Monday, April 30, 2012

Reloaded: Your Corporatocracy At Work




Back there, I endeavored to illustrate how Big Business interests keep being embedded with our government's policy-making, going as far as dictating how laws are written - all thanks to compliant politicos and with the sole purpose of serving the interests of Big Business.

In addition, I've made much on APOV (one recent example here) of Prime Minister Harper's (and his government's) anti-science attitude, especially with regards to climate change scientific research and monitoring.

Here's where it all comes together, folks.

First, we have this little tidbit of news (emphasis added):
Cuts force Environment Canada to trim monitoring of emissions, water

Federal budget cuts at Environment Canada have forced the agency to scale back its monitoring and oversight of a program designed to help the mining industry meet emission standards.

In an email to employees sent April 23 and obtained by Postmedia News,
Environment Canada personnel were told that the Environmental Effects Monitoring Program, "will prioritize work based on risk" and "not always provide guidance on a facility-by-facility basis." The email also said that cuts will require the agency to cut some of its wastewater monitoring programs and water conservation efforts.

It's not clear how many jobs will be lost, but the government said the cuts will save about $3 million, eliminate duplication on water monitoring and
save money on a program that already has a high rate of compliance.

(...)


The Environmental Effects Monitoring Program, or EEM, has been around for 20 years and has helped the mining and pulp and paper industry meet federal environmental guidelines by being both a watchdog and an adviser.


The program was first introduced into the pulp and paper sector in 1992, then again 10 years later in 2002 to the mining industry.
The EEM's role was to ensure that industry wasn't affecting local waterways and fish habitat.

>Studies in the last four years from the office have shown that in the years since it was introduced, lower levels of toxicity were found in fish habitats. However, those studies still found reproductive issues in fish habitats, specifically the size of reproductive organs.


The Conservatives are cutting more than $5 billion in spending over the next three years. The cuts announced in the March budget mean that the EEM will see 20 per cent of its budget cut.

Now, let us hear the usual hypocritical, double-talking platitudes from Harper and his Harpies, trying to spin again a way out of their mendacity (emphasis added):

"This will not affect our ability to meet air pollution and GHG (greenhouse gas) targets," Environment Minister Peter Kent said in a statement. "This approach is aimed at implementing the broader federal regulatory reforms . . . and it will enable (Environment Canada) to focus its efforts on areas where the biggest effect can be achieved, and where lower-cost options, such as developing codes of practices, will not do enough."


"We will prioritize the program's work based on risks. We will also continue to help industry meet their regulatory obligations, but we will not always provide this guidance on a facility-by-facility basis," John Moffet, Environment Canada's director general for legislative and regulatory affairs, wrote in the email to employees.

(...)

Kent said the program will continue, albeit in a reduced capacity. "The same level of effort as was provided to establish the program is no longer needed now that the program is over a decade old and has widespread high levels of compliance," he said.

Ah, that good old tortuous logic whereby less is more, and what has been efficient is now "no longer required" (because, you know, there will never be again any need for such monitoring and oversight ... right?). And perish the thought of establishing/enforcing codes of practices and, you know, regulations.

As always - Harper and Co. talking the (mendacious) talk about the environment, yet never actually walking the walk. Here's some notes added in proof:

(...) remember this from our bullshitting Prime Douchebag of some three years ago?

"Canada won't meet its Kyoto targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but can be a world leader in battling climate change."
And what magnificent leadership we have provided so far (and even recently), eh?

Hence, I proclaim that "for too long we have heard your bullshit with regards to fighting climate change" - or, in other words: "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me; and fool me thrice ...?"

Case in point (only but a very small sample, by the way):

Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, four years ago, on the Clean Air Act. “After more than a decade of inaction on the environment by the previous government, Canada’s Clean Air Act is the first step in turning things around to protect the health of Canadians.”


Environment Minister John Baird, three years ago, on the Bali climate talks. “With the United States now signed on to this framework the results of this conference show progress and we see that as an important first step.”


