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“Canada Not Just Exporting Dirty Oil Any More, We’re Also Exporting Dirty Policies”

2010/11/23

Canada is not just exporting dirty oil any more, we’re also exporting dirty policies.”

This disturbing statement was made by Graham Saul, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada, in light of a new report that shows that the Harper government is running a coordinated lobbying strategy to kill climate change policies in other countries. This strategy is being run out of the Department of Foreign Affairs, and some of the briefing material the government is using in key discussions is being drafted by the oil industry rather than the usual way, being prepared by more neutral civil servants. The province of Alberta is also actively involved in this nefarious activity in foreign countries. Saul went on to say:

We know that Prime Minister Harper has a do-nothing approach to climate change, but we are only now beginning to realize just how reckless this government actually is… Canadians want oil companies to clean up their act, they don’t want the government of Canada attacking the climate change policies in other countries in order to promote the short-term interests of oil companies. It begs the question “Who is the Prime Minister working for?”

If there was ever a year that the potential impacts of climate change are clearly on display,  this is it. We’ve seen unprecedented forest fires in Russia and floods in Pakistan. British Columbia has been forced to revisit its strategy for fighting forest  fires because of climate change. We’ve seen unprecented flash flooding in Atlantic Canada. Climate change is real, it’s urgent, and if we act now there’s an opportunity to avoid many of the worst impacts.

There are politicians and jurisdictions in this world which are trying to take action. Some of them are states and provinces, some of them are countries, some of them are regions such as  the European Union. These jurisdictions are developing policies designed to help humanity get out of the mess that we find ourselves in today. These polices are designed to help us changes course to build a better future and to avoid catastrophic impacts. What this report shows in that many cases the Harper government is trying to weaken these very policies. They are trying to pull the life preserver out of people’s hands.

The report looks at three documented cases in which the Harper Government and the government  of Alberta are working with the oil industry to weaken climate change policies. The three are California, federal government policy in the United States, and the European Union.  The report, Tar Sands’ Long Shadow: Canada’s Campaign to Kill Climate Change Policy Outside Our Borders, suggests that these examples are just the tip of the iceberg, as it shows the direct overlap between what the Harper government is saying about this issue, and what the oil industry says. In fact in many cases it looks like the oil industry is actually drafting government correspondence.

Is this what you want your federal government doing with your taxpayer’s dollars?  Are you, like me, shocked and appalled by the oil companies’ unhindered access and influence on the Harper Government? Join the Climate Action Network in asking Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada, “Will you publicly pledge to stop all efforts to undermine clean energy and climate change policy outside our borders?”

More links:

Government Accused of Lobbying Against Action on Climate Change

Canada Trying “To Kill” Global Warming

Tories Play Down Accusation of “Con Job” on Oil Sands

Canada accused of trying to kill US, EU clean fuel policies

Read Tar Sands’ Long Shadow: Canada’s Campaign to Kill Climate Policies Outside Our Borders

Listen to Climate Action Network Canada’s press conference


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