Our View: Leadership lacking at the top

what does it say to municipalities when top level of government is backing away from plans to be part of the global climate change solution?

Local governments, especially those in Saanich and Victoria, our two largest municipalities, are increasingly making efforts to reduce their environmental footprints, especially where it involves greenhouse gases.

Most have emission reduction targets in place that they are striving to hit by certain self-imposed deadlines.

So what does it say to those municipalities and individuals when the top level of government is backing away from plans to be part of the global climate change solution?

The Conservatives paid lip service to the problem when Environment Minister Peter Kent said Canada planned to “work toward a new international climate regime which will include all the major emitters.”

Rather than continuing in a leadership position in this critical time of international co-operation and broad acknowledgement of the effects of climate change, Canada is saying it doesn’t want to play ball unless the U.S. – by far the world’s largest polluter, although China is fast catching up – is on its team.

The U.S. has refused to join the Kyoto Protocol from Day 1 and continues to do so, for wholly protectionist reasons. That the Conservatives are choosing a similar path – their eyes remain sharply focused on the revenue-rich oil sands – shows more weakness than leadership.

The fact emerging superpower China assumed a leadership position at the recent international climate conference in Durban when Canada, No. 8 on the polluters list, so clearly distanced itself from one, clearly indicates we’re moving in the wrong direction.

The effects of climate change won’t get put on hold just because governments decide that for now, they must throw all their energies into economic recovery.

Sadly, this step backward in Canada’s efforts to be part of the solution could have the net effect of reducing the long-term economic prospects of future generations.

Ironically, the people making such decisions now likely won’t be around to witness the aftermath of their short-sighted choices.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: BC Children’s lottery offers luxury downtown Victoria home as a prize

The Choices Lotto has luxury homes across the province

Island teen climber seizes last opportunity to qualify in 2020 Olympic games

Brennan Doyle, 16, heads to L.A. for Pan American Climbing Championships

University of Victoria profs take home prestigious national teaching award

Brent Mainprize and Edōsdi–Judy Thompson recognized as a 2020 3M National Teaching Fellows

Alice Munro among Nobel Prize winners urging Trudeau to deny oilsands project

Alberta premier says Teck’s Frontier mine would create 7,500 jobs, $70 billion in government revenue

Victoria modular housing complex built to house homeless Indigenous women

Spa’Qun, or ‘Flower House’ will provide shelter and cultural support

VIDEO: Alleged shoplifter caught on camera at Sidney boutique

Staff at Cameron Rose Gifts seek the public’s help locating woman

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

UPDATE: Lockdown lifted at Nanaimo high school following threats

Nearby elementary school was in hold-and-secure

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read