Environment Minister Jim Prentice, last February, on the submission of Canada’s emission targets to the Copenhagen accord. “We took our first step down that road on Sunday, January 31, 2010.”


Environment Minister John Baird, this weekend, on the Cancun accord. “This represents the first step to a single, new legally binding agreement … A first step.”


Prime Minister Stephen Harper, last week, on the Copenhagen accord. “Mr. Speaker, the Copenhagen accord was only a first step.”

When always stuck at "first step", you go nowhere fast - eh?

In the meantime: Canada formally abandons Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Talk about "not affect(ing) our ability to meet air pollution and GHG (greenhouse gas) targets" ... indeed.

Then, let us move on to a second little tidbit of news, very much à propos (emphasis added):
Oil lobbyists approved Harper’s climate policy as ‘elegant’ approach

The federal government asked the oil and gas industry last fall to review its foreign climate change policies, which were then approved by lobbyists as “an elegant” approach, reveals newly-released correspondence.

The government was consulting the industry about European climate change legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels, according to an email exchange between senior bureaucrats at Natural Resources Canada.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, an oil and gas industry lobby group, is opposed to the European Fuel Quality Directive legislation, because it believes it unfairly discriminates against bitumen, the heavy oil derived from the oilsands sector, which the government describes as the “fastest growing source of (greenhouse gas) emissions in Canada.”

“I talked to (CAPP president) David Collyer about the possible Canadian position on the FQD that we discussed — everyone in same basket, at same level, until they prove otherwise,” wrote Mark Corey, an assistant deputy minister at Natural Resources Canada, in an internal email sent on Oct. 14, 2011. “He said his initial impression was that he liked it, but would confer and call me back.”

(...)

Corey wrote in the email, sent to his deputy minister, Serge Dupont, that (Natural Resources Minister Joe) Oliver’s position would be crafted with industry input, explaining that Collyer had also discussed the matter with the association’s vice-president of markets and oilsands, Greg Stringham.

“He said they liked the proposal a lot,” Corey wrote in the email, released through access to information legislation to Environmental Defence, a Toronto-based conservation group. “He termed it as an elegant solution that is worth pursuing.”

The email also said that Collyer would “quietly talk to a few more players,” and that another senior bureaucrat would then “write the position up so that it could be raised with the minister, if you are comfortable, as a possible position around which we could try to build support.”

Under pressure from Canadian lobbying, Europe recently agreed to perform an impact study, postponing its decision until 2013.

“Of course it’s regrettable that there’s a delay, we want to have this legislation in place as soon as possible,” the European Union’s ambassador to Canada, Matthias Brinkmann told reporters last week.

Brinkmann that the legislation was designed with a “science-based” approach to assess the climate footprint of fuels used for transportation and their feedstocks. Bitumen from the oilsands, which requires large amounts of energy, water and land in its production, ranked among the most polluting sources of fuel, based on a life-cycle analysis of its emissions.

But the European assessment ranked oil shale and coal converted to liquid fuel as more polluting sources of energy in its proposed legislation.

Travis Davies, a spokesman for CAPP, said it was normal for bureaucrats to consult with industry about information (...).

(...)

Although the government was warned by bureaucrats not to become “cheerleaders” for the oilpatch, three years ago, when it launched a lobbying and marketing strategy to defend the Canadian industry, federal officials have since allowed its efforts to evolve into a sophisticated campaign, funded by taxpayers, that has included special training on lobbying for diplomats, regular meetings with industry representatives, and outreach to “select” foreign media outlets.

“The federal government is supposed to represent the interests of Canadian citizens abroad, but it’s clear that the oil industry is now in the driver’s seat when it comes to our role on the world stage,” said Gillian McEachern, deputy campaign director at Environmental Defence. “This is another example of the erosion of Canada’s democracy at the hands of the tarsands lobby, which not only threatens Canada’s air, water and land but is actively trying to prevent good climate actions in other countries.”

