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because Canada is cold.

Even though we love our outdoor winter activities (hockey, skiing, snowshoeing, etc.), winter is tough, and the cold often makes life miserable enough that we'll just wistfully forget about those winter activities and accept the warmth. (Weird, That feels a lot like Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)

We're not going to suffer like the rest of the world, at least at not at first, so we're not going to put a lot of pressure on our politicians to stop the world from overheating. The rest of the world is going to have to do that. Yes, Canada has always thought of itself as a 'do the right thing' kind of country, and there's some merit to that, but in this case, we're not going to do anything, at least not soon enough.

Below the fold for why this is, in addition to 'it's cold here':

1. Even though the majority of Canadians think we should do something, and even though we think of ourselves as a 'do the right thing' nation, we're stuck with an antiquated voting system that makes it hard to exert pressure. Most Canadians are centre (currently Liberal) or left (currently NDP), while our government is very conservative. Our system is first-past-the-post and it allows Conservatives to maintain majority power with less than 40% of the vote, with only 50% of voters actually voting. This happens when the votes in a riding are split fairly evenly between Conservative, Liberal, and NDP, allowing the Conservative candidate to win with less than 40% of the vote. Meaning that many ridings where the majority of voters are not Conservative leaning get a Conservative MP as their representative.

2. Our leaders appear to be welcoming global warming. They certainly seem to be since they are working hard to promote Alberta Oil Sands, and working hard to NOT do anything to slow emissions. Those are facts. We don't know WHY they would be actively scuppering the fight against global warming. Speculatively: they actually believe the denier misinformation, possibly because they mostly hail from Alberta where the oil is. And, speculatively: large extractive industry companies (mining, oil, and gas) are going to get rich from all the resources that will get thawed out in our arctic. (I'd like to say that Canadians will get wealthy, but we'll just get jobs, the wealth will go to the corporations.) Our leaders are apparently ok with rest of the planet dying off.

So, it'll be a while before we elect a government with the fortitude to do the right thing and start spending money on renewable energy instead of on promoting Albert Oil Sands. And by a while, I mean at least 1 or 2 more terms, so by a while, I mean way too fucking late to save the planet.

I wish there was a plan for Canada to do something to help, but there isn't, so don't count on us for any.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for a realistic appraisal. (4+ / 0-)

    Even Canadians are forced to bow to the primacy of money.

    "I was a big supporter of waterboarding" - Dick Cheney 2/14/10

    by Bob Love on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 12:00:38 PM PST

    •  I had to get that off my chest (5+ / 0-)


      I don't want to be so pessimistic, but there's a good chance we'll be stuck with this government for 6 more years. They've a good chance of getting re-elected in 2 years, since we don't seem to care how anti-democratic they are and how much they lie about everything. At least the suburban voters who hand them the ridings that put them over the top don't seem to care.

      I have a lot of faith in the Canadian youth, that they'll bring change and progress to our country, but the climate will have been destroyed before they get a chance.

  •  Priority list for politicians (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock, Smoh, 207wickedgood

    U.S. or Canada, left or right:

    1. Money
    2. Money
    3. Money
    99. Money
    100. Everything else

    •  but the sad thing is (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HugoDog, Smoh, VClib, SCFrog, DawnN

      our Canadian politicians can't be blatantly bought off like your American ones. I can't see how our politicians get rich by promoting Oil Sands.

      They're doing it for ideological reasons, because they're so viciously anti-liberal. Which is kind of scarier when you think about it.

      The only self-interest that I see is that a richer more populous Alberta means more seats and more power for the Conservatives in Parliament, entrenching their majority. That's still a tenuous connection, and I don't want to give them credit for thinking that far ahead.

      •  How does the Wild Rose stand with this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and how much of a chance do they have of weakening the Alberta Conservative Party? (God help us all if Wild Rose get's any real power)

        These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

        by HugoDog on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 12:24:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wild Rose is a provincial party (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Smoh, VClib

          So they won't affect the make up of the national parliament, if you mean will they cause vote splitting on the right?

          And yes it will be bad for the climate if they gain power at the provincial level, but fortunately they didn't manage it during the last Alberta election.

