Kick Canada out of the Commonwealth for climate change inaction, greenies urge

This just in:

Global coalition demands Canada's suspension from the Commonwealth on climate grounds

26 November 2009 – A coalition of prominent figures from the developing world have joined a former UK development minister, a UN scientist and British environment and development groups to demand the suspension of Canada from the commonwealth for its record on climate change.

The groups claim that Canada's lack of action on climate change is contributing to droughts, floods and sea level rises in small island states and vulnerable commonwealth countries such as Bangladesh, The Maldives and Mozambique. Canada's emissions have risen by 26.2% between 1990 and 2007. A recent report puts Canada at the bottom of the G8 league table for action to tackle climate change.

The Commonwealth allows for member countries to be suspended for Human Rights abuses, but ignores the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on some of the poorest countries in the world. This week, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Kamalesh Sharma said: "I would like to think that our definition of serious violations could embrace much more than it does now."

The organisation has acted before against members. It was a prominent opponent of the apartheid regime in South Africa, and suspended Nigeria for three years after the 1995 hanging of the activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Zimbabwe was suspended in 2002 and withdrew altogether a year later.

Canada's government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, continues to support for the extraction of oil from tar sands in northern Alberta, a process which scientists say is three times as damaging to the climate than extracting conventional oil (3).  

Reacting to the news, Greenpeace UK Executive Director John Sauven said:

"Individual countries are rightly suspended from the Commonwealth for human rights abuses, but the Canadian government is contributing to what is arguably the greatest human rights scandal of all time. Extracting millions of barrels of dirty oil from tar sands and abandoning the Kyoto treaty is not the behaviour of a responsible commonwealth member, and Canada should be suspended immediately."

Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow on Climate Change and a lead author of the IPCC fourth assessment report said:
"My country, Bangladesh, is already suffering the effects of climate change. Canada's complete failure to cut its emissions is making the global situation worse. If the Commonwealth is serious about holding its members to account, then threatening the lives of millions of people in developing countries should lead to the suspension of Canada's membership immediately." 

Former UK International Development Secretary Clare Short said:
"It is important that the Commonwealth works to reduce global warming, which will devastate many of its members. Countries that fail to help should be suspended from membership, as are those that breach human rights. A process should now begin to consider suspending Canada."

Tony Clarke, Director of the Polaris institute in Canada said:
"The Canadian government's ongoing support for the Alberta tar sands is giving Canada a black eye on the international stage," "Unless our Government is willing to stop blocking international climate negotiations through its continued support for the tar sands, Canada should get out of the way and stop sitting at the Commonwealth table".

 Deborah Doane, director of the World Development Movement, who is Canadian, said:
"I am deeply ashamed of the Canadian government's appalling record on climate change. Canada consumes far more than its fair share of carbon, and, like all rich nations, owes a debt to developing nations for the impact of its emissions on the climate. Canada's policy on tar sands extraction means than Canada's reputation as a leading global citizen promoting social and environmental justice is now completely tarnished.
"People in developing countries of the Commonwealth, like Bangladesh, are right to be angry that Canada is getting away with climate crimes that are destroying their homes and livelihoods. The Commonwealth should hold Canada to a higher standard, and not accept their stance from the sidelines. Just because they're not using arms, doesn't mean they're not causing harm on a grand scale."

7 thoughts on “Kick Canada out of the Commonwealth for climate change inaction, greenies urge”

  1. A few points on this post:
    1. If Canada's suspension from the Commonwealth means Canada is not going to be subject to extortion, forced to send money abroad to atone for our own progress and success, I say YES, let’s go for suspension! Maybe even withdrawal.
    2. Are there any membership fees to belong to this exclusive club? If Canada decides to leave this august body, we could save a few bucks to invest in our own backyard.
    3. Many Canadians are questioning the role of the monarchy in our country in this day and age. Maybe this is one way to finally cut the umbilical cord, like Ireland did when it passed the Republic of Ireland Act in 1949.
    I am more than comforted by these facts:
    a. Canada emits a mere 1.9% of total GHG emissions (2006 data), whereas the EU, often touted as achieving its GHG targets, emits 13.8% despite its 196 nuclear power plants which emit no CO2 – and Canada is 2.6 times bigger than the EU. Meanwhile, China produces 21.5 %, and the US 20.2 %. And we’re the guilty ones?
    IF Climate Change is indeed a global problem, it requires a global solution, so every country needs to get onboard, not just the developed countries.
    b. Although Canada has been the recipient of various Fossil Awards from dubious sources, this ranking, though not the number one position, is still respectable, IMO.
    Canada placed #12 in the 2008 Environmental Performance Index ahead of countries like Denmark at #26, the Emerald Isle at #35, the US at #39 and Australia at #46. Although Canada went from the #8 spot in 2006 to #12 in 2008, its actual score in 2008 was higher (86.6) that in 2006 (84).
    BTW, have you written any articles on the hacking of the CRU emails and “research”?
    “This past week, computer hackers or perhaps a “whistle-blower” insider released thousands of e-mail and other documents obtained from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in England. The email and internal reports show that data used to support the idea of man-made global warming and climate was falsified, manipulated; and scientific data that went contrary to the climate-change theory was covered up and suppressed.
    And while this story is breaking news around the world, certain political leaders in the Philippines are pushing for increased taxpayer funding of the Philippine Climate Change Act, a law based on a fraud. The US Congress is opening investigations about “ClimateGate”  and English newspapers are calling it the greatest scandal in modern science. … “
    I’d much rather read some Canadian articles on this story, but there don’t seem to be many. I wonder why?

  2. Is this a bit of smog to divert from the scandal of IPCC scientists who have been cooking the books, defaming climate skeptics, corrupting the peer review process, blackballing journals that publish work of climate skeptics, manipulating mainstream media, and protecting millions of dollars in grant money – just one scientist received US$22.6 million?
    Good for Alberta that you produce oil for the rest of the world using advanced technology to help improve the lives of millions. The Commonwealth needs us more than we need them.

  3. Yes, please do kick us out. I would personally love it if Canada left the CW. It's absolutely useless for Canada to be in it in the first place. Take all the ugly British faces off our money!!

  4. The comments to this post are a nice sample of the typical Canadian's viewpoint. I think we should hasten the decline – let's just allow the US to assimilate us officially, already. Why wait?
    I'm moving to Europe.

  5. Hey Mike,
    See ya buddy. We will miss you. Have fun in the dying continent. Low standard of living, high red tape, high crime and low security. Have fun with that 😀

  6. I dont mind the idea. Eliminate the monarchy in Canada, and by joining the US we can eliminate the New HST in Ontario. The fact many of the far left leaning members of our society would depart for the more liberal fields in Europe.. wow this plan just gets better and better!!

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