Canada is a proud nation but not a loud nation.
British newspaper salutes Canada . . . this is a good read. It is funny how it took someone in England to put it into words......
Salute to a brave and modest nation - Kevin Myers , 'The Sunday Telegraph' LONDON :
Until the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan , probably almost no one outside their home country had been aware that Canadian troops are deployed in the region.
And as always, Canada will bury its dead, just as the rest of the world, as always will forget its sacrifice, just as it always forgets nearly everything Canada ever does.. It seems that Canada's historic mission is to come to the selfless aid both of its friends and of complete strangers, and then, once the crisis is over, to be well and truly ignored.
Canada is the perpetual wallflower that stands on the edge of the hall, waiting for someone to come and ask her for a dance. A fire breaks out, she risks life and limb to rescue her fellow dance-goers, and suffers serious injuries. But when the hall is repaired and the dancing resumes, there is Canada, the wallflower still, while those she once helped glamorously cavort across the floor, blithely neglecting her yet again.
That is the price Canada pays for sharing the North American continent with the United States , and for being a selfless friend of Britain in two global conflicts.
For much of the 20th century, Canada was torn in two different directions: It seemed to be a part of the old world, yet had an address in the new one, and that divided identity ensured that it never fully got the gratitude it deserved.
Yet it's purely voluntary contribution to the cause of freedom in two world wars was perhaps the greatest of any democracy. Almost 10% of Canada 's entire population of seven million people served in the armed forces during the First World War, and nearly 60,000 died. The great Allied victories of 1918 were spearheaded by Canadian troops, perhaps the most capable soldiers in the entire British order of battle.
Canada was repaid for its enormous sacrifice by downright neglect, it's unique contribution to victory being absorbed into the popular memory as somehow or other the work of the 'British.'
The Second World War provided a re-run. The Canadian navy began the war with a half dozen vessels, and ended up policing nearly half of the Atlantic against U-boat attack. More than 120 Canadian warships participated in the Normandy landings, during which 15,000 Canadian soldiers went ashore on D-Day alone.
Canada finished the war with the third-largest navy and the fourth largest air force in the world. The world thanked Canada with the same sublime indifference as it had the previous time.
Canadian participation in the war was acknowledged in film only if it was necessary to give an American actor a part in a campaign in which the United States had clearly not participated - a touching scrupulousness which, of course, Hollywood has since abandoned, as it has any notion of a separate Canadian identity.
So it is a general rule that actors and filmmakers arriving in Hollywood keep their nationality - unless, that is, they are Canadian. Thus Mary Pickford, Walter Huston, Donald Sutherland, Michael J. Fox, William Shatner, Norman Jewison, David Cronenberg, Alex Trebek, Art Linkletter, Mike Weir and Dan Aykroyd have in the popular perception become American, and Christopher Plummer, British.
It is as if, in the very act of becoming famous, a Canadian ceases to be Canadian, unless she is Margaret Atwood, who is as unshakably Canadian as a moose, or Celine Dion, for whom Canada has proved quite unable to find any takers.
Moreover, Canada is every bit as querulously alert to the achievements of its sons and daughters as the rest of the world is completely unaware of them. The Canadians proudly say of themselves - and are unheard by anyone else - that 1% of the world's population has provided 10% of the world's peacekeeping forces.
Canadian soldiers in the past half century have been the greatest peacekeepers on Earth - in 39 missions on UN mandates, and six on non-UN peacekeeping duties, from Vietnam to East Timor, from Sinai to Bosnia.
Yet the only foreign engagement that has entered the popular non-Canadian imagination was the sorry affair in Somalia , in which out-of-control paratroopers murdered two Somali infiltrators. Their regiment was then disbanded in disgrace - a uniquely Canadian act of self-abasement for which, naturally, the Canadians received no international credit.
So who today in the United States knows about the stoic and selfless friendship its northern neighbor has given it in Afghanistan ?
