Oh Canada, the land of good intentions.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sailed into Ottawa on a big gust of idealism and good intentions. The man, who previously worked as a drama teacher, was essentially hailed a savior to Canada’s international image on the basis of these intentions. That, and for having good head of hair.
And so it was. In some ways, he’s done an okay job. He has created the most diverse Cabinet in Canada’s history and helped open many people’s eyes about the role of men in the fight for gender equality.
In terms of policy and follow-through however, the Trudeau government has been a pretty immense let-down. From electoral reform to legalizing marijuana, many across the country are perturbed about his lack of action. Instead of working to find practical, applicable solutions and instituting them quickly, he’s taking yet another cross-country tour under the guise of wanting to “reconnect” with Canadians.
We told you what we want Trudeau, now is the time to deliver.
In terms of the environment, he promised to be a climate champion; Canada certainly needed a more climate-progressive leader following the tyrannical dismantling of environmental protections, policy and research funding under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper, despite claiming that he made the preservation of our national environment “a top priority,” did near-irreparable damage to it.
But Trudeau, for all his promises, has been in no way the climate champion he promised or that we trusted he would be. Since taking office, Trudeau and his Environment and Climate Change Minister McKenna have boasted about their role in the “progressive” Paris Climate Agreement — a deal that will possibly curb global temperature rise at around 4 degrees Celsius.
That is allowing for far too much, according to many prominent climate scientists, including world-renowned NASA climate scientist James Hansen. Hansen has said of the deal:
“It is just worthless words. There is no action, just promises.”
Global emissions specialists have argued against the deal saying it is “too little, too late” and that the emission reductions outlined are “wholly insufficient.” Further, there is no tangible reason to believe that the Paris Climate Agreement will fair any better than the dead-in-the-ground-before-it-started Kyoto Protocol of 1997.
We live in a world where climate scientists like Hansen are muzzled thanks to leaders like Donald Trump (and Harper, let’s not forget he did that too). Hansen was arrested for taking part in an anti-pipeline protest outside the White House in 2013. Oh, and that pipeline he was protesting? The Keystone XL — which Trudeau has rubber-stamped and given the green light.
Despite this, the people of Canada believe that Justin Trudeau and his government are doing great things regarding mitigating climate change, and support his intentions. When asked whether or not Canadians supported the plan to institute new climate regulations, 48 percent identified support, while 17 percent claimed they somewhat support.
Certainly a large issue with these findings from Nanos Research is that Canadians weren’t permitted to describe what they mean by “support.” Perhaps we can continue to optimistically believe that people are claiming “support” but instead meaning that they support climate-change considerate policy — not that they necessarily believe that that’s what Trudeau is doing.
They did, however, acknowledge as a part of the survey that the majority of Canadians do not want Trudeau to fall back on climate issues to be “in step” with the climate-change denying, scientist-muzzling, oil-tycoon hiring Donald Trump.
Some might say in this situation: yay for little wins.
But I can’t pretend to be pleased with little wins anymore. I want a government who takes real action, who makes real change. A government that doesn’t burden it’s people with the cost of transitioning to renewable energy sources, or who allows provinces to privatize hydro costs and impose their own costs on carbon. I expect strong, equitable solutions on a national level — ones that don’t unfairly impact poor and working class families. I want multi-national corporations held responsible for their adverse impacts on our air, land, and water.
Feature Image via Twitter.