What is the most important problem facing Canada? When the annual Maclean's/CBC year-end poll asked that question, there was at least one clear answer: Not the environment; in fact, anything but the environment. Ranked by percentage of people who identified one subject or another, the top worry among Canadians is unemployment (15%), followed by government spending, the economy, health care, national unity, taxes, poverty, education and crime. At the bottom of the list, garnering only 2% support, is the environment.
The possibility that 98% of Canadians are not in a state of high anxiety over global warming, freaky weather, ozone depletion, pollution and scores of other Green scares must be a teeth-gritting irritation to environmentalists. They have, after all, spent decades fertilizing the idea that we are on the brink of environmental disaster. Ottawa and the provinces have spent billions on the campaign, which includes turning the weather into a propaganda tool and the school system into an indoctrination camp that begins in kindergarten.
The poll is a testament to the good sense of Canadians. Despite relentless scare-mongering by bureaucrats and activists, Canadians remain unwaveringly fixed on a national economic agenda of growth and prosperity rather than on fantastic claims of apocalypse. When David Suzuki says global warming 'is the most urgent slow-motion catastrophe facing humankind,' nobody is paying much attention.
Except our politicians. Backed by an army of bureaucrats and researchers, governments are systematically preparing to shut down the engines of economic progress in the name of environmentalism. In Canada, the heart of the stop-growth campaign is Environment Canada, where key bureaucrats dedicated to imposing an environmental agenda on the country have seized control. The focus of their effort is global warming and climate change, which they intend to use as a lever to impose what can only be described as a new economic order.
The politician nominally in charge of all this is Environment Minister Christine Stewart. Whether Ms. Stewart fully understands what's going on around her is unknown, but during a recent visit with the editorial board of the Calgary Herald she certainly demonstrated her conversion to the religion of global warming.
Ms. Stewart said that, 'as minister of the environment, I am very worried about global warming,' which for a politician isn't saying much. Politicians are habitually 'very worried' about one thing or another. The trouble starts when they use their power to fix problems they're worried about, even if the problems don't exist. Ms. Stewart said she's prepared to do exactly that. 'No matter if the science is all phony,' she said, 'there are collateral environmental benefits.'
Environment Canada, therefore, is prepared to act on global warming even if there's no such thing as global warming. On the strength of phony science, the federal government would still be willing to impose new taxes on energy consumption, cut economic growth, reduce our standard of living, and create bookshelves filled with new regulation governing most facets of the lives of Canadians.
In another statement quoted by the Herald, Ms. Stewart gave another reason for adopting the religion of global warming. 'Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.' Here she gets closer to the core motivation of some of the leading global warming activists. Where socialism's attempt at a global redistribution of wealth ended in economic catastrophe, global warming is being wheeled in as the next new economic crusade.
Consolidating Ms. Stewart's statements, we reach some horrific conclusions. Whether global warming actually exists is irrelevant. It is, in the hands of government and environmental activists, a convenient front for the introduction of programs and economic policies that Canadians - and most citizens of the world - would not otherwise accept.
Ms. Stewart, perhaps unintentionally, has identified the two key foundations of the global warming movement. One is based in environmentalism, which essentially claims that human beings are a problem in nature. The other foundation is the old business of economic redistribution. Both these movements are linked in the international climate change treaty Canada signed in Kyoto.
Environment Canada has already given up trying to examine the science. It never really tried. Instead, it spends hundreds of millions of dollars churning out propaganda on the hypothetical effects of global warming. Its latest reports include hundreds of studies warning of everything from spreading insect-borne disease to increasing forest fires.
The Maclean's poll shows Canadians aren't going along with the government or the claims of environmentalists. If they knew what Ms. Stewart has in store for jobs and living standards, and why, they might take a greater interest.
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