By: Christine McFarlane
Why would anyone be surprised that the federal government has deliberately excluded data that indicates a 20 per cent increase in annual pollution from Canada’s oilsands industry in 2009 from a recent 567-page report on climate change? They were required to submit this Report to the United Nations, and left out pertinent data reflecting the real extent of pollution from the oilsands production in Canada.
The numbers that were acquired by PostMedia news on May 30, 2011 were left out of the report, a national inventory on Canada’s greenhouse pollution. It also revealed a six per cent drop in annual emissions from the entire economy from 2008 to 2009, but does not directly show the extent of pollution from the oilsands production, which is said to amount to being greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars driven on Canada’s roads.
The data also indicated that emissions per barrel of oil produced by the sector are increasing, despite claims made by the industry in an advertising campaign, and officials were unable to answer questions about who made the decision in government to exclude the numbers from the oilsands or provide a detailed explanation about changes in emissions.
I ask though, why would this information- the leaving out of pertinent data or government officials being unable to answer why this happened be of any surprise to anyone, considering that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government has been less than truthful about anything that they do.
Canadians do not seem to understand or want to grasp the idea that we are talking about a man who has prorogued Parliament, has been found in contempt of Parliament, hides the true cost of fighter jets for our military and oh yes! I forgot to mention the issue of the G20 bills and the violations that came along with that.
According to Clare Demerse, director of climate change at the Pembina Institute, an Alberta based environmental research group “the oilsands remain Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse pollution, and they’re the subject of a huge amount of attention and scrutiny in Canada and internationally,” and Demerse says ‘it’s very disappointing to see Environment Canada publish a 500 page report that leaves out these critical numbers-especially when last year’s edition included them.”
Environment Canada only provided the oilsands numbers in response to questions from Postmedia News after they were asked why the information had been omitted from its report after publishing more detailed data in previous years. Furthermore a department spokesman stated that “some” of the information was still available in the latest report, which still meets Canada’s reporting obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Critics have suggested that the Harper government is deliberately trying to delay international action to fight climate change, following revelations reported last fall by Postmedia News that it had set up a partnership with the Alberta government, industry and several federal departments to fight pollution-reduction policies from other countries that target the oilsands through lobbying and public relations.
On May 2, 2011, Canada had a chance to vote for change, to have Stephen Harper put out of office, but they did not take that opportunity and instead they voted him in again. There’s a saying “you get what you ask for,”
I strongly believe this is the case for those Canadians who voted Stephen Harper back into office. We are going to continuously be faced with a government that hides the truth, as long as Harper stays in office.