Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Canadians Really Care about the Environment, but Stephen Harper Doesn't Seem to Notice

Prime Minister Stephen Harper buried Kyoto yesterday in his Speech from the Throne, read by Governor General Michaëlle Jean at the opening of a new session of the Canadian Parliament. That was no surprise, but what was a surprise was the news from Statistics Canada’s third annual report on environmental sustainability indicators that, despite growing concern about the environment among Canadians, green house gas emissions, ozone (a component of smog) exposure, and presence of phosphorous in watercourses, aren’t getting much better.

Last month an Environmental Monitor poll said that 70 per cent of Canadians believe the country’s environmental rules are not strong enough, up from 41 per cent eleven years ago. Our governments, however, seem to be very slow in getting the message. Until they do, it appears it’s up environmental groups to translate that well-documented concern into action. One encouraging initiative: Equiterre, a Quebec-based group, has just announced teaming up nine schools and hospitals in the Montreal area with six farms in order to furnish their cafeterias and meal programs with local produce. The fruits and vegetables will only be available during the growing season—although root crops like potatoes and onions may be in stock for part of the winter—but the move is a step in the right direction.

This kind of contractual arrangement should be a win-win situation for farmers and for the institutions. Food produced locally doesn’t require big expenditures of energy for transportation, and it usually tastes better.

1 comment:

Kyle said...

It should read: Harper doesn't care. It's about ideology to him. He beleives the government should be hands off on a policy that would have some effect on business and may effect cash flow. It's also about playing to his base of support, aka Alberta, where the oil reserves would be the first to be effected by any real environmental legislation.