          Federally, Alberta will remain almost entirely conservative for the foreseeable future. The other parties can win back seats in Ontario and BC however, so it's possible to punt the Cons back to a minority government next time. We Canucks can work on that.

          •  How much of a chance (0+ / 0-)

            is there that the NDP can have some influence on Canadian climate change policy?  I'm still amazed that they are the opposition party.

            These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people... -Abraham Lincoln

            by HugoDog on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 12:40:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  right now? pretty much none. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              HugoDog, Roadbed Guy

              and that's speaking as an NDP member.

              The Conservatives have been consistently anti-democratic in their usage of parliament. They don't give a shit about anyone else's opinions. They don't see the Liberals and NDP as loyal opposition, or as opponents, they see them as enemies to be destroyed. It's pretty close to a dictatorship of Stephen Harper.

              The only hope is that next election the NDP rises to the occasion wins some more seats and the Liberals get their shit together, and win back enough seats to force a minority government. And then hope to gain traction from there.

              But even then, in the last minority Parliament, the NDP got a bill passed to force the government to honour climate change commitments (Kyoto), and the Conservatives had it killed by the Senate. All Canadian senators are appointed by the PM, and Harper has been stacking it with cronies.

    •  One minor correction: (0+ / 0-)

      I can't speak for Canada, but America has no left anywhere near the levers of political power.  For Democrats and Republicans (moderate and extreme right, respectively) I agree completely.

      "If Mitt takes office, sooner or later, the Zomnies will come for all of us." -Joss Whedon

      by quillsinister on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:17:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Will they tale CA & FL refugees? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    artmanfromcanuckistan, Smoh
    •  good question. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      not sure though, our immigration policies are tough :-P

      seriously, we have a lot of land, water and mineral wealth, and no major cities vulnerable to sea level rise. I'm guessing a lot of people are going to try to move here.

      •  Major cities not vulnerable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if you don't consider Vancouver a major city, where a rising sea level puts the densely-populated city at rather high risk.

        Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

        by winsock on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 12:34:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Maybe I should revise (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          few major cities vulnerable to SLR.

          Vancouver is at sea level, but I seem to remember that the topography is fairly steep there, so while sea level rise will be costly, it won't necessarily be devastating like it would be for Bangladesh, Cairo, London, Miami, etc.

          Vancouver isn't in line for storm surges either, unlike many of the US east coast cities.

          I could be wrong about how much of Van is below 3m though. I should check that, but I don't think it'll defeat my argument.

          •  Yes, I agree (0+ / 0-)

            with adequate engineering and planning, while costly, it shouldn't be devastating.  But my point is, Vancouver is absolutely vulnerable to rising sea levels if action isn't taken to allay the threat.  Fortunately, it appears that the city will not sit idly by and does plan to do something about it.

            I guess I'm just concerned that our neighbors to the north may not be taking the implications of climate change any more seriously than many of us on the south side of the border.  And perhaps even less so.

            Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

            by winsock on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:38:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah? well that didn't stop the Vandals (2+ / 0-)

        Or the Magyars.  Or the Bulgars.  Or the Bantus.  Just a long list of peoples who were milling about until they found just the right spot to settle down.  Once the permafrost thaws out, there's going to be some prime farmland where there was once boreal forest and tundra.

        Forget the Outer Banks, the Churchill Riviera is where the hot new beach properties will be.

  •  well if so, its not for not caring (5+ / 0-)

  •  Exactly, that's what I've been saying (0+ / 0-)

    in diary after diary after diary to more or less complete apathy or worse.

    The solution here - like for drugs or anything else - is not to shut down the supply - that's essentially impossible.

    The solution is to shut down demand - but then we have to point fingers at ourselves instead of at you guys.  Which is pretty much just a reflex for us, based on what I call "the Celine Dion" problem amongst other things . . .   but in this one case strangely enough the problem is with us, not you!

    •  yes, we have to reduce our demand (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the fan man, Smoh

      if you mean energy demand that causes climate pollution, but personal action isn't going to cut it anymore, we have to have concerted political action, which is why I was writing about our political situation.

      Germany's solar revolution is an example of how political action makes a difference.

      •  That's all well and good - I personally (0+ / 0-)

        have a friend up there who covered her igloo with solar panels.

