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Electioneering during climate conference

Chris Carta | The Phoenix | Opinion | January 16th, 2006



Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
KELOWNA, B.C. (CUP) -- Well the federal campaign is off to a roaring start and the leaders are using every opportunity to try and garner support and manipulate the public into voting them into power. Nothing is safe—not even an international conference on climate change can escape electioneering.

This past December delegates from over 190 nations gathered in Montreal to discuss an issue that is of importance to every man, woman, child and animal on this planet, global warming. The Montreal conference had many good results: the delegates agreed to continue reducing carbon emissions well past the Kyoto Protocol's expiration date in 2012 and many nations that did not ratify Kyoto, like the USA and Australia, signed on too. But all this good news was overshadowed by the shameless electioneering of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

Taking advantage of his position as the host of this historic conference, Paul Martin decided to lambaste George W. Bush and the American people. He accused them of not having a global conscience, criticised them for not ratifying Kyoto in the first place, and implored them to make an effort to reduce emissions in the future. Strong words—but unfortunately they lack legitimacy.

Anyone gifted with any amount of critical thinking skills can see this for what it was—blatant vote pandering. Canadians want a leader who can stand up to the USA and any other nation that tries to take advantage of us and Paul Martin was taking the opportunity to prove how tough he is. By taking pot-shots at the Americans he was hoping to tap into the anti-American feelings that have been brewing for a while, fuelled by softwood-lumber and other trade disputes.

But it is reprehensible to beat up your friend simply to try and win other people over to your side.

If Paul had said these things back when the USA backed out of the Kyoto Protocol in the first place then he could be forgiven for saying them now. Since he didn't say it then, he can't really mean them, and if he doesn't really mean them, there is only one reason to say them: he wants people to think the Americans don't care as much as Canadians about climate change. The facts say differently however.

Over the past decade Canadian carbon emissions have increased by almost 25 per cent and American emissions by less than half that. Also, from 1998 to 2000 toxic emissions from Canadian plants and factories rose by 7 per cent while south of the border they reduced their emissions by 8 per cent over the same period.

As well, Ontario is the third worst polluting province/state in North America, right behind Texas and Ohio. Maybe if we keep increasing our emissions we'll finally get that top spot.

I fully expect that toxic emissions will reach a record high this month despite all the foul smoke being blown by Paul Martin and the rest of those liars in Ottawa.
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