If the recent frufrah over NDP candidate Linda McQuaig's comment that "a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground" is indicative of anything, it's that Canada's election cycle is in full spin. May all reasonableness and sensible dialogue and accountability be damned. Perhaps that's the blunt and singular reason behind the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper's outrage at McQuaig's entirely non-contentious assertion that, because of our international commitments to curtail global climate change, Canada won't exploit the entirety of its oil reserves.
People don't like paying their taxes in part because the connection between what we pay and the goods and services we receive has been broken. Add to that a massive shift toward a consumer society in which people derive a lot of social standing from what they consume and it's an uphill battle for taxes.
At the premiers' climate summit last week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall brought up a statistic that has received a fair amount of attention lately: Canada's emissions account for fewer than two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. He's not wrong, but Canada is also a heavy emitter per capita.
A report released today by the University of Victoria's Environmental Law Centre calls for sweeping reform of Canadian charitable law in line with other jurisdictions such as the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and England. Current rules around "political activity" are confusing and create an "intolerable state of uncertainty," the report says.
Unfortunately, when it comes to CSIS, Canadians can expect very little transparency, a cause for additional concern when you recall Harper eliminated the position of the CSIS watchdog in 2012. The only overview of CSIS is handled by the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC), a body comprised of part-time appointees with limited resources that assess CSIS operations after-the-fact.
Fewer than one-in-ten post-secondary graduates find oil and gas industry associations credible and trustworthy when it comes to carbon emissions. That shouldn't come as a huge surprise given that industry associations like the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers have fought new greenhouse gas regulations and successfully lobbied to weaken Canada's environmental laws.
Canada's negotiators are working hard to sidestep the issue of the country's growing greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector while simultaneously keeping quiet about the oilsands as nations come up with their "intended nationally determined contributions" in the global climate agreement.