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The 2015 Canadian Federal Election: One Parting Shot

"Harper gutted environmental regulations!" my NDP neighbour shouted. That was his parting shot in what turned out to be an acrimonious exchange.

So what? NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, like NDP Premier Rachel Notley, says that he favours the expansion and development of the oil sands project, and is "committed to getting it (the oil) to market". So what then is the benefit of restoring environmental regulations?

Lets assume that thanks to the NDP or the Liberals, tar sands oil will somehow be 'responsibly' extracted and 'delivered to market'. What then? What do buyers eventually do with the oil once they have bought it? Duh. No one will buy this oil unless they intend to burn it. It's the burning of the stuff that is most critical, isn't it? Isn't burning oil the major problem? I am sorry for ‘Harper-ing ‘on this point but no one seems to call out Mulcair (or Trudeau) for their ridiculous position on this issue. Mulcair and Trudeau are like the aspiring manager of a cigarette company who promises that, under his management, the company's cigarettes will be manufactured and delivered to cigarette smokers according to the toughest environmental standards.

"Harper muzzled scientists!". But would it make a difference to Mulcair or Trudeau if they were "un-muzzled"? The very fact that they are both prepared to 'develop and expand' the oil sands project is proof that they are not really listening to scientists anyway. What would un-muzzled scientists say that the global scientific community has not already said? Oh, but Trudeau promises to go to the next climate conference and make Canada "a leader in fighting climate change". So he is going to expand and develop the oil sands and assert Canada's leadership in fighting climate change at the same time? Now that is the very definition of a Liberal, isn't it? Someone whose feet are firmly planted on both sides of every issue.

Both Mulcair and Trudeau argue that they can better "grow the economy" than Harper. That's a selling point? Forgive me, but isn't economic growth killing biodiversity and rapidly depleting non-renewables? Oh, I forgot. "We can have economic growth and protect the environment too."

That, my friends, is THE BIG LIE that all of these parties peddle. Continuing conomic growth is neither desirable, necessary, nor physically possible going forward. "Sustainable growth" is the ultimate oxymoron. Infinite growth on a finite planet is IMPOSSIBLE.

It has never apparently occurred to the Harper-haters that making Harper the lightening rod for all is that is wrong with this country is chasing a decoy. When he is shown the door on Monday night, or soon after the new Parliament convenes, the fundamental policies that form the basis of our ruination will remain in place. Oils sands development and continuing economic growth----fuelled of course by unending population growth. The rest is all window dressing.

Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Tim Murray
October 17, 2015

PS My nominee for the most absurd speech of this campaign? Thomas Mulcair bragging about the fact that he came from a family of 10 children. That is like someone bragging that he came from a family that owned 10 Hummers. Many of us in retrospect feel morally culpable for having too many children. We love them but the planet doesn't. None of us are perfect. We all have environmental skeletons in the closet. But we don't have to trot them out and brag about them, do we? Especially if we are in a leadership position. If it is important to ring the alarm bells about climate change, it is also important to ring the alarm bells about the increasing number of climate-changers.

Does Mulcair know that there are over 7.3 billion people living on this planet right now? Hello? Has he ever taken a look at the World Population Clock? Does he care what time it is? Has he, or any of his "researchers", read the Murtagh/Schlax study out of the University of Oregon? Conclusion: Just in terms of carbon footprints, by having two children, a couple wipes out the environmental benefits of six major "green lifestyle changes" like driving a Prius, recycling your garbage, replacing light bulbs with CFLs, not taking a plane flight etc. BY A FACTOR OF FORTY! The authors pointed out that this could apply to other environmental impacts as well.

Population matters. Even Canada is, contrary to myth, OVERPOPULATED (cf. Science Council of Canada report number 25 and "Big, Cold and Full" by Dr. David Schindler and Dr. Madeline Weld). It is sad commentary on the pathetic state of environmental awareness that Green Party leader Elizabeth May is the ONLY politician in this election who has at least raised the subject. She didn't say much, but she said something.

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There's been a dramatic decline of halibut in the Bering Sea caused by over-fishing. The U.S.-Canada International Pacific Halibut Commission is considering shutting down the commercial hook-and-line Bering Sea halibut fishery, which would devastate native and non-native Alaskan fishermen in that area. Codfish had been successfully fished for five hundred years by low tech handliners until the 1980s when the Federal Government allowed huge ships with monster nets to trawl the seas until the cod were nearly commercially extinct. Now the population is so low they may never recover.
During the 1913 salmon run nearly 40 million salmon were killed in Puget Sound. Before European settlers showed up, local Indian Tribes didn’t have the technology to wipe out marine life.
Statistics show that over the last decade, more than 85% of the total volume of timber harvested for industrial use in Canada each year originates from provincial Crown lands.
Herring populations outside Juneau, Alaska, crashed in 1982 and have never come back. Prince William Sound herring collapsed in 1993. Washington State's largest herring population has declined 90 percent since 1973, and herring that used to live for ten years now rarely survive more than four. The southern Beaufort Sea polar bear subpopulation declined by approximately 40 percent between 2001 and 2010 from 1,500 to 900 bears. We know human activities have caused global wildlife populations to drop by over half in the last 40 years.
Birdsong that has graced the Earth for millions of years, and for all of human history, could soon be stilled in a human-made perfect-storm of negligence and unintended consequences. The common denominator is human interference in their way of life. From cats being allowed to roam free, to large glass-walled skyscrapers, human activity is to blame for much of the decline of these beautiful birds. Up to billion birds fall victim to high-rise buildings alone. Birds fly into the reflective windows and are killed or seriously injured.
Canada's population growth is the highest among the G8 countries. International migration has been Canada's main source of population growth since 1993, and currently represents two-thirds of the population growth.
Growing populations mean we are growing into environmental poverty, and destroying biodiversity. Economists only measure economic growth, without considering Nature, long term implications on natural resources and future generations.