O Canada Our Only Hope
by JAMES DELINGPOLE
January 12, 2012
I love Canada. I love Canadians. I like very much what their government is doing. I have great faith in their future. And if it weren't for their winters, I'd go and live there like a shot. Weird, huh?
Well it's certainly weird enough for those of us old enough to remember Canada in the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties when it was little more than an embarrassing liberal-lefty joke. Sure we still remembered the suffering and courage of those plucky Canucks from Vimy Ridge to Dieppe to the Low Countries, but that spirit appeared long since to have vanished under the noisome regime of Pierre Trudeau and his grisly communitarian successors. Canada was like a pale imitation of the US with all the worst aspects of European Socialism and political correctness tacked on to it.
But suddenly – sorry South Park – but Canada-is-cr*p jokes just aren't funny any more because they lack the key ingredient of truth.
And the truth is that right now, of all the great Western nations Canada is probably the only one left still standing up for the values that made the West great. What better evidence of this could there be than the glorious news that Stephen Harper's Conservative administration has declared war on the anti-growth, anti-energy, hair-shirt eco-loons who are trying to destroy the Canadian economy? (Mega H/T Benny Peiser at GWPF)
It is a cliché in journalism to declare metaphorical wars at the drop of a news release. In this case, it looks like war is exactly what Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver launched Monday in an unprecedented open letter warning that Canada will not allow “environmental and other radical groups” to “hijack our regulatory system to achieve their radical ideological agenda.”
“These groups,” said Mr. Oliver, “seek to exploit any loophole they can find, stacking public hearings with bodies to ensure that delays kill good projects. They use funding from foreign special interests to undermine Canada’s national economic interest. They attract jet-setting celebrities with some of the largest personal carbon footprints in the world to lecture Canadians not to develop our natural resources.”
The "foreign special interests" are the ones exposed by Vancouver investigative blogger Vivian Krause in articles like this – on how America's Tides Foundation has spent at least $6 million funding a propaganda war on Alberta's oil sands production – and this blog post.
According to my preliminary calculations, since 2000 USA foundations have poured $300 million into the environmental movement in Canada. The David Suzuki Foundation alone has been paid at least $10 million by American foundations over the past decade. Why are American foundations spending so much money in Canada instead of in their own country or in other countries around the world that are far more needy than Canada?
Actually I think the sinister-foreign-interests-trying-to-destroy-Canada angle is overdone. It's not Canada these green activists specifically want to ruin: it's Western industrial civilization generally. The only reason Canada may be attracting more flak than most at the moment is because of its courageous position on Kyoto (it wants to pull out), on fossil fuels (it has lots and wants to exploit them) and on economic growth (controversially among the current crop of Western administrations it considers it to be a desirable thing).
Now let us pause for moment and weep for America where sadly rather different attitudes to the environment and economic growth now obtain:
Oil and politics are a volatile mix for President Barack Obama, as he weighs whether to approve a pipeline to bring crude oil from Canada to Texas. On the merits, Obama should greenlight construction of the Keystone Pipeline. Our economy runs on oil. Given the political volatility in some oil-rich regions of the world, it's just common sense to help maximize the oil-producing capacity of our friend to the north.
But Obama tried to put off the issue until after the election. That's because to decide is to antagonize either labor unions, who want pipeline jobs, or environmentalists, who fear pollution and climate change.
“I am very serious about selling our oil off this continent, selling our energy products off to China,” said Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week. “I ran into several senior Americans, who all said, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll get Keystone done. You can sell all of your oil to us.’ I said, ‘Yeah we’d love to but the problem is now we're on a different track.’”
So now the battle lines are drawn. On one side are China, Brazil, India, Korea and the other emerging economies whose priority is growth – and, by extension, jobs, a higher standard of living and a future for their citizens. On the other are the moribund economies of the West – weighed down by regulation, hamstrung by activist pressure groups on issues ranging from equality and diversity to environmentalism and elf and safety* – whose slow demise will meant that for the first time in two centuries the latest generation is all but guaranteed to enjoy a worse standard of living than its parents. Canada, by joining the former, has chosen well for its children.
As I outline in my expose of environmentalism Watermelons, the green movement bears a huge amount of responsibility for our economic decline. Greens are not kind, they're not fluffy, and they're definitely not caring. At least not unless you're one of those ruddy, completely un-endangered polar bears.
*UK slang for Health and Safety regulations.