØrn Lomborg and Lord Nigel Lawson on the other
    Very entertaining though I don’t think it would sway people from there original positions

    I don’t think out of the four I would describe Monbiot as being the most bombastic
    see for yourselves http://www.munkdebates.com/

  4. Ag 4

    OK. Time for a reality check.

    As a former resident of Canada I can tell you that this is a blip in Canadian politics. The practical reality of Canadian elections is this: unless a party wins in both Ontario and Quebec, it cannot win a majority in the Canadian parliament. The only party capable of winning in both is the centrist Liberal Party, so either Canada has a Liberal government, or some sort of minority government. This is because the Conservatives (whatever guise they are currently in) cannot win sufficiently in Quebec to form a majority government.

    So here’s a simplified version of the current story.

    Now everyone remembers back in the 90s when Quebec had a referendum on separating from Canada which narrowly lost. Turns out that the Liberal government of the time had engaged in a series of underhanded PR tactics to boost support for the no vote. This all came out in the early 2000s and soured many Quebecers on the Liberals. Since then, the Liberals haven’t been able to win in Quebec, with the separatist Bloc Quebecois winning instead. The Bloc is perfectly prepared to support the Conservatives up to a point, since many Conservatives would prefer to get rid of Quebec.

    The end result is that Canada isn’t going to have a properly working government until Quebec gets over its fit with the Liberal Party. That probably won’t take that long, since most Canadians don’t like the extremely conservative bent of the CCP. What they do have in the meantime is a party dominated by Albertan conservatives, who are in many respects just the same as Republicans, who happen to have a stone-faced moron as a leader. He also happens to represent much of Western Canada, which has historically suffered from “Western Alienation” and is looking to get its own back on the “liberal elite” in Toronto and Montreal.

    This doesn’t mean that Canadians are anti-environment, and it certainly doesn’t mean that the Liberals are perfect. What it does mean is that Canada has by an unfortunate accident an anti-environment government that is massively pro oil (i.e. Alberta based) at the time climate change legislation is needed.

    In the end none of this has anything to do with the environment and everything to do with the endless antagonism between English Canada and French Canada.

    • prism 4.1

      Thanks Ag. From what you have said it seems that Canada may at present be a spoiler for hopes for the environmental summit getting a concerted mandate from the developed countries. People are talking about the next 2-3 years being important to start determined governmental measures to control emissions. So is there someone that can make way over this standoff. Sounds a bit Lilliputian to me.

      • prism 4.1.1

        Saying that the political machinations were a bit Lilliputian wasn’t meant to be a putdown of Canada Ag. I think Canada a good country and wonder why NZ doesn’t work for closer ties. All politicians can fall into the Lilliputian mode I think, it seems a too easy slide.

  5. Bill 5

    The story of cap and trade aka why we are completely fucking fucked (sorry prism….but it is a cartoon….. and they’re kinda happier than dense text….sometimes….)

    • prism 5.1

      When we are all getting fucked Bill, that’s equality!
      Not very efficient of me not to know, but was it your Bill that gave me the cap and trade hyperlinks? If it was you thanks. They were very informative.

  6. Bill 6

    For as long as ‘our’ elected agency (government) is competing with the elected agency of ‘others’ (‘their’ government) to gain comparative (business) advantage, we are well and truly fucked.

    Anybody wish to offer a counter argument/position which leads to a happy ever after given our present set up?

  7. Lanthanide 7

    “Don’t let the National government do this to our country ”
    Good thing we don’t actually have tar sands in NZ, so we don’t have to worry about the National governmenting “do[ing] this to our country”.

    • Bored 7.1

      I was rather hoping that tar sands were found under both Fendalton and Remuera, they might then become the either the first urban national parks or the first plutocratic Green electorates.

