25 August 2013

Why Canada's Prime Minister Prorogued Parliament This Time*

This week, I received a copy of Franke James's Banned on the Hill: A True Story about Dirty Oil and Government Censorship. It's an adult "graphic novel" styled book about Franke's experience as a Canadian artist whose work was going to be shown in a 20-city European solo show with financial support from our federal government. 

The key word there is was, because that government support was withdrawn and the tour was cancelled. But what's worse is that the pressure to cancel this artistic initiative seemed to come directly from the PMO (the Prime Minister's Office) because the message of her art didn't, you know, jibe with the Conservative government's take on the tar sands (which, in a word, sucks). Fortunately for us, and unfortunately for the PM and his O, Franke is not a quitter. Besides being an artist and a writer, she's also an environmental activist who deeply understands the climate crisis.

Now here is Not-Very-Prime Minister Harper proroguing parliament for the third time. According to the Globe and Mail:
"While Mr. Harper's uses of prorogation when he governed with a minority were controversial, majority governments often employ the procedure to signal a new legislative agenda. New sittings begin with a Speech from the Throne."
Here is what Franke doesn't know. I have it on good authority* that Stephen Harper's reason for proroguing the Canadian parliament this time is to figure out what his government is going to do to fight the climate change emergency.

Yes, Stephen Harper (according to my source*) has finally got it through his thick, er, primeministerly skull that continuing to pump 90 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day is not such a good idea after all. 
from Franke's book (used with permission)

He's finally recalling that he did indeed learn about the carbon cycle in school, and has acknowledged that methane, a potent greenhouse gas, is seeping into the atmosphere from thawing permafrost and destabilizing methane hydrates in the Arctic. 

He's at long last recognized the food security nightmare we're staring down as the Arctic's summer sea ice (the air conditioning for our growing season) disappears more and more in extent and/or volume each year.

My source* says that soon after his Throne Speech in mid-October, the Canadian Prime Minister is going to call on world leaders in government, business, religion, civil society and science to declare the climate change emergency and start the race to the zero-carbon economy. 

Reticence (aka, ahem, a flat-out refusal) to make that declaration is the only thing keeping us from launching (under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and through a UN Security Council motion) an all-out emergency response to the climate crisis and its impacts on billions of people — not to mention most other forms of life. 

So there it is! Another month or two and Prime Minister Stephen Harper will become a world-renowned global hero on climate change. All those Fossil of the Year awards that Canada has been winning? He will personally be returning them to the 2013 climate talks in Warsaw in November. 

I've got to say, I'm looking forward to once again being able to hold my head up high as a Canadian.

* Sadly, my source is my imagination.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's time to contact the Yes Men and get them to write up Mr. Harper's new Climate Hero agenda and announce it publicly. They're very good at drafting messages important people and entities SHOULD be proclaiming - which, if nothing else, gets the important people and entities to have to shuffle and claim that they're, er, not in fact going to do that praiseworthy thing.
    Be wonderful to hear the rumour your sources have begun to spread more widely!


I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?