Rather like Cyrano de Bergerac , Canada repeatedly does honourable things for honorable motives, but instead of being thanked for it, it remains something of a figure of fun. It is the Canadian way, for which Canadians should be proud, yet such honour comes at a high cost. This past year more grieving Canadian families knew that cost all too tragically well.
That's not to say we don't owe our ally America for everything it did to keep us in the war in the early and very perilous days of the war.
Quite right, well said
Worse case senerio - bring up WWII.
That has nothing to do today with climate change which is the most worring thing going on in the world.
Go ahead and say "Fucking" Americans.
Brits, Canadians, New Zealenders, Austrialans as central to power are responsible to fix the climate problem.
I see the French are the most responsive to climate change and the IPPC report.
Brexit - there are more important things to waist time on.
Did you see anyone say fuck America, I don't think so. I'm just stating the truth that Canada came into the war early and on their own fruition whereas America entered only after being attacked.
On both WW1 and WW11 Americans thorught it was a foreign war - as they were fighting the Mexican American war just before WW1.
Im sugessting the wars in the middle east - Syria, Yemen and even for that matter Afghanistan and Iraq are fundamentaly based on climate change.
I guess I say "fuck" America for not taking a lead on changing the way energy is produced.
The U.S. has done some great things - The Manhatan Project, The Marshal Plan in Europe, The Macarthur plan in Japan (Asia).
Technology is available to reduce carbon in the atmosphere - there is no political comitment to it.
I wonder - and think Americans are becoming lazy and lost the knowlegs of what is capable.
Ning - very slow. Saving-
If it's going to provide 15 minutes of editing - why doesn't it?
Sort of a piece of shit network.
I suppose it's better than Facebook though.
My favorite writer from Canada an almost anywhere is Naomi Klein.
I appologize for the tone of my post(s) towards your Mrs. B.
I meant to say Canadians should be more vocal and outraged about some of the things going on in Canadian and world politics. I don't mean to pick on you as an individual Mrs. B. Mea Culpa.
Here' a link some concerned about polutiing big corportions are able to get away with. Trudeau because of politics isn't able to do what he may like to.
I've been reeading that Donald Trump was elected President of the U.S. because the Democrat Hillary Clinton was too close to Wall Street and the petro chemical industry.
Thursday, November 29, 2018
DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dmitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News from Montreal, Canada.
In March 2018, an op-ed in the British newspaper the Guardian asked, can climate change litigation save the world? That proposition is about to be put to the test in the Canadian province of Quebec. This week, a Montreal law firm, Trudel Johnston & Lesperance, filed a massive class action against the government of Justin Trudeau alleging serious violations of constitutional rights arising from the Trudeau government’s failure to take necessary action to respond to the climate crisis.
The class action complaint begins with these words: What is the purpose of a government if not to protect the lives and safety of its citizens? The facts outlined in this proceeding reflect an intentional assault on the part of the Canadian government for more than 25 years regarding climate change and the impact of this fault on the lives of young Quebecers. The government of Canada has behaved irresponsibly, and has failed to take action to prevent a serious threat posed to its people by climate change. These failures constitute an infringement of its citizens fundamental rights, especially the right to life and security of the youngest generations. While recognising the urgency to act and the serious dangers posed by climate change, the Canadian government has done virtually nothing.
The plaintiff in this proposed class action is a nonprofit organization called Environment Jeunesse. Created In 1979, this organization is dedicated to environmental education. In the lawsuit, it seeks to act on behalf of approximately 3.5 million Quebecers who are 35 years old or younger. This case is the latest in a series of major climate change related lawsuits launched around the world. Further cases are underway in the United States, India, Uganda, the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Portugal, Norway, and Colombia.
Now here to discuss the Quebec litigation with us is Catherine Gauthier, executive director of Environment Jeunesse. Catherine has a master’s degree in international law and international policy. In 2005 at age 16 she addressed 10,000 delegates at the conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. She was invited to speak at the UN General Assembly two years later. And she joins us today from Montreal. Thank you for coming onto The Real News, Catherine.
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: Thanks for doing this.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: So Catherine, according to the complaint, Canada has contributed disproportionately to the climate crisis. Could you tell us more about the role historically that Canada has played in creating this crisis?
