07/01/2011 08:09 EDT | Updated 08/31/2011 05:12 EDT

Canada a Hewer of Wood? That's Old Hat

Environmental Defence

This isn't just any old Canada Day.

This time we've got two of the world's biggest celebrities visiting, Prince William and Kate Middleton a.k.a Will and Kate. If only that tea party thing hadn't happened (the first one, not the latest strange reincarnation), they may be in New York or Houston today, but instead they are in Ottawa.

William was last in Canada 20 years ago when he was a boy. Returning this week with his new bride, he'll see some of the usual stuff people associate with a trip to Canada: a visit to the Calgary Stampede, a visit to Prince Edward Island to satisfy Kate's interest in Anne of Green Gables, and even taking in a street hockey game in Canada's North.

While those tried and true stereotypes still hold true, Canada has developed some new, not so nice traits since Will's last visit. These days, Canada is much more likely to be a shipper of oil than a hewer of wood, and with that has developed a petro-state approach to foreign relations.

So, to commemorate this visit, we commissioned several haute couture hats, the kind you see at royal events like Will and Kate's wedding, with a distinct Canadian twist. There's a hockey hat, of course, but also one we call "Tar and Feathers" -- an oily duck to mark the occasion of a flock of ducks landing, and dying on one of those massive tar sands tailings ponds.

There's an Anne of Green Gables, hat, but also one called "Pipeline Medusa" to mark the frenzy of pipleline building the tar sands industry wants to conduct -- including the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to the US -- to get the dirty oil to market.

And, there's one we called "Bully the Beaver" that sums up the new Canadian government attitude to the world - no longer a cute animal, but instead a nasty one that doesn't play well with others. Right now our government is lobbying hand in glove with the oil industry to push back climate measures both in DC and in the European Union.

We hope you'll check out the royal hats at and join in the action there writing to UK Under Secretary for Transport Norman Baker to resist Canada's lobbying in the EU.

Happy Canada Day, eh? We hope you'll grab a cold one too.