  8. rave 8

    NATO is expanding to the Arctic as the ice recedes. And Canada is being used as an attack dog by the US against Russia to grab the oil, gas etc that is said to be in abundance under the ice.
    http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/loose-cannon-and-nuclear-submarines-west-prepares-for-arctic-warfare/

    No capitalist government left, right, or centre will save the planet.
    http://redrave.blogspot.com/2009/12/climate-change-dire-emergency.html

    • Pascal's bookie 8.1

      I did laugh a wee while back when the Russians sent a sub to the north pole, and did some sort of sticking-a-flag-in-the-ocean-floor kind of routine. Purely to show the technical expertise of the navy of course. Just as a morale booster obviously. Not saying anything political at all.

  9. Chris 9

    As a Canadian this is less about Canada and more about the nature of right-wing governments. Currently, the federal government is extremely wingnut in its makeup – similar to the Mactional party here currently in power.

    The big problem is that Canada still has a FPP system, rather than a far superior MMP system that we have here. This means wingnuts get elected, and hence, are able to give vent to their hatred of Canada and drag it down in the worlds’ eyes – to wit Monbiot.

    The natural tendency is for us to have liberal (read left of centre) governments so given time, natural history will assert itself.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • World Soil Day: valuing our soils key to a better world
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has marked World Soil Day (5 December) with a $6.25 million investment in mapping New Zealand’s most valuable soils which are vital to our economic, environmental and social wellbeing. “The more we know about our natural resources, including soils, the better we can make good sustainable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 hours ago
  • Government receives interim report from the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Historical Abuse
    The Government has received an interim report from the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-Based Institutions. The terms of reference for the Royal Commission required a progress report on the inquiry‘s work to date to be delivered to the Government by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs announces diplomatic appointments to Malaysia and Austria
    Foreign Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta has announced Pam Dunn as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Malaysia and Brian Hewson as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Austria and UN Permanent Representative, Vienna. Malaysia “New Zealand and Malaysia enjoy a warm bilateral relationship. We have had diplomatic relations for more than 60 years, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    21 hours ago
  • Intention to appoint a Commission for Tauranga City Council
    Minister of Local Government, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, has confirmed the Tauranga City Council has been advised of her intention to appoint a Commission in response to significant governance problems among the Council’s elected representatives and the findings of an independent review. “I have been closely watching the conduct of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    22 hours ago
  • Pacific Health Scholarships 2021 about improving access to healthcare for Pacific communities
    Associate Minister of Health, Aupito William Sio is calling on any Pacific students studying health or disability-related courses to apply now for a Ministry of Health Pacific Health Scholarship. “These scholarships acknowledge the vital role Pacific people play in our health workforce. This was most visible through our Pacific workforce's ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    23 hours ago
  • Speech to Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY   Thank you for the opportunity to speak today. I want to recognise the hard work of the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute in putting on this event. Bringing together internationally recognised leaders and thinkers on trade and economic policy, with exporters, business leaders, diplomats, economists, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • NCEA Level 1 changes give students a broader foundation
    The Government is making changes to NCEA Level 1 to ensure it remains a strong, credible qualification that supports young people into employment and further education, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Last term, the Government initiated a wide-scale review of the National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA), involving consultation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Crown accounts reflect positive economic trend
    The Government’s books were again better than expected as the economy continued to recover post COVID lockdown, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the four months to the end of October were far more favourable than what was forecast in the Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Increase to supplier diversity through new procurement target for Maori Business
    Māori enterprises are in line for greater opportunities to do business with government agencies under an initiative to spread the benefits of the economic recovery.  The Ministers for Māori Development and Economic and Regional Development have announced a new target to encourage public service agencies to cast the net ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Climate emergency declaration will be matched with long-term action
    Today’s climate emergency declaration will be backed with ambitious plans to reduce emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw today. “Our Government has put New Zealand at the forefront of climate action over the last three years. Declaring a climate emergency and backing this with long-term action to reduce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the success of Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Award winners
