Archive for climate change

Justin Trudeau and the Continuing Saga of Canadian Apathy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2016 by jtoddring

A recent poll shows strong support for the Trudeau government in Canada, and I have to think, once again, that it is surprising to see that Canadians can be so uncritical and unquestioning of their government.

Yes, Harper was defeated, and yes, that was a good thing. But the current government under Trudeau Jr. is deeply flawed, and criminally negligent, at best – and that is the best you can say about them.

Trudeau Jr. is still subsidizing big oil and the fossil fuel industry, still pushing for oil pipelines, still blocking serious action on the environment. And we are still waiting on serious action on the lack of safe drinking water for 120 native communities and 1,600 municipalities across the country – in one of the seven richest countries on earth, with the means to provide all Canadians more than a decent standard of living, and certainly vastly more wealth and resources than is needed to simply provide clean, safe water for all. And further, the Trudeau government has so far refused to cancel or reject a plan by Ontario Power Generation to bury radioactive waste in the Great Lakes basin, even though every radioactive waste facility ever built has leaked, and despite the fact that the Great Lakes provide drinking water to 40 million people. And all of this entails what can only be called criminal negligence in the extreme.

Beyond that, the Trudeau Liberals refuse to raise corporate taxes to reasonable levels, say, where they were in 1960, at roughly 40%: and as a result, must work with a self-inflicted short-fall of revenues, meaning that health care, education, social and environmental programs cannot be properly funded.

What this means is that the Liberal Party is no longer a liberal party, as it was up until the government of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, Justin Trudeau’s father, in the late 1970’s. For more than thirty years, the Liberal Party of Canada has been yet another party of neoliberalism, which is to say, another party run by and for big business. And central to the neoliberal, pro-corporate agenda, is austerity for the people, with giant subsidies, bail-outs, “stimulus” packages and tax breaks for the corporations and the rich. This is why we have inadequate funding for health care, education, social programs and environmental programs in Canada, as in the US and Europe, despite the fact that Canada is one of the richest countries on earth: neoliberalism and a corporate agenda have taken over – and the Trudeau Jr. government is just the latest expression of this criminal posse of neo-feudal corporatists, gouging the people to further line the pockets of the rich.

At the same time, the young Trudeau signed the TPP, which effectively spells the final death blow to Canadian sovereignty, and democracy in Canada. Few actions could express a greater or more utter incompetence, or criminality, depending on how you want to view it.

And while talking about “a principled foreign policy,” Trudeau Jr. approved the arms deal signed by Harper to ship more arms to the Saudis – the most brutal regime in the Middle East, and one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.

Saudi Arabia is also the country which is the primary arms provider and source of funds to ISIS and Al Qaeda. Principled foreign policy? This is not only criminally negligent, at best, to be sending more arms to the Saudi dictatorship; it is also a disastrous and extremely foolish policy which is guaranteed to blow back in our faces, as Saudi Arabia continues to fuel terrorism, even while it proclaims it is fighting it.

And along with arming the Saudis, Trudeau continued the bombing in Iraq and Syria, not only breaking his election promises, but violating international law, and thereby committing what are under international law, nothing less than war crimes. Yes, principled foreign policy indeed. Only now has this criminal and foolish behaviour and disastrous policy been halted – one point for which we can be glad in an otherwise dismal reign to date.

(And yes, it is a reign, when 40% of the popular vote can give you 100% of the power in government, and a four year coronation.)

And finally, Justin Trudeau promised to bring in proportional representation, to fix our quasi-democratic electoral system, and bring it into the 21st century, or even the 20th. So far, we have seen no action on this critical issue of democracy, and another Trudeau promise goes either broken, or simply ignored and abandoned.

Those were just election promises, right? Nobody takes those seriously. Well, clearly they shouldn’t when it is either the Liberal or Conservative Party in question.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth May, the only political leader in the country at the federal level who deserves to be called a leader, or who has any clue as to what is going on, apparently, or any spine, or integrity, or vision to bring to bear on the issues we face, is largely ignored by both the media and the people.

Are Canadians clueless, or are we simply a people that cannot seem to shake off a long tradition of public apathy? I think the latter is the case, and I do not know what will rouse them from their slumber, or bring them to their senses.

During the recent federal election, there was a wave of political passion across the country – which is to say, as passionate as Canadians get about anything other than hockey, beer and Tim Horton’s – as we the people decided to remove a much reviled Conservative government from power. Then we all went back to sleep. Or at least the majority seem to have returned to slumber land. What does it take to get Canadians to shake off their long-standing habit of apathy and complacency? I truly do not know.

JTR,
March 2, 2016

 

Climate Change Deniers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 24, 2015 by jtoddring

The scientific community is in near unanimous agreement on the issue of human-caused climate change: so much so, that there is not a single serious scientific journal which will now publish a paper denying human-caused climate change, since it is viewed by the scientific community that the debate is over, considering the mountain of evidence – just as we no longer have articles published in serious scientific journals stating that Copernicus was wrong, or that the earth is indeed flat. There are a handful of scientists who claim that human-caused climate change is a hoax, but virtually all of them have been shown to be on the payroll of Exxon-Mobil or some other fossil fuel company.

And here is a good question to ask ourselves: whose opinion do I respect more: that of Stephen Hawking, Greenpeace and David Suzuki, and the 99% of world scientists, along with every serious scientific journal, or the handful of climate change deniers – who only form a slim majority of the populace in the most heavily propagandized nation on earth: the United States, where six corporations control 80% of the media.

There is no majority rule for truth. Truth is truth even when the truth is unpopular, and even when the majority believe otherwise. But in this case, the evidence seems abundantly clear, and both the majority of people world-wide, as well as the overwhelming majority of scientists, now realize it, and are agreed: climate change is real, it is happening now, it is the single greatest threat to humankind, and, if left unchecked, will likely cause the extinction of our species by as early as 2050: and human activity – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – is the major cause.

Even if there is some slight chance that 99% of the world’s scientists are wrong, then we should still take the precautionary principle, and move away from burning fossil fuels, and toward renewable energy. If we were wrong, then we will have eliminated the primary source of smog and air pollution, so this would be a good thing in any case; and if we are right, then we will have averted a global cataclysm, and have effectively dealt with what Stephen Hawking has called the single greatest threat to humankind, absolutely dwarfing terrorism, for example.

Canada’s leading environmentalist, scientist and geneticist David Suzuki, the person voted by Canadians in a recent poll as the most trusted of Canadians, summed it up concisely:

“We could pretend global warming isn’t happening, or that humans aren’t a factor if it is. That would be crazy in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, but even if it weren’t, there would still be no reason to continue down the road we’re on. Energy is at the heart of modern society’s needs, but when the source is finite, it seems folly to be hell-bent on using it up in a few generations, leaving the problems of depletion and pollution to our children and grandchildren. The longer we delay implementing solutions to our energy challenges the more costly and difficult it will be when we have to face the inevitable.”

– David Suzuki, Climate Change Denial Has Nothing To Do With Science, or Skepticism, For That Matter, David Suzuki Foundation, Science Matters, March 12, 2012

In any case, action on climate change, and a shift from fossil fuels to clean, green, renewable energy, is not only the intelligent, and prudent path, but from all the evidence available, and everything that we know, the only ethical, or sane option.

J. Todd Ring,

September 23, 2015

%d bloggers like this: