Obama and Harper dance to different music

Canada’s dead eyed Prime Minister wants to be seen linking arms with America’s new symbol of hope, but it’s only to hold back North America’s progress tackling Global Warming.

I will readily admit that I was one of the millions of Canadian’s that rejoiced when Barack Obama won the US Presidential election a couple of weeks ago. In stark contrast to the Canadian federal election only weeks before, hope and changed triumphed over fear and politics as usual. What truly gives me hope is that Obama’s election victory wasn’t tied to campaign contributions by big corporate donors, but to small donations by millions of Americans. “He who pays the piper calls the tune”.

Every aspect of Obama, from his background, to his looks, to what he says embodies change. As I sat with my friends watching the election results I couldn’t help but begin to contrast America’s new charismatic leader with our own dead eyed Prime Minister. Honestly, I could hardly imagine them in the same room. I knew I wouldn’t have to wait long to find out how the Canadian government would approach this new relationship.

The spin from the Canadian Government started the next day. Anyone wondering why Canada was being a global laggard when it came to tackling global warming was told that really we were waiting for George Bush’s departure so we could be part of a continent wide plan. Suddenly Stephen Harper was talking about an “integrated carbon market”.

So maybe change is coming to Ottawa too, but then again, maybe not. With Obama in the White House we can be pretty sure that a cap and trade system is coming to the US some time soon and Canada ultimately needs to get in on the action to protect its industry. So is our government going to suddenly start working to save our planet and push for tougher restrictions on carbon emission. Unlikely, if anything the opposite is true.

In reality the Canadian government will use its leverage to secure major concessions for one of the world’s largest sources of carbon emissions, the Alberta oil sands and weaken continent wide attempts to prevent global warming. How? By playing America’s energy security worries off against its climate change ambitions Harper is hoping that fear will again trump hope and we can return to politics as usual.

Why? Harper and the conservative’s are heavily backed by big oil in Alberta. “He who pays the piper calls the tune”.

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