    28 young achievers who have been in the care of Oranga Tamariki or involved with the youth justice system have received Oranga Tamariki Prime Minister Awards in recognition of their success and potential, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. At the awards ceremony in Parliament, Kelvin Davis congratulated the rangatahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Public sector to be carbon neutral by 2025
    Public sector to be carbon neutral by 2025 Immediate focus on phasing out largest and most active coal boilers Government agencies required to purchase electric vehicles and reduce the size of their car fleet Green standard required for public sector buildings The Government has launched a major new initiative to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government fulfils election undertaking on new top tax rate
    The Government will today keep its election promise to put in place a new top tax rate of 39 per cent on income earned over $180,000. “This will only affect the top two per cent of earners. It is a balanced measure that is about sharing the load so everyone ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Sir Robert Martin re-elected to UN Committee
    New Zealand welcomes the news that Sir Robert Martin has been re-elected to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni. “Sir Robert has been a lifetime advocate for persons with disabilities and his experience brings a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New rules to protect Kiwis from unaffordable loans
    The Government is making sure all consumers who borrow money get the same protections, regardless of where they get their loans.   “Building on the work to crack down on loan sharks last year, we’re now making the rules clearer for all lenders to help protect borrowers from unaffordable loans” ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New visitor attraction to boost tourism
    The opening of the first major new tourism attraction since the global outbreak of COVID-19 closed borders to international travellers will provide a welcome boost to visitor numbers in our largest city, says Tourism Minister Stuart Nash. Mr Nash has this afternoon taken part in the official opening ceremony of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt moves on drug checking to keep young New Zealanders safer this summer
    The Government will pass time limited legislation to give legal certainty to drug checking services, so they can carry out their work to keep New Zealanders safer this summer at festivals without fear of prosecution, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Next year the Government will develop and consult on regulations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Public Service Commissioner reappointed
    Minister for the Public Service Chris Hipkins announced today that Public Service Commissioner Peter Hughes CNZM has been reappointed for three years. The Public Service Commissioner is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. “Mr Hughes’ reappointment reflects the need for strong leadership and continuity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pōwhiri marks the start of a critical year for APEC
    New Zealand kicked off its APEC host year today, with a pōwhiri taking place on Wellington’s waterfront with local iwi Te Atiawa, and a number of Government ministers welcoming representatives from the other 20 APEC economies. “APEC is a hugely important international event, and New Zealand is hosting amidst the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech at APEC 21 Opening Pōwhiri
    9am, Tuesday 1 DecemberTe Whare Waka o Pōneke, Wellington Central He Mihi Kei aku rangatira no ngātapito e whā o te ao huri noa, tātou e huihui mai nei. Tēnā rā kōutou katoa. He tangiapakura ki ngā tini aituā kei waenganui i a tātou, ka tangi tonu te ngākau ki ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government extends business debt relief to October 2021
    To assist with the ongoing economic recovery from COVID-19, rules allowing affected businesses to put their debt on hold have been extended by 10 months. “New Zealand’s economy is recovering better than we expected, but the impacts of the pandemic are far-reaching and some businesses need continued support to keep ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bill introduced to support workers with 10 days sick leave
    The Government is delivering on a key commitment by introducing a Bill to Parliament to expand sick leave entitlements from five days to ten days a year, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced today. “COVID-19 has shown how important it is to stay at home when people are ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Progress on pay equity for DHB staff
    Today’s initial agreement between DHBs and the PSA on pay equity for clerical and administration staff is an important step toward better, fairer pay for this crucial and largely female workforce, Health Minister Andrew Little says. If ratified, the agreement between the Public Service Association and the country’s 20 District ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Iconic Milford Track officially reopens
    One of New Zealand’s premier hikes and a cornerstone of the Te Anau community, the Milford Track has officially reopened, “From today, hikers booked on the popular Great Walk will be able to complete the walk end-to-end for the first time since early February,” Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Support for farmers beefed up ahead of La Niña
    Further funding for feed support services and new animal welfare coordinators will help farmers who continue to feel the effects of an extended drought, says Rural Communities Minister Damien O’Connor. “In March this year, I classified the drought in the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chathams ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Next steps for Christchurch Hospital campus redevelopment
