Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the greenest party of them all? Well, contrary to conventional belief, it certainly isn’t sitting on the opposition benches. (Actually it is not sitting in the Canadian House of Commons). Certainly if their policies affecting greenhouse gas emissions were the measure of green.
That’s right folks. The Green Coalition that strategic voters are trying to put together would, through their immigration policies, actually cause more climate change than the hated brown ogre of the Harper government.
Let’s examine the facts. In 2007 Captain Harper steamed the HMCS Titanic mindlessly at breakneck speed toward an ecological iceberg and stopped along the way to pick up 240,000 official passengers and another 189,000 residents of a more unofficial nature consisting of temporary visa holders and others who in fact do not leave. All told, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, 429,649 people entered the country last year and remained as residents to leave an environmental footprint.1 Not content with this torrid pace as the fastest vessel in the G8, his rivals in the Liberal, NDP and Green parties would throw even more coal into the furnace by increasing Canada’s immigration intake to 1% plus of its current population. That would be 330,000 people injected each year into our consumer culture, 90,000 more than the Conservatives. Since each Canadian, according to Statscan (April 22/08 report)3 emits 23 metric tonnes of GHG, that means that the opposition parties in effect want to dump an extra 2,070,000 metric tonnes of GHG into the atmosphere annually. They would propose to boost official immigration totals by 38% and in so doing increase the green house impact of immigration by the same amount.
But then it must be remembered that the Harper government allowed 189,000 people to slip by past the immigration gate as temporary visa holders, and other diverse categories like refugees and undocumented workers who never went home. So in tabulating the green coalition’s GHG bill, their baseline should not be 330,000 but 330,000 plus 189,000 ( the extras above the official quota who enter with temporary visas) equals 519,000 new GHG emitters for Canada every year. The Grand Total in Green Hypocrisy: 11,937,000 metric tonnes per year for Canada.
Now here is the 64 thousand dollar question. How much of the wicked Mr. Harper’s tar sands development does the opposition’s appalling immigration policy blind spot forgive? If we as a nation are adding nearly a half million consumers each year, doesn’t it stand to reason that we will force a government to look for energy solutions like this? Oh, do you think we are going to dot the landscape with windmills and solar panels?
It is ultimately not cars, factories or power plants that produce GHGs but the demand of a growing population for the transportation, products and the energy which those things provide. The Kolankiewicz study revealed that 88% of increased energy consumption in America from 1970 to 2004 came from increased population and not from per capita consumption increases. Population grew by 43% while GHG emissions grew by exactly the same amount.4 It is no accident that Canada, the country with the fasting growing population in the G8 group, is also the country with its fastest growing GHG emissions. It can’t be a coincidence that Canada had the fastest growing population in the G8 group and a dramatic rise in its GHG emissions of 25% between 1990 and 2005.5 You can’t have climate change without climate changers.
All of this is not, of course, not to diminish the monstrous enormity of the tar sands disaster, which generates GHG emissions equivalent of 27 million American passenger vehicles annually and more than all of the cars in Canada collectively. Currently all the tar sands plants produce a C02 equivalent of more than 40 million metric tonnes and will double that in a few years.6 At that rate, it would take 1,739,130 immigrants a year to equal that output. That sounds grossly disproportionate until you calculate that if the 2007 immigration rate of 429,000 migrants persisted it would take only 4.054 years to generate the same volume of GHG emissions as another entire tar sands development.7
However, if the immigration policy of the green coalition was followed, and 519,000 consumers were dropped on Canada each year, enough environmental damage would be inflicted in 3.35 years as would be caused by a whole Athabaska tar sands project. Alternatively stated, while it will take Stephen Harper four years of typical immigration to double the sum total of all the GHG emissions of Albertan tar sands operations, it will take the green coalition three and a half years. They will both take us to hell, but the Holy Trinity of Sanctimony will apparently take us there at a faster pace. A mind boggling thought. What price cultural diversity? None the less, the greenhouse footprint of Liberal/NDP/Green immigration by my calculation would be at worst 30% or less than the tars sands development, which, to express it differently, is currently impacting the atmosphere 3.35 times more than the number of people who enter Canada each year.
That being the case, is immigration not then, as Elizabeth May would have it, a “trivial” issue? Is it reason to put to May, Layton, and Dion in the green column and Harper in the role of the black knight? No, it isn’t. Why? Because with the green coalition, you are going get to both. The worst of both worlds. You are going to have to swallow mass immigration on amphetamines and excuses as to why the tar sands development could not be wound down as you were led to be believe by the Pied Pipers of the green left.
I visualize a teeter- totter here. Sitting on one end is Mr. Harper with his oil sands and his 240,000 immigrants . And on the other end are these hypocrites with their 330 000 immigrants and nearly 10 million metric tonnes of GHG emissions. And of course their duplicitous stance against the tar sands. But just what does that amount to? I doubt though that they would stop it. Anymore than the NDP ever stopped uranium mining in Saskatchewan. Or the German social democrats or British Labourites or French socialists stopped nuclear power. Remember how the Liberals were adamantly opposed to Free Trade and the GST? And how the Barrett , Harcourt and Clark NDP governments were going to put an end to the export of raw logs in British Columbia when they sat in opposition? And how they thought clear-cut logging was such a blemish when they were out of power? They all talk a good game, the mystery is, why do people continue to be taken in by their rhetoric?
As it now stands, Jack Layton has only called for a moratorium on further expansion of the oil sands development, but has not gone so far as to call for the industry to shut down. Elizabeth May as well, a position her Sierra Club successor Stephen Hazell finds satisfactory. Stephan Dion, however, for all of his avant garde carbon tax schemes, will only say that he will make it “green”.What next, a green Love Canal?. It seems that even the prospect of melting ice caps, rising seas and searing heat waves can’t compete with a $24 billion industry vested in just one Canadian province.
Promises, promises. Tony Blair promised to cut GHG by 20% during his 10 year term. He left office with GHG 2.5% higher than when he came in. NDP Premier Calvert left office with GHG 60% higher than when he took office, despite promises of a “green agenda”. During Al Gore’s term as Vice-President America’s GHG rose. They all preached the same oxymoronic line. “Sustainable growth”. A healthy environment and a strong economy. An epitaph of our delusions. Maybe an alien archaeologist will read it some centuries hence standing over the rubble of our so-called civilization.
The questions I would put to Canadian voters on October 14th, 2008 are these. In awarding brownie, or should I say, “greenie” points to the most climate-friendly party in this election, should we only focus on its position concerning the carbon tax, or the tar sands, or should we ask ourselves if there is another make ingredient of greenhouse gas emissions, one that in fact is currently contributing to about 29% of all GHG emissions in Canada? Can anyone identify a single jurisdiction anywhere in the world that has experienced a growing population and has reduced its GHG emissions at the same time? Hello?
2. Conservative immigration: 240,000 immigrants X 23 metric tonnes per capita = 5,520,000 metric tonnes. Lib/NDP/Green coalition 330,000 immigrants X 23 metric tonnes = 7,590,000 metric tonnes a 38% increase.
3 Statscan Report April 22/08 http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/04/22/tech-canada-greenhouse.html
4.Frederick A. B. Meyers. Rising Carbon Emissions
7.429,000 total residents entered Canada X 23 metric tonnes GHG per capita = 9,867.000 metric tonnes X 4.054 years = 40 million tonnes that the tar sands emits in GHG