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: Historically, Canada has been emitting a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Actually, even if we ratified the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris agreement, our GHG emissions have been increasing significantly over the years. And today, as of 2018, we’re clearly not doing enough to reduce our emissions. And in doing so, Canada is violating our rights to a safe environment.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: Within weeks of his election in late 2015, after 10 years of a Stephen Harper government that was openly hostile to action on climate change, Justin Trudeau went to the UN climate conference in Paris and famously, or infamously, declared that Canada is back, that we’re here to help. And so impressive was his performance at the Paris climate conference that even the Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, who for years had criticized Canadian government inaction on climate change, declared in Paris that she was over the moon. About the position taken by the Trudeau government. What is the reality of how the Trudeau government has performed since its election in May 2015 when it comes to the climate crisis?
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: The situation in reality is totally different than what we’ve heard the Canadian government saying. Unfortunately, if Canada has been playing a leadership role in concluding the Paris agreement, we have not yet increased our ambitions in terms of what we should do to reduce our emissions. So in fact, Canada has still no plan to reduce our emissions. We don’t even have a target that is ambitious enough to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. So now are demanding more than words. We don’t and need more words, we need more concrete actions, and scientific results, as well.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: Now, I understand that the emissions reduction target adopted by the Trudeau government after the conclusion of the Paris climate accord is the same one. that had been adopted, at least officially adopted, by the Stephen Harper government, and that that emissions reduction target had been criticised by Justin Trudeau when he was in opposition. Let’s just talk about, let’s put aside the moment the inadequacy of the target, and just talk about whether or not the government is on track to achieve even that target, the target that Stephen Harper’s government set. Are we realistically going to do that, given the current trajectory?
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: Given the current trajectory and actions that have not been in been in place, we are not even able to respect that insufficient target. And even at the federal level we do have scientific reports that have been warning the Canadian government that we’re clearly not doing enough, and that we’re off track, this insufficient target. So there’s a huge gap in terms of what the science says we should be doing and what the reality is.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: And please talk to us about the recent effects of climate change in this jurisdiction in the province of Quebec. How are Quebecers feeling this crisis?
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: Last summer in Montreal and around, we have had a severe heat wave that killed 100 people, which was probably a defining moment in terms of realizing how severe the impacts of climate change could be. And we also have seen several floods in different regions of Quebec. Soil erosion, as well, where roads have been blown away after severe storms. So we are already experiencing climate change impacts, as well as new diseases, like the Lyme disease that we’ve been hearing a lot about.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: And finally, please tell us a little bit about the legal basis of the suit. Which legal rights does your organization say the Trudeau government is violating by failing to address the climate crisis?
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: The Canadian government is violating our right to life, to security, and to equality, as well. Because we talk about intergenerational equity, which means that future generations and actual generations should have an equal right to life and security. And but the Quebec charteralso provides new grounds in terms of legal actions, because it provides–it should ensure the right to a safe environment and to biodiversity to all its citizens. So there might be more tools that we can advocate for.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: Well, we’ve been speaking to Catherine Gauthier, the executive director of Environment Jeunesse, a plaintiff in a new massive climate change lawsuit launched in the province of Quebec. Thank you very much for joining us today, Catherine.
CATHERINE GAUTHIER: Thanks again.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: And this is Dimitri Lascaris reporting for The Real News.
This article and video should have more impact about Canda and the U.S. regarding the cost of externalities of polluters.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
DIMITRI LASCARIS: This is Dimitri Lascaris, reporting for The Real News Network from Montreal, Canada.
In January of this year, The Real News reported on the controversy surrounding Alberta’s toxic tar sands tailing ponds. As we reported at the time, Alberta’s oil industry has estimated the cost to clean up these massive tailings ponds at about $50 billion. But other experts have estimated the total cost to be far higher, and the Trudeau government seemed blissfully indifferent to the scale of the problem.
