Honestly, I don't know if this 'governmental' behaviour is willful ignorance or malfeasance on the part of ideologues intent on furthering their power base by callously exploiting shock doctrine. There comes a point when you start thinking 'no one making it to the hotseat of national power is that uninformed' and odds are high when you finally get some information from insiders of the corridors, it turns out they're not.
I am of course, biased. Looking at situations in isolation was punctured 40 years ago. My pinko commie socialist indoctrination was fed by a series of television documentary shows. "The Fabulous Sixties", "Here Come the '70s" (with its iconic theme song and controversial nudity in the credit graphics), "Connections", and finally, "War", the standard-setting analysis of world conflict by journalist and military/political observer Gwynne Dyer.
Dyer has many distinctions, not the least of which is incurring Conrad Black's enmity and subsequent blacklisting from all Black controlled publications. Dyer turned his attention to climate change some years ago. He and Peter Kent are well acquainted through their careers, so I offer this year old perspective presented at UBC, from a voice I trust more than what is coming out of the PMO.
Given the date of the talk, I find the context in how Dyer touches on international interest in Greece, Rome, Spain and Portugal, the countries of most concern *now* for 'threatening' the EU by their economies, very 'connective'.
He also touches on the ire still out there about him in light of his Order of Canada, Ottawa's attitude toward climate change, Alberta's attitude towards the oilsands, Kyoto, China, and what he's finding in the corridors of power out of the limelight.
It's all well and good for the powerful in power suits to take a laissez faire attitude that cuts short term costs. As Dyer notes, it's not the rich that will starve. The Arab Spring was in no small part bolstered by rising food costs among the poor as crops fail, land degrades, water vanishes, inventories are sold for debt not national survival, 'austerity' measures download more costs on to the bottom layers of society, and refugees face trail after trail of tears.
It's a sad fact of human societies that the poorest of the poor are women and it's women that pay first, foremost and deepest, everywhere in the world for the lack of sincere leadership. I donate to Heifer International. HI is so very not PETA-friendly, in that they focus on empowering poor people around the world with agrarian/husbander skills/animals, with particular recognition of educating and organizing women as agents of societal change on a personal/community level. Like Kiva, micro-loans among HI's community associations build bonds and opportunities further.
But none of this and the efforts of similar women-powered organizations (tree planting or stove design) is possible if droughts/floods/wars/ideology destroys the base sustainability of a geographic area.
Women do the majority of subsistence farming around the world. Given choice and voice, women prove over and over they do not want to populate past the supplies and effort needed to sustain and empower the children they already have. But, in place and as refugees, not only are women the major caregivers of living children at risk but, unable to access options to control their own bodies, bear the additional hardship of becoming pregnant in crises absent of support.
Harper has given us his pious crocodile tears stance on maternal and child health in the 'developing' world, but ably separates it from the consequences of his 'Underpants Gnomes'* ideological stances on climate change. I suppose it's not that different from his ability to separate consequences of governmental ennui on other maternal separations.
"The woman stone-facedly answered question after question from national media; about living in a home with no heat; about her husband who spat up blood when he tried to cut firewood; about her dream of having a place to put some nice little mementos and the dream of being able to wash her dishes.
And then the media asked her about her children. She remained stone-faced for a moment as she described how they had been taken away from her and shipped to foster homes hundreds of kilometres away because, as a mother living in a shed, she couldn't take care of them. That was five years ago. And then she started to weep - deep, painful, gut wrenching weeping. Rachel crying for her children because they were no more."
*1. Deny anything can be done by human effort to alleviate science-proven crisis. Use holdouts as a personal excuse to do nothing. Diminish anyone saying 'let's at least try and die falling forward' Point at condors.