        But like you say, it's not enough.  And I wasn't suggesting the Dick Cheney-like "personal virtues" of conserving would do it.  Clearly there needs to be massive government intervention.  But again, to deal with the demand side, not the supply side.

  •  All people are going to notice when food becomes (3+ / 0-)

    unbearably expensive.  And that will be soon.  By the way, I love UID.

    Cats are better than therapy, and I'm a therapist.

    by Smoh on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 12:41:58 PM PST

  •  First Past the Post (2+ / 0-)

    I followed the referendum campaign in Ontario back in 2007, and was surprised how hapless the effort was.

    That said, I'm not convinced this is your problem.  

    [I]t is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! -- Gail Collins

    by mbayrob on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 01:16:38 PM PST

    •  yeah, that was hapless (0+ / 0-)

      first past the post is a big part of the problem. Previous governments and Prime Ministers constrained themselves by unspoken rules of conduct, but not this one.

      Previous PMs have been part of the consolidation of power, but this one, Stephen Harper has been very aggressive about using all the tools possible to make the Prime Minister's Office the holder of all power. His ministers are lapdogs who only spout party talking points.

      Our governments are not representative of the way the majority of Canadians think because we elect governments with less than 25% of eligible voters (36-39% of votes cast by 50-55% of voters who turn out), often because there's no point to voting if you already know which way your riding is going to go.

      If we had minority governments with multiple parties represented proportionately, the parties would have to pass legislation closer to the whole electorate, not just what plays to specific swing ridings.

      Full proportional representation would make all votes meaningful, and I'm sure would draw out a lot more voters.

      See this one, by a conservative editor who voted Liberal because of the Conservatives' level of deceit and ant-democratic behaviour:
      idea to reform voting system

      •  I used to live in Israel (0+ / 0-)

        and based on that experience, I wouldn't wish proportional rep on anybody.  At least, not on anybody I liked :-)

        Harper, by all accounts, likes to push the envelope as to what you can do in the Canadian system.  But if I had to guess, what Canada needs right now is less structural change than an effective opposition.  The Liberals look hapless to me.  The Greens (who I know a lot about) are not effective, or even very competent.  And the NDP  is not yet strong enough in enough parts of the country.

        i think the best way forward (speaking as an outsider, of course) would be an aggressive and slightly more inclusive NDP.  The Liberals make me think of the UK Liberal Party of 100 years ago -- past its prime, and ripe for collapse.  IIRC, the NDP is currently the "official" opposition in the House of Commons.  Now is a good time to start consolidating that and making that stick, getting the Liberals relegated to a "third party".

        [I]t is totally not true that Mitt Romney strapped Paul Ryan to the top of a car and drove him to Canada. Stop spreading rumors! -- Gail Collins

        by mbayrob on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 04:11:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  In the USA the existence of 3 viable parties (0+ / 0-)

      might just function in reverse - i.e., a "sane right" and a "crazy right" party might just let a somewhat progressive party get past the post a lot more often than is now the case.

  •  According to a recent Pentagon report, (2+ / 0-)

    one of the major challenges of climate change will be mass movements of people from areas hit the hardest to areas where the impact is felt less keenly.

    Do you honestly think you can protect yourselves from that?  I've worked with your military, and I've found them to be both consummate professionals and a bunch of cool people in general, but they are no more up to this challenge than anyone else is.

    I know, I know.  Trying to convince people how close the enemy is to the gates is the major hurdle.  Americans can't talk; we are actively part of the problem, after all.

    Good luck up there.

    "If Mitt takes office, sooner or later, the Zomnies will come for all of us." -Joss Whedon

    by quillsinister on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 03:37:17 PM PST

    •  I doubt we're up for holding off that many (0+ / 0-)

      Luckily we have a lot of ocean in the way and the hordes will be coming from the US, so we'll already be familiar with each other! ;)

      If I was writing a disaster screenplay, invading hordes of refugees would probably be something I'd try to include.

      •  Half of us would have moved up there (0+ / 0-)

        already if it wasn't for the cold. Once that goes, we're all yours! Lucky you.

        "The Democrats are the lesser evil and that has to count for something. Good and evil aren't binary states. All of us are both good and evil. Being less evil is the trajectory of morality." --SC

        by tb92 on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 07:18:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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