Now a tar sands scandal has erupted in Canada thanks to an unintentional leak by Alberta’s Energy Regulator. As reported by the National Observer earlier this month, Alberta’s Energy Regulator privately estimates the total cost of cleaning up the toxic tar sands tailing ponds to be as high as an eye-watering $260 billion, far higher than the estimate of $50 billion previously circulating. The official who delivered the new estimate is Rob Wadsworth, vice president of closure and liability for the Alberta Energy Regulator. He said that a “flawed system of industrial oversight is to blame for a problem that ultimately could leave taxpayers on the hook to cover a portion of the costs.”
What makes this revelation particularly disturbing is that the government has only collected $1.6 in liability security from oil companies, meaning that these massive cleanup costs are almost entirely unfunded and could well fall onto the shoulders of taxpayers long after oil companies have exploited these resources and distributed the profits to executives and shareholders.
Now back to discuss this with us as Regan Boychuk. Regan was appointed to the oil sands expert group advising the current government’s 2015 royalty review, and is the co-founder of Reclaiming Alberta’s Future Today, an organization raising awareness and advancing solutions to meet the enormous challenges of unfunded oilfield liabilities in Alberta. Thanks for coming back on The Real News, Regan.
REGAN BOYCHUK: Thanks for having me, Dimitri.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: Regan, before we take a look at this new and astonishing revelation, please tell us about the conclusions you had reached about the true cleanup costs before the public learned about the Alberta Energy Regulator’s internal estimate of those costs.
REGAN BOYCHUK: Well, it’s long been perfectly clear to anyone who’s looked into the issue that the Regulator has done a very poor job of holding the industry accountable to clean up aging and expired oilfield infrastructure in Alberta. All the experts and research that I’ve done on this issue in the last few years have all pointed to numbers that are in the same ballpark of the scale of what the Regulator internally concluded of at least $260 billion in cleanup, and that’s why Reclaim Alberta has been pushing to raise awareness about this critical issue, and pushing for reform while there’s still revenue coming from industry that would make it possible to start funding this desperately needed cleanup.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: And I know that you said at least $260 billion. In your view, based upon all the analysis you’ve done, how high do you think these costs could realistically go?
REGAN BOYCHUK: Well, I don’t think it’s very surprising that the very industry-friendly Energy Regulator in Alberta has come up with very conservative estimates. I have some additional data that Robert Wadsworth obtained for me that allowed me to do a further breakdown of these internal estimates that were revealed earlier this month and compare them to the only other publicly available cost estimates we have for this work for the Orphan Well Association. And the Regulator’s numbers are at least 40 percent below what it costs the Orphan Well Association to actually do this work. That gives an indication of how conservative this number is.
The presentation itself that was released through freedom of information requests said repeatedly that the number will go up once we learn more. There’s things that aren’t covered in this estimate. Once we get more information it will go higher. And all of the experts that I’m in contact with on these issues all put their estimates are rough, but they’re even bigger than the $260 billion.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: Now, has the energy regulator tried to walk back this number since the news broke? And if so, what is it now saying about the true cleanup costs?
REGAN BOYCHUK: Well, they did obviously try to take away any credibility from the released documents. But the press release they released is utterly absurd. Threw their own subject matter experts under the bus; completely distanced themselves from the seniormost officials’ analysis that was released in the presentation, and are doubling down on the old estimates that total less than $60 billion for the cleanup of all the oil sands, the conventional crude oil and natural gas industries and the coal industries. And those old estimates are in no way credible. They exclude little things like 400,000 kilometers of pipeline, and they pretend that nothing has ever been spilled or leaked in 100 years of energy development here in Alberta, so there’s nothing to clean up. Those numbers are in no way credible.
