Just days after the Senate struck down Bill C-311, an Environics research poll conducted between October 27th and November 1st, and released this week, suggests the direction the Conservative Government is taking Canada is not the direction the majority of Canadians would like their country to go.
Key Results: (Source : Newswire.ca)
87% of Canadians strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “The root cause of climate change is too much focus on economic growth and consumerism. We need to have an economy that is in harmony with nature, which recognizes and respects the planet.”
85% of Canadians strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “Industrialized countries which have historically produced the most greenhouse gas emissions, should be the most responsible for reducing current emissions.”
83% of Canadians strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that: “The Canadian government should invest in green jobs and have transition programmes for workers and communities negatively affected by a shift away from reliance on fossil fuels.”
77% of Canadians strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “There should be a World Climate and Justice Tribunal to judge and penalize countries and corporations whose actions have contributed climate change and damaged the environment.”
71% of Canadians strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement: “The money spent on wars and the military would all be better spent on efforts that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the impacts of climate change.”
Anyone conscious of the direction the Conservative Government has taken over its five year reign can see how these results suggest conflict in priorities between Government and public.
This misalignment was a topic of concern at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and he Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Over 35,000 people attended the conference, including delegates from the organizations and unions that commissioned the Environics Research poll. In reaction to the poll results, Donald Lafleur, Vice-President of the Canadian Union of Postal works, stated that,
“In sharp contrast to the polling results, the Canadian government continues to justify its inaction on climate change by asserting its need to be in lock-step with Washington,”
Raul Burbano of the Toronto Bolivia Solidarity suggests that the Harper Government should realize its ideological distance from the Canadian population and, “undertake a national consultation on its climate policy,”
It’s clear the energy and climate change debate in Canada is becoming alarmingly conflicted, unorganized, and somewhat out of touch with reality.
This ideological divide was exemplified earlier this week at the Canadian Senate, where a snap vote struck down the NDP drafted Climate Change Accountibility act, which had already passed the house of commons earlier this year. The act intended to lower emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. NDP leader Jack Layton reacted to the defeat, stressing that,
“The Government has no plan going into a conference on the future of climate change…Canada will be one of the few, probably the only country, who has absolutely nothing. The only thing we had going for us was that the House of Commons had adopted the targets established by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientists of the United Nations, who represent the best thinking globally.”,
Layton was referring to next week’s United Nations climate change negotiations in Cancun, Mexico.
Marjory LeBreton, leader of the government in the Senate, said the bill should not have come as a surprise, stating that, “The government has always had on the record it didn’t support the bill”.
The Conservative Government, instead, intends to remain aligned with US President Barrack Obama’s goal of 15% lower emissions than 2005 levels by 2020.
When it comes to the environment, Canadian politics have gotten the country stuck in the mud. Between the Canadian Federal Government’s inexplicable inaction, the Ontario Government’s noble, but troubled, attempt at action (GEA), the increasingly lethargic tar sands debate, and the public dissatisfaction with all of this, Canada is losing its chance at becoming a pioneer of pragmatic and effective governmental environmentalism. Luckily, this recent poll suggests that, unlike its authorities, the Canadian population has a good understanding of what should be done in terms of combating climate change. With both Federal and Provincial elections on the horizon, Canadians will be strongly considering the environmental ideologies of political candidates when going to the voting booth. Hopefully, Canadian politicians will take note and get a head start on etching out potential energy policies that intend to get Canada out of the mud.Organizations involved in the poll include, KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Indigenous Environmental Network, Common Frontiers, Public Service Alliance of Canada and Toronto Bolivia Solidarity. The poll was conducted via a telephone survey, which included 1,000 Canadians. It has a Margin of error of +/- 3.10%, 19 times out of 20.
- Consumerism causes climate change: poll (cbc.ca)
- Tory senators kill climate bill. (thechronicleherald.ca)
- Ashamed, today, to be Canadian as Conservative-dominated Senate connives to kill Commons-passed climate bill (cleanbreak.ca)
- Monarchy Trumps Democracy: Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Unelected Senate Rejects Passed Climate Bill (desmogblog.com)
- Tory Senate overturns opposition bill for first time on climate change (theglobeandmail.com)