Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is there Public Support for Canada's Position in Cancun?

Cancun, Mexico) - Although there is probably some support in Canada for our government’s position, it is absent here in Cancun except from some of the government representatives. Over the past 11 Days I have talked to many Canadians, all non-government representatives expressed disagreement and disappointment with the government’s position. People from other countries are surprised that this government survives considering the unpopularity of this position.

On Thursday Dec. 9 we attended a news conference put on by the Climate Action Network. Representatives from four of our federal political parties, the Assembly of First Nations and four NGO’s, spoke out against the Conservatives position at this conference. The following statements are from their websites:

Opposition parties are sending a clear message today. The attitude of the Canadian government here in Cancun is putting the architecture of the Kyoto Protocol at risk."– Bernard Bigras, Environment Critic, Bloc Quebecois MP

President Calderon has inspired enthusiasm for a strengthened and substantive Cancun agreement. Canada must stand with its North American partner and commit to binding greenhouse gas reductions in an extended Kyoto agreement and expedite the needed regulatory and fiscal measures.”– Linda Duncan, Environment Critic, New Democratic Party MP

For the last fifteen years, I’ve been a witness of the extraordinary leadership that our country had shown on many occasions, both under Conservative and Liberal governments. Now, I only witness the destructive role that Canada is playing by opposing to the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol. Today, we are at a crossroads. Canada can try to kill the only existing international treaty we have to face the most important challenge humanity as ever faced. Or, Canada can show leadership and act to protect the climate." – Steven Guilbeault, Deputy Director, Équiterre

Hundreds of thousands of Canadian workers are calling on the Harper government to hold onto Kyoto as THE legitimate foundation on which tobuild a fair, equitable and binding agreement."– Karen Hawley, National Representative for the NUPGE, the National Union of Public and General Employees.

The Kyoto process must be continued, ambitious targets have to be set and we have to lead, not follow — not the U.S. or any other country — in protecting our citizens and solving the practical world-wide challenge of climate change. Canada can and must do better.”– Gerard Kennedy, Environment Critic, Liberal Party MP

The position of the Canadian government does not represent the will of provinces, Parliament, or Canadians, and especially not of our generation. By obstructing the Kyoto process and failing to take ambitious action domestically, Canada is acting directly against the interests of all young Canadians.”– Maggie Knight, member of the Canadian Youth Delegation to COP16

Canada once was respected for international leadership. In 1988, we hosted the first global scientific climate conference. In 1992, we were the first industrialized country to ratify the framework convention. Action by Canada helped save the Kyoto Protocol when the Bush Administration tried to kill it. And in 2005, Canada's hosting of COP11 helped the world find the path to these negotiations. Tragically, since 2006, Canada has been laying roadside bombs on the road to a continued agreement. We have lost credibility and respect around the world.”– Elizabeth May, Leader, Federal Green Party of Canada, O.C.

Canada can do better in the areas mitigation and adaptation, both domestically and internationally. One only needs to look at the situation in northern areas of Canada to see negative impacts of climate change. We really need to work collectively in Canada to develop innovative programs to put our own house in order before making demands on developing nations. Only then can Canada work internationally to curb further releases of greenhouse gasses.”– Regional Chief Eric Morris, Assembly of First Nations

It's time for the federal government to get its head out of the sand and realize that it's offside with the country it claims to represent. Climate change is a non-partisan issue whose impacts are already being felt by people around the world. We've come together today to call for an end to this government's reckless, do-nothing approach.”– Graham Saul, Executive Director, Climate Action Network Canada

These statements from people that can speak for a majority of Canadians clearly show that our government is only representing the choice of a minority. Is this issue serious enough in the minds of Canadians to justify an election? Since how we deal with climate change is critical to the future of Canada and the entire world, it should be. If many more Canadians had the privilege that I have had here in Cancun, this government would not survive long. The vast amount of good science that has been presented here would convince most skeptics with an open mind. The question is how do we effectively communicate the seriousness and urgency of this issue?

With the conference now over, we need to digest the results to see what has really been achieved. The progress on dealing with deforestation and the climate change fund are cause for hope. A commitment to the second period for The Kyoto Protocol was not achieved. The protocol is still alive but on life support. That emissions have to be reduced is widely accepted but determining the reductions that each country will commit to is a long way off. In the comings weeks, the amount of real progress made in Cancun will become more clear.

Fred TwilleyNominated Green Party of Canada Candidate,Sudbury Riding

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