by Monte Solberg
Recently I received an e-mail from someone who informed me that Stephen Harper had destroyed Canada.
This was news to me because, even as I read his e-mail, I was sitting in Canada, which didn’t look like it had been destroyed. Being a nice summer day, Canada looked especially lovely dressed in greens against a backdrop of blue sky.
Nevertheless, I sensed my virtual friend was angry and I suppose it was his opinion that Stephen Harper had made Canada a less attractive place to live.
I really don’t want to be contrary, but based on all the indicators Canada really is an excellent place to live, even if you don’t like the current occupant of 24 Sussex Drive. Don’t take my word for it, check out the UN Human Development Index, which placed Canada sixth in 2011.
For some perspective, France was 20th, which must be upsetting to French citizens like Thomas Mulcair.
Consider that for a moment. Canada, with our oilsands and pipelines and with a Conservative in the prime minister’s office, still ended up in sixth place on a UN index!
Anyway, let’s forget about all of that stuff. The people at the UN are not the most credible folks given their habit of putting countries like Iran, North Korea and Syria on committees that influence international arms agreements and human rights. The UN is a kind of Narnia for people with lots of academic qualifications but without the sense that God gave a goose.
But back to poor old Canada, who according to rumour has been murdered by her own prime minister. The latest evidence the government’s critics point to is Budget 2012. Yes, in this game of Clue the prime pinister allegedly bludgeoned Canada to death in the House of Commons with the 450-page Budget Implementation Act.
But here’s the thing, Canada is actually alive and well. Jobs are being created. The country’s finances are improving and investment is flowing in. Well yes, say critics, but what about the environment?
Actually the Conservatives even addressed environmental issues the Liberals only talked about. They imposed tough new limits on GHG emissions from transportation and electricity generation.
But wait, say other critics, the changes to the Fisheries Act contained in the budget show the government is intent upon selling the environment down some stinking, pollution-choked river.
But just last week the government announced plans to clamp down on municipalities that still spew 150 billion litres of sewage a year into Canada’s lakes, rivers and oceans.
The Conservatives are also putting in place a new National Conservation Plan to protect biodiversity.
Yes, the Conservatives are cutting scientific and environmental programming in some areas, but they are undertaking important new scientific and environmental initiatives in others.
That doesn’t seem to fit the theory the government is either anti-environment or anti-science.
My point is only that sometimes critics create caricatures of the government that are then contradicted by things like, well, evidence.
No, Canada is not perfect, but the evidence shows that in many important ways it’s getting better.
Categories: Contributor Columns