Monday, July 1, 2019

Happy Canada Day?

When it comes to environmentally responsible governance Canada is both the best and the worst. On the one hand you have the Canadian federal Liberals who under the leadership of Justin Trudeau have passed the most progressive climate action plans the country has ever seen. However the same government has also bought a pipeline that will ferry some of the dirtiest, most carbon intensive energy in the world.  The policies of the ruling federal government are best described as an oxymoron.

Canada's energy picture is challenging to say the least. There are dramatic clean energy success stories alongside fossil fuel expansion efforts. In some respects Canada's Indigenous people are at the epicenter of Canada's energy confusion.

We have seen environmentally responsible governments fall across the country. Ontario and Alberta are currently governed by administrations that are eradicating climate action. This mirrors a trend that is unfolding around the world from Brazil to Australia. Canadians are pushing back against environmentally responsible governance.  While this may be a choice mired in ignorance it is commonly the way democracy works. Two steps forward, one step back. If we wait long enough people will embrace the reality of the climate crisis and support responsible efforts to address it. However, this realization may come too late to save us from ourselves.

Although conservative governments have a well-earned reputation for being anti-environment, this is not always the case. Theresa May's Conservative government in the UK recently passed zero emissions legislation. Canadian provincial governments also make this point. Conservative governments in both New Brunswick and Quebec support climate action and environmental protections. While a shift to the right does not always need be the road to ruin, the anti-environment stereotype definitely applies to Canada's federal conservatives.

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