Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Climate Change Report Delayed, While the Rain Continues to Fall

Late afternoon Thursday, July 24, and the Canadian government releases a troubling report on what climate change will do to the health of Canadians. There is some coverage on Friday—The Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail have stories, so do the television networks—but there are no questions about it in the House of Commons, of course, because the Parliament is not sitting. Nor, is there much comment or action from environmental groups or editorial writers. It is, after, all the middle of the summer, during the construction holiday in Quebec, and running up to the week before a long weekend in the rest of Canada when many people take time off.

Sataurday, August 2 torrential rains fall all across Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Elin and Emmanuel's street on the east end of Montreal island is flooded when 33 mm (more than two inches) fall in ten minutes--it's only the second time in 27 years that there's been a problem, says their landlord. Inondations sweep across Gaspé, New Brunswick, and up to the North Shore of the St. Lawrence.

This morning Le Devoir reports that climate change and health experts charge that the report was ready last spring, and say that it was deliberately withheld until the summer doldrums to avoid comment. This is nothing new with the current Conservative government: holding off until the worst possible moment to release news it doesn’t want out has become the way it operates. The tactic is a corollary to the way it has spent much of the summer trotting its MPs around the country to rural fairs and urban festivals in order to make announcements of every little bit of money that has been allotted—no matter that frequently the announcement was already made months before.

It would be nice to think Stephen Harper and his gang won’t get away with it, that people will connect the dots and see just how disastrous this government is. That would be the silver lining to the rain clouds which have covered this part of the world so much this summer, and which several meterologist attribute to changes in weather patterns.

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