Sunday, January 3, 2010

Canada - Champions of the Environment

If you want to read something ridiculous, look at the site of Expo 17, a world's fair Canada is planning to celebrate its 150th birthday. The theme is "social and environmental sustainability". This is the equivalent of apartheid South Africa holding an international multicultural festival with the theme of "one colour under the skin", or present day Zimbabwe hosting a celebration of liberal democracy.

Edmonton, the Alberta's capital, and the Sodom of global warming to Calgary's Gomorrah, has made a bid to host the fair. The city's theme is "Energy in Harmony with the Planet". According to Kevin Taft, an, (apparently delusional), local Liberal politician, Edmonton could become "a leader in the post-Copenhagen low-carbon economy".

I'm possibly being unfair to Mr Taft, who is an honest and hardworking MLA, who spent four years in the dispiriting role of leader of Alberta's official opposition. My own position here is as a lily of the field, I reap not neither do I spin. I contribute nothing to this city, but I sit on the sidelines making sarky comments while I wait (impatiently) for my husband to retire, so we can get the heck out of here. So, I should spare some sympathy for the native liberals of Alberta who do not have the option of escape.

It is hard to sustain optimism if you are a liberal, progressive or environmentalist in Alberta. With a 1.5 degree warming now inevitable, agriculture on the prairies has no more future than Tuvalu, and as the conventional oil and gas dry up, Alberta's only other substantial natural resource is the tar-sands. The political status quo is just as depressing: the Progressive Conservatives hold 72 out of 83 seats in the legislative assembly and have held power since 1971. In these circumstances it is not surprising that Albertan liberals have a tendency to build castles in the air.

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