Obama Focus On Environment – How About Canada?

By Mary Montserrat-Howlett

MONTREAL(RushPRnews)12/08/08–As the United States enters a new political era, now may not be the best time for Canada to trail behind on its global initiatives. In response to a tough environmental crisis and a shattered economy, the U.S. seems to have made the progressive decision to vote for a president who puts environmental issues at the front of the political platform, making sure it can also benefit employment and the economy.

But Canada didn’t seem to want to go for the similar proposition when it was put forth by Liberal leader, Stephane Dion. With Canada’s political parties scrambling amongst each other recently, the reality is that Canada is not making serious enough decisions about its environmental actions. Moreover, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s granted hiatus of Parliament, by Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean on Thursday, only prevents things from moving faster.

Renowned environmentalist, David Suzuki says in the Cnews article, Leadership will be crucial in the coming years, “Along with the U.S., Canada has been a laggard among industrialized nations on climate policy and action, and now it looks like we could soon be the worst of the dinosaurs.”

Suzuki mentions how the Swedes pay a carbon tax of about $150 a tonne. Meanwhile, British Columbians are “yelling and screaming over a $10 tax.”

But Canada’s low voter rate in the October 14 election only seemed to further confirm the country’s torn political views. Now, with the Liberals and the New Democrats forming a coalition, backed by the Bloc Quebecois, there is at least some hope the environment-issue may finally make its way to the top of the political agenda.

But this historical union, which literally sprung out of nowhere, has been received by Canadians with very mixed feelings. A strong majority of Western Canadians feel their vote and interests have been betrayed. Bloc supporters were in utter disbelief, claiming the Bloc has gotten soft on the sovereignty issue. Harper and the Conservative government were nothing short of infuriated.

Response to Canadians needs, or good old-fashioned coup d’état, one thing is for sure, and it’s that these parties want Harper out, and fast.

Montreal-based, Information Analyst, Andrew Morris says, “Canadians follow U.S. politics very closely. It doesn’t make sense for us to have a Neo-Conservative in power, standing next to Obama in the coming year. But it’s also strange to have three men do the job of one.”

Whether now is really the right time for Canada’s political parties to initiate radical decisions, is debateable. But perhaps it’s a sign that real changes needs to happen. The next few weeks may be very telling of Canada’s willingness to jump on board the environmental wagon with the U.S..

Suzuki claims that it will take more than Obama’s proposed targets to reduce greenhouse gas emission. But at least, he says, “It’s a reversal of the Bush administration’s attitude. [Barrack’s] promise to implement a cap and trade system is a good step. Economists and scientists agree that putting a price on carbon emissions, through cap and trade and carbon taxes, is essential to combating catastrophic global warming.”