But the new estimates are far more realistic. Far more effort went into them. The Regulator’s own subject matter experts commissioned engineering studies to get a sense of the market cost of doing different sorts of work, and they’re much, much more credible and complete than these old estimates. But we are in a really absurd situation here in Alberta where the seniormost official on these issues in Alberta commissioned his own study amongst his own experts, and came to a very conservative conclusion that there was at least $200 billion more in cleanup liabilities that had previously been admitted or that are on any company’s balance sheets. And we’re in this absurd situation where that $200 billion in unfunded liabilities are hiding behind a press release from the Regulator, and everyone pretends they can’t see them. Everyone’s gone back to sleep. The issue’s closed. The Regulator distanced themself. That’s all. There was a report in the newspapers, a couple hundred words about their press release, dismissing the issue, and saying sorry for the confusion. Go back to sleep. The old numbers are certified. But this issue is much too big to be kept under the carpet.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: So this takes us, finally, to the reaction of the federal government, and also the provincial government in Alberta, the supposedly social democratic NDP government of Rachel Notley. Is there any indication that either the federal government of Justin Trudeau or Rachel Notley’s provincial government are going to take meaningful steps to at least close the gap between the security that has been obtained from the industry amounting to about $1.6 billion, and the amount of the liability, whatever it may be? Because even if you just accept the now-discredited number of the Alberta Energy Regulator of approximately $50-60 billion, the amount of security the government has attained is a tiny fraction of that. It’s well under 5 percent of that number. So it is–has this, at least, seemed to provoke either the provincial or the federal government into some action to close the gap between the liability and the security?
REGAN BOYCHUK: Well, there have been efforts underway for more than the last year, mostly as a result of the ominous Redwater Energy case that’s currently awaiting decision before the Supreme Court, where industry was allowed by Alberta courts to disown the cleanup. Anything that’s a mess, anything that’s contaminated, lenders can simply disown it in bankruptcy, liquidate everything of value for themselves, and there’s no money for cleanup. That has spurred some efforts amongst the government. Last year they had a liability management review bringing together stakeholders in industry, trying to come up with solutions to this issue. And I’m aware of some of the programs that are in development. Some have been announced. Some are still in development. But they’re waiting for the decision on Redwater, which is going to have a massive effect. If the Supreme Court affirms the Alberta court, regulators will simply not be able to hold industry accountable for its cleanup. And not just the oil and gas industry, and not just in Alberta, but every polluter will be able to walk away from their mess and leave it for someone else to worry about.
And so the Regulator has some minor programs. They don’t involve collecting a lot more in security. They involve setting very minimal standards for yearly reclamation. Every company will have to deal with a tiny percentage of its inactive inventory each year. But there’s a number of ways that’s gained in Alberta, and those reforms come under the premise that the Regulator has 50 years to start bending the curve on these issues; that the industry is going to be around and profitable for another 50 years, and they can just start chipping away at the edges in the meantime. But what they fail to appreciate is that outside of the oil sands in Alberta, the industry is no longer profitable. Hasn’t turned a profit in almost a decade. And it’s accumulated well over $100 billion in unfunded cleanup liabilities that create a crisis for the province. How is an insolvent, unprofitable industry going to fund the cleanup of a century of development?
And it’s those simple facts that the Regulator refuses to accept, and therefore the reforms in the works are far too small; not nearly urgent enough to deal with the scope and urgency of this crisis.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: Well, we’ve been speaking to Regan Boychuk about the new revelation of massive, previously undisclosed cleanup costs in Alberta’s oil industry. Thank you very much for talking to us today, Regan.
REGAN BOYCHUK: Thanks for having me.
DIMITRI LASCARIS: And this is Dimitri Lascaris reporting for The Real News.
For what it's worth I know some things about Candadians on Juno Beach during D-Day and other activities. Connadians continue on numerous military actions including in special forces.
The act of war isn't needed now for global safety and security. The Pentagon knew the danger of climate change and the instability it would cause from drought, food shortages, world conflict, mass migration and other problems back in the late 1980's.
Maybe a complaint I have is with Neville Chamberlns Munich Agreement.
Of course Canada, NZ and AZ were obligated to get in the war.
Not that the U.S. was any better with Imperialism - Taking land from indidgiounous 'Indians', Mexicans, or Spain. Since WWII the U.S. has been terrible regarding influencind foreign governments directly and indirectly. It continues today.
Many of us think we should had stayed the hell out of it.