Monthly Archives: May 2006

Climate Crisis Smoke And Mirrors

Greens have sometimes drawn comparisons between those who argue against the science of climate change and those who argue that smoking is not that bad for you.

As it turns out, we’ve been painfully right. As in, they’re the same people. A recent issue of Vanity Fair exposed a global warming critic named Dr. Frederick Seitz for having also been paid by the tobacco industry to deny the links between smoking and cancer.

I bring this up because my buddy Andrew Frank just emailed me to let me know about another double-agent, Steven Milloy, who’s recently been quoted with some frequency by the National Post. Read Andrew’s clever and well-written take on the subject here, and heck, share the link with your friends too.


Canada has extended its military presence in Afghanistan until 2009. I’m not going to pretend that it was an easy decision for MPs to make. How do you do a cost-benefit analysis or calculate an ROI when human lives are the price? How do you pick the right side in a false dichotomy? That said, the decision was still the wrong one.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s lots of good work to do in Afghanistan. There are warlords to remove from power, democratic infrastructure to be built, and local citizens to be empowered. The two questions that remain are, 1) are we the best ones to do that, and 2) is that what we’ve been doing? The answer to both is no.

“No” to the first because we are trying to impose things that can only be facilitated at best. “No” to the second because the mission in Afghanistan was designed from the outset to hunt al-Qaeda and find bin Laden, not to nurture democracy or healing. It is a mission associated with the illegal holding and interrogation of prisoners. It is a mission associated with rendition. It is a mission linked with Guantanamo.

The other problem with taking on this mission, at this time, at this scale, is that we’re now completely maxed out. Yes to Afghanistan means no to Darfur, and anywhere else that needs our help in the next few years.

Finally, I shouldn’t even have to mention the way in which this vote was rushed through the house. Even if this were the right decision, it would have been made in the wrong way. I hate to admit this, but looking back I think I believed Harper when he said he was going to respect parliament and begin to move power out of the PMO and closer to us. At the very least I didn’t expect him to make things worse in that respect. My bad. Didn’t take him too long to start behaving like he has a majority.

100 Days of Harper ‘Tude

Today marked the Harper government’s 100th day in power. I wanted to put together a tear-jerking slow-motion thanks-for-the-memories-style video montage, but ran out of time. I’ll try and be more organized for day 200.

Instead, it looks like Harper’s team has decided to mark the occasion in their own way. There was no shortage of eye-catching news today, including:

  • Emerson admitted he’s given up on free trade
  • The government flat-out canceled EnerGuide
  • The government censored details regarding Dingwall’s resignation (the same details they’d demanded the Liberals release)

Also, I think you should know that we’re dangerously close to losing the banana. I’m not saying I can pin this one directly on Harper, but I will say this: when we lose bananas, we’re going to get angry (avoiding obvious pun), and we’re going to blame somebody. At least, I know I will. The PM’s PR people should start working on this one now.

Clean Water Is Not A Right: Canada

Do you believe that clean air is a human right? Clean water? Uncontaminated soil? Most of us do. That’s why you might be surprised to learn that your government does not.

“At both the 2nd World Water Forum at The Hague in 2000, and the 3rd World Water Forum in Kyoto in 2003, Canada refused to declare water as a human right. And in 2002, Canada was the only country to vote against a resolution by the UN Committee on Human Rights to appoint a Special Rapporteur to promote the right to water, stating, ‘Canada does not accept that there is a right to drinking water and sanitation.'” (source)

We don’t? Yikes. That can’t be. I’m sure it was a typo. We must have meant to say something like “Canada does not accept that many are without drinking water and sanitation.”

Hopefully someone can retype our statement pronto and clear up this silly misunderstanding.