In order to retain power, anything goes

In order to retain power, anything goes

So far, two things that are bad for Canada stand out in the federal election campaign of 2015. Although climate change is the ‘elephant in the room,’ none of the three major parties are saying much about the impacts and what Canada must do about it.

Meanwhile, in the recent court case against Senator Mike Duffy, no one in the Conservative Party of Canada is questioning the leadership of Stephen Harper, in spite of the fact that he was obviously responsible for creating the culture of deceit enveloping the office of Prime Minister that is being revealed in court.

The Harper-led federal government has made it clear that climate change is not on its radar, and has gone so far as to deny the existence of the role of mankind in the warming of the planet that is taking place all too quickly. That said, the subject seems to be a non-starter for both the Liberals and NDP, as well. It is barely even being mentioned in their campaigns, at least so far. Unusual weather is costing millions of dollars – from flooding to lost crops and fighting wildfires across the country. There are predictions that the rising level of the oceans will be devastating.

Millions of dollars need to be dedicated to sophisticated modelling that will project impacts and determine what mitigating measures will be required once sea levels start to rise, but that is only the beginning.

Surely, studies must be done to determine the impact on coastal towns and cities, not to mention farmland and industrial installations that will be be hurt. Canada has the most extensive marine coastline on the planet. Millions of dollars need to be dedicated to sophisticated modelling that will predict impacts and determine what mitigating measures will be required, but that is only the beginning. Billions of dollars should be set aside for future remediation and relocation to cope with the predicted flooding. We are so short-sighted not to act on such things.

Both the Liberals and NDP have presented plans for carbon reduction through their respective “cap and trade program” (NDP) or “carbon pricing” (Liberals), but neither programs are proven and both would take a lot of refinement to be effective. Worse still, both parties speak of the need for such measures in isolation, unconnected to the many other aspects of climate change impacts. Meanwhile the Conservatives, who do not acknowledge any need for action, plus loathe any kind of tax, are going in the opposite direction by fostering the expansion of the oil and gas industry.

Finding a method to control corporate carbon emissions is but one aspect of the needed multi-faceted strategy on climate change, all of which should be laid out in the campaign platforms of all parties. The fact that they do not means they are ignoring the future effects of climate change, and that is simply stupid.

Such things, unfortunately, are the last thing on the minds of the ruling Conservatives as they wade through the quagmire of scandal at the worst possible time, watching their chances of re-election diminishing.

Of all the many criticisms of the Harper Conservatives, none is more damning than the web of deceit being revealed in the courtroom, woven by the Prime Minister’s Office in a blatant effort to mislead the Canadian public in order to retain power. What they did – have been doing and continue to do – is worse than the sins of the Liberals in the Sponsorship Scandal that allowed Harper to take over the reins of power in 2006. That scandal was all about paying out $2 million in contracts to companies that were Liberal ‘friends’ without proper tendering. Harper took over governing with the promise that corruption would be replaced by transparency and accountability, a government that could be trusted. Instead, the opposite happened.

Harper has to take responsibility for what has gone on under his watch. He is the boss. He hired or appointed the people, guided them, set down the rules and established the atmosphere in which all this is taking place. The abuse by Harper of the office of Prime Minister is unacceptable. He has led the Conservative party astray and must take full responsibility for that. The only honourable thing he can do at this point is resign.

What is most surprising is the absence of that discussion within the Conservative Party ranks. They have set aside not only fundamental conservative values, but morality and honour as well, just to retain power. Canadians and Conservatives deserve better. Harper has to go.

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