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Canadian Politics: The Case Of The Missing Kyoto Accord #8

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No news is good news only if you're not desperate to hear something that will ensure that you stay out of jail for the rest of your unnatural life or you're waiting for a stay of execution. I was pretty firm in my belief that for me they were one and the same right now, and unless circumstances changed quickly…

Well, some things just aren't any fun to think about and are guaranteed to take the fun out of a day, so I tried to do something constructive about my circumstances, like figuring out who had a vested interest in the Kyoto accord going the way of the Dodo. There were the obvious answers of the guys who owned all the big smokestacks pumping shit into the air on a routine basis that wouldn't want to have their profit margin cut, or their value reduced on the open market.

Inco and Falconbridge, the two big mining companies, were selling themselves off to the highest bidders, while Stelco and Dofasco the big two of Canadian steel have recently been sold to a variety of foreign investors.

But that's penny ante stuff once you head west of Ontario where Alberta is having a fire sale on anything to do with oil and natural gas production. With the newly independent countries of the old Soviet Bloc discovering they have economies, and China and India flexing their muscles as economic powers, they all want to have a semblance of self-sufficiency down the road when it comes to cheap fuel.

When you're on a selling spree like Alberta is, and to a lesser extent the rest of the natural resource economy, the last thing you want to be hindered with is some silly environmental regulations dictating smoke stack emissions — especially when dealing with countries whose environmental regulations are laxer than the ones needed to ensure compliance with the Kyoto accord.

Hell, if the entire population of China were to exhale simultaneously, the amount of CO2 released in the atmosphere could be enough to expand the hole in the ozone layer another inch. Combine that with an economy based on slave labour mass-producing cheap manufactured goods with little or no care for anything but the present and compliance with the Kyoto accord is going to be well down on the Politburo's list of things to do first thing of a morning.

Not going to be able to fit that in a day already full of convincing the West to ignore human rights atrocities in the name of business and potential markets, figuring out ways to keep over a billion people from spontaneously combusting under a horribly totalitarian regime, pretending that Tiananmen Square is just a nice open space in Beijing, and getting ready for the Olympic games.

Well, the rest of us didn't worry about the future either when we were starting our industrial revolutions – we thought there was an unlimited supply of everything (people to work for dirt included) and that the world could take anything we dished out. Hell there are still those among us who believe that, refusing to see what's in front of their eyes or claiming that it's God's will that they squeeze everything they can out of the planet until it's an empty husk.

They'll have their gated communities guarded from the rest of the masses, so what does it matter what ends up happening? Anyway, they've done the work of God, so they will receive their final reward in Heaven and sit on the right hand side of Jesus after the Last Judgement.

Now I 'm sure there is only a minority among them who are doing this so they can sit below the salt at dinner with Jesus. (Wasn't he the guy who said something about the only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven was to give up your worldly possessions? How does that jibe with strip mining so you can squeeze that extra little penny into your pocket?) But even those with less holy aspirations could still wreak havoc among the natural world if allowed.

Being a detective you come in contact with all sorts of people who never believe that they are going to get caught, and who never consider anything but today. The future is for somebody else to worry about and the past, where others made mistakes because of stupidity, has nothing of value to teach.

These have been the voices most loudly raised against the Kyoto accord since the day it was signed by all the participating countries. "We won't be able to compete against those countries that haven't signed the accord," bleated the captains of industry and their hand-picked toadies in houses of parliaments around the world.

In Canada we followed much that scenario; they sounded so genuine in their concerns about Canadian jobs and the economy one was almost tempted to believe them. That is until the first of those captains put his business up for sale to the first person with big enough pockets to come along and relieve him of the tedium of actually having to pretend he worked for a living.

Some of them had the chutzpah to keep that up as they were already entering into negotiations to sell up to foreign nationals who weren't going to give two shits about Canada's economy or Canadian jobs. Now as all those deals are being finalised they don't want anything queering the pitch.

The previous Liberal governments of Jean Chretian and Paul Martin were not what one would call anti-business by any stretch of the imagination. That didn't stop them from seeing Kyoto as a step in a direction the world needed to take if it was going to survive as a reasonable facsimile of what it looks like today.

Whether Stephen Harper's Conservative Party of Canada was against it just because the Liberals were for it is irrelevant now. They made themselves out as the champions of business and the protector of the rights of CEOs everywhere while in opposition and continue to do so now that they have obtained power. So as Dr. Magensen found out, they were bound to cut the heart out of any projects that were working on emission control no matter what they had achieved.

The words emission control can't be said in the same sentence, save with curses attached, as corporate political donations, to Mr. Harper's supporters if you're expecting any of the latter to make it into your pockets. So now instead of standing up in the Opposition's benches on Parliament Hill condemning the Kyoto accord, they stand up on the government side of the house and talk about finding "a Canadian alternative for emissions control."

Like Canada's scientific community has all of a sudden developed into something that can come up with a plan that works better than Kyoto could have, while not putting any pressure on corporations to comply with any new regulations. Then again they had, but the one man who had accomplished the matter was now still very dead, and after almost two pages of reviewing the facts, I'm no further ahead then I was before.

Everyone knows that the government and big business are against the accord. If they had wanted to, corporate Canada could have just arranged for Dr Magnesen to fall off the edge of the earth with no one being the wiser. Even the Canadian government's security forces aren't so incompetent that they'd leave his corpse lying around a bar frequented by government employees.

Maybe I had been looking in all the wrong places for the answers? Something had been nagging at the back of my brain since I had taken a cudgel to the head. I had just assumed it was part of concussion syndrome, but now began to wonder more. It was something Officer McIntosh had said about what a dick's job should be, and something else.

It only took a couple of quick phone calls, one to Ottawa City Hall, and one other. When I got off the phone for the second time, I had a pretty good idea of who had killed Dr. Magnesen and why. But now I needed another night's sleep, even if it was only noon. You take your nights where you can get them in my line of business, whether it's midnight or noon. Anyway, tomorrow would be my own version of high noon.

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About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of two books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion". Aside from Blogcritics his work has appeared around the world in publications like the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and the multilingual web site Qantara.de. He has been writing for Blogcritics.org since 2005 and has published around 1900 articles at the site.
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