Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blame Canada

Copenhagen – December 11, 2009 - Canada continues to be the object of intense reflection at the global Climate Change talks taking place at Copenhagen. A day does not go by without a protest about the environmental effects of Canadian extraction of petroleum from the Oil Sands. Today about 60 Canadian First Nations members paraded through the talks chanting to aboriginal drums while carrying placards demanding an end to oil sands extraction.

These demonstrations have built on an ongoing problem caused by Canada’s failure to implement the Kyoto Protocol, despite its signature on the treaty. While most G8 countries failed to meet their Kyoto Protocol objectives, Canada alone is the only G8 country to have signed Kyoto but then entirely failed to carry out any of its provisions.

The reputation of Canadians in these talks has taken a serious beating. Across the conference, there has been widespread disdain for the Canadian position. Concerns about the Canadian failure to meet its obligations has been expressed by NGO bloggers and senior conference leaders alike. It is clear that Canada’s previously reputation for building international institutions has been stained.

Canadians have often been able to feel good abroad based on their international reputation. The Copenhagen talks mark the first time that Canadians have not been able to rely on that reputation. Indeed, in light of the Obama Administrations adoption of more climate-change friendly policies, the Canadians are now seen as the villains at the Copenhagen talks. One conference leader source stated that he simply could not understand how Canada could rehabilitate itself without a major and well-publicized volte face by Canadian Prime Minister Harper at the Copenhagen Climate Change talks next week.

Barry Appleton
National Director
Appleton Charitable Foundation

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