Canada’s Decline: Election Fraud & PetroState Politics
Wow. Where does a progressive Canadian climate blogger get started on this Monday morning? Political developments in this wonderful country have been snowballing into a bigger and bigger mess for the federal Conservative party, which has been ruling by decree rather than consensus ever since it gained a slight majority in last spring’s election. It turns out that the slim majority may indeed be illegitimate because the Cons have been implicated in a growing election fraud scandal. It turns out that in last spring’s election, in between 57 and 77 ridings (identified so far), there were so-called “robo-calls” that misdirected voters, claiming to be from Elections Canada, telling people incorrectly that their voting stations had been moved, often over great distances. That’s about 1 in 5 ridings that are implicated so far – huge! If it turns out that the Conservatives can be linked to this illegal activity, then the legitimacy of the entire election, and the current government, will be in question; in fact it already is.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other Conservatives have denied any wrongdoing. However, contrary to Stephen Harper’s statement in Parliament last week, more than a dozen Conservative MPs employed U.S.-based political telemarketing firms during the last federal election campaign. Mr. Harper claimed that the Liberals were the only party that used American calling firms. But in fact it isn’t the use of U.S. firms, or even robo-calling itself, that is at issue here; the problem is the “misinformation” (aka Lies) that these calls were being used to disseminate. It’s called election fraud; and if one looks at the evidence that it was Liberal, NDP, and Green supporters who were targeted by the calls, it seems like the answer to which party benefited from the calls is obvious. And more information is coming out about “in & out” irregularities similar to the one that the Conservatives were convicted of in the previous election (for which they received a slap-on-the-hand fine, while two of the Conservatives convicted were allowed to keep their Senate appointments).
However, Harper and his minions forge on with their far-right agenda. In terms of climate change and climate science, this means the closure of the Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Lab (PEARL) in Canada’s High Arctic. PEARL is a unique monitoring station situated at Eureka, 80 degrees north latitude, about 1,100 km from the Pole, one of only three stations in the world that keep track of activities in the atmosphere around the Pole. Just last year, this international network (the other two stations are in Denmark and Russia) found a record loss of ozone over the Arctic. Even the Russians, with their perilous economic and political situation, have not shut down their monitoring station; but this government, which is willing to squander $664 million hosting a week-long G20/G8 summit, can’t come up with the $1.5 million it takes to run PEARL every year. Pathetic.
The same government that can’t afford the less than $2 million to run a world-renowned research lab in the Canadian arctic turned down much more money from a charity that supports environmental causes eight months after the energy firm Enbridge Inc. lobbied against the deal, according to a Canadian Press report. The cancellation came almost a year after accepting the deal that would have seen an $8.3-million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a U.S.-based environmental trust, go towards funding consultations launched by the federal Fisheries department as part of the Pacific North Coast Integrated Management Area (PNCIMA). The money would have paid for scientific research and for gathering advice from stakeholders on balancing conservation with economic use of ocean waters on British Columbia’s north coast. There is evidence that Enbridge voiced concerns that the charitable groups involved would prejudice that process against the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. I guess Enbridge execs can sleep well at night now, after the Harper government scuttled the deal, against the advice of its own civil servants. It’s Canadians who are concerned about clean water, clean air, and a stable climate who will be staying up at night worrying about who is influencing these crucial decisions.
And if there was any doubt left in Canadians’ minds about who our current federal government represents, check out this letter from the Prime Minister’s Office (via RichardHughes.ca). It is more befitting an oil executive than a leader of our country. It was written in response to a Canadian who happens to be a former Assistant Deputy Minister of Environment and former Fish and Wildlife Branch Director, who had expressed his concern about the review process for the Northern Gateway Pipeline project. His name has been withheld at his request:
Apparently rampant environmental destruction and cultural genocide are acceptable economic policies for Canada in the 21st Century, and anyone who says otherwise is a radical and an enemy of Canada. As Mr. Hughes says, this letter should shock all Canadians.
While the Harperites fiddle, the planet burns. In the U.K., the Arctic Methane Emergency Group recently presented alarming information on the state of the permafrost and the Arctic ice sheet to the U.K Environment Audit Committee:
About half of the Arctic methane is held in or by ice below the seabed. This methane appears to be in a critical condition. As the sea ice disappears, the whole Arctic Ocean is heating more rapidly, leading to release of methane in ever larger quantities. Because of its greenhouse effect, this methane can then cause global warming to escalate out of control. Then it’s difficult to imagine how civilization could survive beyond a few decades.
The plausibility of such devastating methane release has long been recognized, although the sheer speed of events now evident has taken everybody by surprise and disbelief.
The emerging evidence indicates the conditions are developing to bring this nightmare scenario into reality. As a result of the sea ice retreating, the Arctic is now warming at least 4 times faster than other parts of the world, and with seabed temperatures rising as much as 3C, methane is being released in increasingly large quantities.
Go to Arctic News to listen to the whole session, and read the transcript.
Election fraud scandal:
Our election irregularities even made it into the New York Times: Canada: Agency Investigates Complaints of Mass Irregularities In 2011 Election
Harper Government’s Anti-Science, Anti-Environmentalist Agenda: