Does the Governor General Regret Misrepresenting Canada at UNESCO
Does the Governor General regret misrepresenting Canada at UNESCO –
Joan Russow, Ph.D. Global Compliance Research Project
After the speech that she gave on the 5th of October, she proclaimed "When growth is indifferent to environmental consequences, …. and we should be very wary of leaning toward a commercial logic without any safeguards". Was she challenged about Canada or, if not, should she have been challenged about Canada¹s environmental record, including Canada¹s record on climate change… is she oblivious to the "fossil award" that Canada received at two international conferences on climate change? She has, however, been challenged for referring twice in her speech to herself as Canada¹s Head of State.
Now, as the important December Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is looming and the Conservative minority government will again undoubtedly undermine the international resolve to seriously address the issue of climate change, does she regret her errors over the past year? Does she not realize that she has failed the Canadian public when she allowed an election to be called, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper stepped down in 2008? Does she know now that she should never have permitted Harper to call an election when there was an outstanding investigation into the fraudulent transfer of funds during the 2006 election? Does she regret the missed opportunity to call upon the other political parties to govern? Does she regret when she assisted, by proroguing Parliament, the Prime Minister in avoiding a non-confidence vote?
Does she ever note that there is a constitutional crisis in Canada when a minority government can dictate Canadian policy without the requirement to bring key issues such as Canada¹s position on climate change to the House of Commons, and the obligation to accept the rule of Parliament? Is she not cognizant of a fundamental flaw in the Canadian Constitution when the representative of the Queen (or the Head of State) is chosen by the Prime Minister, and is responsible for making decisions about whether, if the Prime Minister steps down, an election will be called, or if the Prime Minister wants to avoid a vote on non-confidence, Parliament can be prorogued If at the time there were to be a non- confidence vote? Would she now, in the event of a non-confidence vote, be more astute, and for the sake of preventing serious adverse environmental consequences. call upon the Opposition Parties to govern and to come up with a strong climate change policy in time for the Copenhagen COP 15 (Conference of the Parties)?
At UNESCO, which stands for the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization was there no discussion about the issue of climate change, and the need to listen, not ignore, the warnings from scientists, both from inside and outside the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change?
Even the Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel has personally called for the cessation of development of the oil sands. With many of the UNESCO member countries involved with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was she not questioned about Canada¹s failure to join IRENA? Was she not questioned about the Conservative minority governments budgetary reduction of subsidies for renewable energy such as wind and solar?
As Canada¹s ³Head of State², what is her responsibility? Is it to prop up a Prime Minister even when he is challenged, by a Parliamentary Ethics Committee, for violating the Elections Act, or a Prime Minister when he wants to avoid a non-confidence vote? Or is her role to offer lofty rhetoric at international forums to counter government actions?
Is the role of UNESCO compromised by not challenging one of its member ³Heads of State² for espousing rhetoric that perpetuates the myth that growth in Canada is not indifferent to environmental consequences?
And, by the way, was Harper’s October 3 performance at the Arts Centre Gala an intentional counterpoint to the government cut-back in funding for the Arts, and a wonderful backdrop for Canada’s Head of State at the international meeting on culture at UNESCO?