As the mayhem of copenhagen continues, protestors and challengers of the status quo in Denmark and around the world continue to be depicted as "extremists" and "troublemakers". Few could resist cracking a smile yesterday, however, when the American (very) professional prankster outfit known as the Yes Men released a communiqué masquerading as the Canadian Ministry of the Environment saying that Canada had actually changed its positions and was ready to agree to what the majority of its citizens and the world wanted it to. When the hoax was revealed, the ministry had the double embarassment of explaining that it had successfully been impersonated and reiterating its own embarassing, polarizing position of essentially doing nothing on the climate change file.
But all laughs aside, they (the government) do have the last laugh over us (the people) because we cannot effectively make them change their mind. Attack them all you want (and I have been), you can be rest assured that the devil you know never admits its wrong and never backs down unless it absolutely has to. If they had it their way, they wouldn't even be at this conference. As it stands, the environment minister's delegation consists mainly of his PR people and Calgary petroleum executives. Even Obama's energy secretary, the Berkeley science prof Steven Chu, refused to be photographed with him.
Let us resist though, the too easy to fall into the central canada, east vs. west, virtuous and clean vs. dirty and selfish dynamic when talking like this. The National Post was correct in its editorial this morning saying that it's easy for Ontario and Quebec to score cool points on the world stage criticizing the government but they're happy to take equalization money from Alberta, not to mention areas where they are hardly green in certain areas themselves, like a three times delayed coal plant closure and terrible gridlock.
Dalton wants to appear like "Mr. Green" but the reality is he just wants to please everybody. That's why he's on the verge of wasting two majorities. Homes are no more efficient, traffic is worse than ever, a moribund dinosaur of a company (GM) in a dying industry has been propped up with public money, the "greenbelt" is being zeroes in on by developers, and aboriginals in remote places are fucked for their resources, just like everywhere else in our country. He's scared to frighten his middle-aged, upper middle class base who have the highest moral fibers in the world until they're asked to actually do anything. Our leaders are unavailable and their positions are wishy-washy, watered-down, hand-washing platitudes. If you are concerned about the environment, don't look to politicians to solve your problems.
Unfortunately, for those looking for a new alternative, the green party has been equally useless during this tumultous year of the game changing decade. And that is mostly due to its absent, weak leader. But more on that party and how to save it and turn it into a real alternative next time.