Yesterday, a group of 10 Canadian environmental groups gave Edmonton an award for "climate leadership". Why, oh why? When Edmonton's emissions have gone up from 13.2 million tonnes in 1990 to 18.3 million tonnes in 2008, an increase of 39 per cent, while the population only grew by 27 per cent. Why, when the city owned power company ignored protests and built a new coal fired power station?
Canadians just love giving each other awards. The environmental groups also gave awards to Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and Ontario. I don't suppose they'd actually achieved anything either.
Living here, I sometimes wonder whether if I just stand still for long enough someone will pin a medal on me*, or as Lord Moran the British ambassador to Canada put it more eloquently:
"Anyone who is even moderately good at what they do - in literature, the theatre, skiing, or whatever - tends to become a national figure, and anyone who stands out at all from the crowd tends to be praised to the skies and given the Order of Canada at once."
*I've already got a certificate signed by the mayor, a framed photo of myself shaking hands with a local dignitary and two t-shirts, and that's just for recycling.