Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Monbiot vs. the Canadians

I thought after the revelations of the past week or so that arch AGW believer George Monbiot had undergone a Damascene-like conversion to scepticism. However, it looks like he's recanted and decided to eschew blasting 'Deniers' to go for a seemingly less robust target, like Canada. That's right, Canada.

In doing so he's taking advantage of the Canadian nations legendary good manners and forbearance to call them "A corrupt petro-state". A fellow Guardian columnist refers to Canadians as 'smug', and says 'it's embarrassing to be a Canadian'. My response to both these Guardianista's is "No it isn't."

Upon this issue I would like to stand up and be counted. Monbiot has gone so far over some bizarre frothing Enviro-mental event horizon I don't think he'll ever come back. Canadians are deeply concerned about their environment. British Columbia especially. So why pick on them?

As for Canadians being corrupt? Ahem. I beg to differ, well unless you are specifically referring to certain parts of Toronto. From a first hand perspective I'd say this is a cracked pot calling a newly polished copper kettle black. As for smug; well there's a certain holier-than-thou, fabian, pompous, nannying, lecturing, publication which originated in the Manchester area that can beat all comers. When it comes to 'smug', there is no more smugger publication than they. If Canadians score a 5 on the smugometer, the Grauniad outguns them with a self-righteous 500 plus.

I think he whole spat is to do with exploitation of the Athabasca oil sands in Northern Alberta. Georgie boy seems upset that Canada is harvesting one of its many natural resources. Why? The exploitation he seems upset about is in Northern Alberta under the muskeg. Muskeg is pretty desolate boggy country where long-dead trees rot standing up. From what I've seen of it, exploiting the oil sands could almost count as gentrification. Half of Northern Ontario is Muskeg, and pretty desolate; they even have songs about it.

Upon due consideration, maybe this isn't really about Canada's exploitation of the tar sands at all. He's just upset that Canada sells a good deal of it's oil output to George's bete noir, the USA. George appears to hate the USA, so anyone who does business with them is fair game. It's what we call over here 'a cheap shot'.

From my own observation, Canadians in general seem to view their southern neighbours with not a little good humoured distrust, but judging from the welcoming reception I see given to our migratory flocks of Americans every year, it's not a big deal. I have a strong suspicion that if most of Canada's tar sand output was sold to let's say, China; the flood of damning articles from the Grauniad's poison pens would dry up.

Writing as someone who has the daily pleasure of living and working with Canadians, I find them (Mostly, with some signal exceptions) to be a sincere and caring people who could give the fingerwagging environmental correspondents of a certain English newspaper a masterclass in caring and humility. I'm not saying it's perfect over here; there are environmental and social issues to be addressed, but Canadians are actually doing something about those themselves. Not picking on the nice guy of the nations like some spiteful child who's lost their favourite toy and is looking for an easy mark to blame.

Canada is a great nation. Canadians care (Sometimes a little too much, but that's just their nature). Compared to Monbiot, Canada has nothing to apologise for. I just hope he's got non-refundable tickets for the 2010 Olympics, and immigration won't him in. Now that would be a little poetic justice.

Update: Apparently the great Viridilunabaticus Frothicus has been seen winging his way back to England from Canada. Hope the door hit him on the way out.

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