Canada blows post-oil economic opportunities

Canada blows post-oil economic opportunities >> Times Colonist, July 7, 2009.

This one of those articles that would have slipped off on the sidelines if it weren’t for the diligent folk at the Sightline Institute scouring the media for relevant news.

There was a time when politicians claimed Canada would become a world leader in clean, green technologies — that our educated workforce, abundant resources and entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with inspired government policy, would revitalize our economy and help save the planet.

Canada blowing another economic opportunity?  Not surprising.  I’ve grown up with the image of Canada being behind on everything.  We seem to like the status quo and not take the risks of being a leader.  Unfortunately for us, being a low on the risk scale means we also lose out on the great potential return.

Meanwhile, Canada has slipped to eighth place among G8 nations when it comes to tackling climate change, according to a recent report from the World Wildlife Fund. While Germany and England have reduced emissions in recent decades, Canada’s have increased 26 per cent since 1990.

“Canada is becoming increasingly isolated in clinging to the fossil economy while the rest of the world is moving on to a green economy,” says Keith Stewart of the WWF.

We’re the worst of the G8 nations!  Isn’t that sad?  We’re not a leader, but just a sideline watcher.  If Germany and England have not been severely hampered by their emission reductions, why would Canada?  Why are we different?  Are we so reliant on our resources that the effect of carbon reduction would reduce our economy to rubble?  Is Germany and England suffering economically because of their carbon reductions?  Probably not because we are all suffering globally because of the huge credit crunch.  Canada truly is a dinosaur right now.  Can we put Canada on display at Metrotown with the other dinosaurs?

And it isn’t only the Harper government. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was in Alberta last week, proposing a pipeline to bring Alberta gas and oil east. He is already a vocal champion of the oilsands.

The NDP, too, has lost any claim to leadership on the environment — partly because of its over-the-top opposition to a carbon tax (still the most elegantly simple remedy) and partly because it has been more concerned, of late, with preserving union jobs.

So it falls to the Green Party, the Bloc Québécois and some premiers to press for a green future.

Obviously it’s not a pretty environmental picture on the political landscape.  No wonder 10% of Canadians vote for the Green Party.  There’s not much choice out there when it comes to the environment; only a best of the worst scenario.

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