Climate scientists and governments around the world have agreed that humans must rapidly slash greenhouse gas emissions, mainly produced through consumption of fossil fuels and deforestation, to avoid irreversible damage to life on Earth.

In December, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government announced that Canada would withdraw from the world’s only legally binding treaty on global warming, the Kyoto Protocol, to focus on negotiating a new binding treaty by 2015 that would come into force several years down the road.

Cue in yet again the usual hypocritical, double-talking platitudes from Harper and his Harpies, as well as from the lobbyists:
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver has championed the industry’s concerns, explaining that the oilsands are important to the Canadian economy as well as energy security, but only represent a fraction of global emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.

(...)

Travis Davies, a spokesman for CAPP, said it was normal for bureaucrats to consult with industry about information, and that this doesn’t “sugarcoat’ the fact that there is an environmental component to oil and gas production. He also said CAPP supports policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as long as they are science-based and reward transparency.

"Science-based", my own scientific ass - indeed.

Climate change denialism is anything but science-based - it is in fact nothing more that complete rejection of scientific evidence in favor of selfish corporate interests.

Conclusion: the anti-science policies of Prime Minister Harper and his government are not only dictated by their own religious interests but, especially in matters of the environment, all the more dictated as well by the mining/oil/resource industry - but what about the expert opinion of actual scientists? Pshah!

So, now we know why Harper and his Harpies have ever been happy at doing nothing about climate change ...

And never mind our health or that of our country's environment - as long as there's money to be made at the expense of it all.

Welcome to your Corporatocracy, eh?

Q.E.D. - yet again.

2 comments:

  1. Another stinging and accurate .. and excellently detailed tracking of current federal government behavior, to the extreme detriment of all things Canadian. Environment, citizens, reputation, pensions, science, common sense.. Its all a very bad joke or dream and we will wake up from the nightmare and everything will be OK .. NOT .. !

    Public opinion and related action in defense of Canada will not ignite without far more thunderous and scathing criticism from almost extinct mainstream media. I applaud those in mainstream media that try and succeed.. but we need more, far more. We need to harness the bright, alert and eloquent bloggers, commenters and advocates. Forest Ethics comes to mind, so does Alexandra Morton, the Galloping Beavers and Saskboys, the Pushed to The Left and dare I say it.. the anonymous .. and the Michael Harris's and the Terry Glavin's .. the Raif's ..

    We need to spotlight failures, lies, incompetence, patronage, imaginary friends, racism.. and hammer, hammer hammer out the truth.. in every media we can bring to bear, poetry, music, writing, art, film, video, animation.. hell, haiku !

    We need to put dead fish on Joe Oliver and Keith Hadfield's front lawns.. dead fish are as good fertilizer as their bullshit. Put a leash on John Baird, wake up Peter Kent or find out who has taken over his body. Turf the likes of Poliviere and Clement and sleepy Rob Anders et al. We need to maintain public charts that prove the links between petro executives, think tanks, donations and politicians. We need to boycott Harper's book on hockey.. yet another strategic posturing pose and ego trip..

    Most of all we have to identify and celebrate our exemplars and unknown heroes and how they reflect our values and beliefs and our country. We need our heroes.. and we will not find them in the political mythology, misdeeds, and mysticism of this dangerous sellout government.. that outsources electoral services to dubious American technogeeks

    This land does not belong to a conniving political party. This land is not a distorted economic or ideological test area. Canada certainly is not to be held hostage by loud, overbearing zealots. Anyone who has had any hand in electoral fraud needs to be barred from public office or governance and jailed if so deserved. This is looking more and more like the greatest case of Identity Theft in history.. Canada's image and reputation hijacked !
    The country driven off by thieves. We need to recover the country.. punish the perps and eliminate loopholes and carelessness that allowed this to happen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All I can reply to this is ... hear, hear!!!

      Delete

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