Connecting extreme weather events with climate change isn't exactly a new thing; from Hurricane Sandy to the California droughts, it's a conversation that goes hand in hand with every natural disaster, and it's usually handled in a reasonable fashion. So how did the climate conversation around the still-raging Fort McMurray wildfire that destroyed thousands of homes become so befuddling-ly messed up?
The Alberta government clearly has a reason for wanting to facilitate the export of more oil and gas via the proposed TransCanada Energy East and Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipelines. But the NDP committed in its election platform to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to "work with Alberta Indigenous Peoples to build a relationship of trust and ensure respectful consultation."
In a recent panel discussion, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna assured Albertans that the Liberal government would not risk damaging "national unity" by acting quickly on climate change. For some, her comment begs the question: when exactly will the Liberals be ready to start acting on their emissions reductions targets?
Raising the minimum wage, diversifying Alberta's economy and supporting working people have my full support, but I'm sorry Premier Notley, I just can't get behind you on pipelines. New pipelines aren't good for the environment, they aren't good for the climate, and I'm sorry, but they aren't good for working people or good governance, either.
With the December Paris climate agreement, leaders and experts from around the world showed they overwhelmingly accept that human-caused climate change is real and the need to curb emissions. In light of this, I don't get the current brouhaha over Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL, Northern Gateway or the Energy East pipelines.
Rather then talking about increasing the damage for short-term gain, Premier Wynne and Notley should be talking about how they can create jobs by collaborating on solutions. Solutions that keep carbon in the ground, create jobs, and that could benefit everyone from coast to coast to coast for generations to come. Let's make the discussion about creating good green jobs, healthy communities, and clean, renewable solutions that allow everyone to participate and benefit. It's time for Canada to build its clean energy dream not expand its tarsands nightmare.