    Canterbury DHB will be better placed to respond to future demand for services and continue to deliver high quality care, with the next stage of the campus redevelopment programme confirmed, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Government has approved $154 million in funding for the construction of a third tower ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Five Power Defence Arrangements Defence Ministers’ Joint Statement
    The Defence Ministers from Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and United Kingdom reaffirmed their nations’ continued commitment to the Five Power Defence Arrangements (FPDA), and commended the achievements over the past 49 years as the FPDA moves towards its 50th Anniversary in 2021.  The Ministers recognised the FPDA’s significant role ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding protects health of Hawke’s Bay waterways
    A joint Government and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council project will invest $4.2 million to protect local waterways, enhance biodiversity and employ local people, Environment Minister David Parker announced today.   Over two years, the Hāpara Takatū Jobs for Nature project will fence 195km of private land to exclude stock from vulnerable ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Year border exception for seasonal workers in the horticulture and wine industries
    2000 additional RSE workers to enter New Zealand early next year employers must pay these workers at least $22.10 an hour employers will cover costs of managed isolation for the RSE workers RSE workers will be paid the equivalent of 30 hours work a week while in isolation From January ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government increases support for New Zealanders to work in seasonal jobs
    The Government is offering further financial support for unemployed New Zealanders to take on seasonal work. These new incentives include: Up to $200 per week for accommodation costs $1000 incentive payment for workers who complete jobs of six weeks or longer increasing wet weather payments when people can’t work to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government receives Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mos...
    Minister for Internal Affairs Jan Tinetti has today received the Royal Commission of Inquiry report into the Terrorist Attack on Christchurch Mosques, and will table it in Parliament on Tuesday December 8. “I know this will have been a challenging process for whānau, survivors and witnesses of the terrorist attack ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Government to declare a climate emergency
    The Government will declare a climate emergency next week, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said today.                                       “We are in the midst of a climate crisis that will impact on nearly every ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Call for urgent action on Pacific conservation
    A declaration on the urgency of the global biodiversity crisis and the need for immediate, transformative action in the Pacific was agreed at a pan-Pacific conference today. The 10th Pacific Islands Conference on Nature Conservation and Protected Areas is taking place this week across the Pacific.  Minister of Conservation Kiritapu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech from the throne
    E aku hoa i te ara o te whai, Kia kotahi tā tātou takahi i te kō, ko tōku whiwhi kei tō koutou tautoko mai. Ko tāku ki a koutou, hei whakapiki manawa mōku. He horomata rangatira te mahi, e rite ai te whiwhinga a te ringatuku, me te ringakape ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keynote address to Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand conference
    Speech to the CAANZ conference - November 19, 2020 Thank you, Greg, (Greg Haddon, MC) for the welcome. I’d like to acknowledge John Cuthbertson from CAANZ, the Commissioner of Inland Revenue Naomi Ferguson, former fellow MP and former Minister of Revenue, Peter Dunne, other guest speakers and CAANZ members. I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Expert independent advisory group appointed to strengthen the future of Māori broadcasting
    A panel of seven experts are adding their support to help shape the future of Māori broadcasting, Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson has announced today. “Today I will meet with some of the most experienced Māori broadcasters, commentators and practitioners in the field. They have practical insights on the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to review housing settings
    New Zealand’s stronger-than-expected economic performance has flowed through to housing demand, so the Government will review housing settings to improve access to the market, the Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “Our focus is on improving access to the housing market for first home buyers and ensuring house price growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Crown accounts reflect Govt’s careful economic management
    The better-than-expected Crown accounts released today show the Government’s careful management of the COVID-19 health crisis was the right approach to support the economy. As expected, the Crown accounts for the year to June 2020 show the operating balance before gains and losses, or OBEGAL, was in deficit. However that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community launch marks next step in addressing racism in education
    The launch of Te Hurihanganui in Porirua today is another important milestone in the work needed to address racism in the education system and improve outcomes for Māori learners and their whānau, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says. Budget 2019 included $42 million over three years to put Te Hurihanganui ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Government to consider recommendations on DNA use in criminal investigations
    The Minister of Justice has received the Law Commission’s recommending changes to the law governing the way DNA is used in criminal investigations. The report, called The Use of DNA in Criminal Investigations – Te Whahamahi I te Ira Tangata I ngā Mātai Taihara, recommends new legislation to address how ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago