The Fulcrum (University of Ottawa)
OTTAWA (CUP) — Dear Mr. Harper, I’ve always been a big fan of your policies, and I can’t tell you how excited I was on May 2 when I watched the final numbers roll in and you gained a majority government. But it was on Dec. 11, 2011, that you won a very special place in my heart. It was on this day that your minister of the environment, Peter Kent, officially announced Canada would be the first country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. A decision like that is just pure Stephen Harper gold.
“The Kyoto Protocol has been holding back Canada’s economic growth for far too long,” I thought. “It’s about time the Conservative government dropped that ancient piece of emissions legislation like an arts student with a chemistry elective.”
Now, to educated folks like you and me, dropping the restrictive Kyoto Protocol is only logical. You can imagine my surprise, then, when a few of my friends didn’t view Kent’s announcement favourably. Fortunately, I took a civics class in grade 10, so I have a thorough understanding of international environmental legislation and was able to explain your decision to my confused friends.
First, I explained that the federal government has saved $14 billion by dropping out of the Kyoto Protocol, and in these times of economic austerity, breaking our country’s promise to the rest of the world is totally legit. If our federal government paid this ridiculous fine, that would mean an increase of almost 2.5 per cent to our country’s $563-billion national debt!
“I know that I’m certainly not willing to give up 2.5 per cent of my hard-earned cash to make good on a longstanding promise to the rest of the planet, and neither should Harper and our federal government,” I said.
Next, I argued that this whole Kyoto business always smelled a little too much of communism for my taste, and if there’s one thing Canadians ain’t, it’s a country of tree-hugging commies. Wealthy first-world countries cutting their emissions while poor, third-world countries are allowed to increase theirs? Sounds like some class warfare Marxist junk to me, and I’m certainly not having any of it. Capitalism for the win, am I right?
Oh yeah, I’m right.
I also noted the world’s largest emitters — China and the United States — never ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Everyone knows that until those countries ratify a climate change agreement, taking action in any way to limit Canada’s annual 540 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions is basically useless.
Lastly, I was able to recall that the federal government’s Kyoto decision came just two days after the end of an international summit on climate change in Durban, South Africa — a summit Kent attended. This obviously allowed Kent to gain all the relevant facts about climate change necessary to make his educated decision to ignore it.
After I finished my tirade, one of my friends told me that Canada has been mocked internationally for the decision to drop Kyoto, and that Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, stated on Dec. 14 that we are at a turning point in history due to worldwide political protests and climate change.
I mostly didn’t know how to reply to that, so I just yelled, “Yeah, tar sands!” and said the discussion was henceforth prorogued for three months or so while I focused on more important things. That worked pretty well, I think.
Anyway, I want to personally thank you for the federal government’s decision to drop the Kyoto Protocol, and I encourage you to never let facts get in the way of your opinion — and never let a promise get in the way of your wallet.
Graphic: Devin Beauregard/The Fulcrum