Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ignoring The Obvious


Stephen Harper has just completed his ninth tour of the North. These tours provide the prime minister with an opportunity to serve up warm rhetoric. On this occasion, Harper saved his most heated words for Vladimir Putin. But he said nothing about the North's increasingly warm atmosphere. Jeffrey Simpson writes:

Nowhere in Canada is the impact of climate change more increasingly evident than the North. And yet, the words “climate change” are never heard from Mr. Harper in the North, as if the idea they connote are so distasteful that he cannot bring himself to utter them.

Every summer, surrounded by the evidence of Northern climate change – melting ice, widening sea lanes, disruption of traditional hunting patterns, shifting tundra, increased sun reflection, changing weather patterns – the Prime Minister spends a week in the region without ever drawing attention to the impact and challenges of climate change.

Global warming doesn't fit into the prime minister's frame:

The surrealism of a Harper visit is like that of an explorer who lands in an unknown place, takes careful note in his diary of the animals, flora, fauna, rocks and trees but misses all the human inhabitants. Mr. Harper’s refusal even to speak the words “climate change” in the North cannot be from ignorance or inadvertence; it must be by design, like everything he does.

That design is evidently to draw as little attention as possible to an issue he has found uncomfortable since even before he became Prime Minister.

As an economist, Mr. Harper believes most measures to combat the problem of global warming will be too costly. As a Conservative politician, he believes no votes are to be gained by resolute action, given that so many of his core supporters are doubters and deniers of the reality of climate change. As an Albertan, he will protect the fossil fuel industries, and in particular bitumen oil, at all costs and by all means. As an international leader, he sees some other countries talking a better game than they play, and does not wish Canada to be made the fool by doing anything dramatic.

Mr. Harper is a man who sees what he wants to see and hears what he wants to hear -- as he ignores the obvious. It is truly remarkable that a man whose chief talent is ignoring the obvious is also Prime Minister of Canada.


Rural said...

Canada has been made the fool by him doing nothing but oppose those that are trying to to do something about climate change, Owen.

Owen Gray said...

We have been fools, Rural. And Mr.Harper knows it.

The Mound of Sound said...

Now that Harper has found a soul mate down under, he's less inclined than ever to mention much less do anything about climate change.

The Guardian recently catalogued the leadership of the major English-speaking countries - Britain, the U.S., Canada and Australia - as this bloc of climate change denialists that hold the power to thwart any meaningful, international action.

When the IPCC reports an "increasing likelihood" that we've already triggered "irreversible" as in runaway global warming people like Harper and Abbott probably consider themselves absolved - the "horse has left the barn already" mentality.

What is overlooked by those focused on the IPCC's assessment is the certainty that, even if climate change has become irreversible, we can still make it far worse than it need be by complacency to the excesses of the fossil fuelers and their pet pols like Harper.

Owen Gray said...

Doing nothing in the face of disaster is not just the definition of insanity, Mound. It also defines stupidity.

Imagine leaving a legacy of insanity and stupidity. It's right up there with Caligula making his horse a leader of men.

Lorne said...

While it may too early to tell if this will lead to anything,Owen, the Star reports that increasingly, the provincial premiers are of one mind when it comes to energy and climate change:

Owen Gray said...

I read that story, Lorne. The premiers have figured out that Harper plans to do nothing on the climate front.

So the ball is in their court.

b_nichol said...

I don't think it's fair to ascribe to Harper as having no plans to do anything on the climate front. He has no plans for the environment in general, the poor, unemployment, the widening inequality gap, veterans, the armed forces, higher education, missing and murdered first nations women, health care, homelessness, corporate tax avoidance, the democratic deficit and nearly everything else that CAPP doesn't take an interest in.
Just to be fair, of course.

Anonymous said...

What floored me was, Australia is fascist, Canada, New Zealand and Britain too. I guess that is why, Britain harbors Gordon Campbell and Nigel Wright.

We went to war for Britain, died for Britain. We sent millions of tons of food. Sent planes, tanks, ammo and tankers of oil. And, they support the fascist dictator Harper. None of them are worth, our young Canadian boys dying for.

The WW2 Veterans are taking a bus all across Canada, to protest Harper's attitude against all of our Veterans.

I plan on getting out there, to support our Veterans. Our Veterans are of more worth to decent Canadians, Harper is worth nothing.

This is our one and only planet. If we want to save this planets life from greed. Harper needs to be kicked, right off this planet.

Owen Gray said...

You're right, Anon. This is our one and only planet. We don't get any do overs.

Owen Gray said...

For Harper, b_nichol, governing is the art of doing nothing -- or undoing what others have done.