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Most Canadians Support Carbon Pricing, See Climate as Election Issue: New Poll

A new poll released today by Angus Reid finds the majority of Canadians support carbon pricing programs and more than half the population would like to see a national climate policy instituted at the federal level.

Although Canadians say they’re ready for climate action, there’s a lot less certainty surrounding climate leadership at the federal level, according to poll results.

There also appears to be some question about the actual impact of a carbon price but, despite the uncertainty, 75 per cent of Canadians support the idea of a national cap and trade program, and 56 per cent support the idea of a national carbon tax.

Currently Canada has a smattering of province-led carbon price initiatives — B.C.’s celebrated carbon tax being perhaps the most notable — although no national program to reduce emissions exists.

The Faulty Logic Behind the Argument That Canada's Emissions Are a ‘Drop in the Bucket'

At the premiers' climate summit this week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall brought up a statistic that has received a fair amount of attention lately: Canada’s emissions account for fewer than two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

He's not wrong, but used as an argument against doing our part to combat climate change, his point does contain some flawed logic.

“Showing leadership matters, signals matter, examples matter, but the numbers are the numbers,” Wall said.

Essentially, Wall appears to be suggesting that because no single action by itself will solve the problem, we shouldn’t take that single action.

Applying this logic to other situations reveals just how faulty it is.

Premiers Clark, Prentice to Skip Quebec City Climate Summit

On Friday afternoon, federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq sent a letter to Canadian premiers detailing how each of their provinces are falling short on targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

In her message Aglukkaq notes that the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia are the furthest from reaching their targets. Ontario, Saskatchewan and Quebec are next on the list.

Unfortunately, neither B.C Premier Christy Clark nor Alberta Premier Jim Prentice will be attending tomorrow’s Premiers' Summit on Climate Change in Quebec City.

Bloomberg News reported on Friday afternoon that Clark would be skipping the meeting to attend a World Bank meeting. On Monday morning the Office of the Premier of Alberta confirmed to DeSmog Canada via phone that Prentice would not be attending the summit either.

As part of its 2020 targets, British Columbia pledged to reduce its annual greenhouse gas emissions from 62 gigatonnes per year to 42 gigatonnes per year. Environment Canada predicts British Columbia’s emissions will actually rise to 69 gigatonnes per year by 2020. More distressingly, these figures do not account for the new emissions that would be created by new liquefied natural gas development or the two oilsands pipeline and tanker projects under consideration.

Cities Emerge as Climate Leaders at World Congress But Still Need More Government Support

Cities are responsible for 70 per cent of global CO2 emissions but they can save the planet by greening one community at a time said Vancouver’s David Cadman at the close of the ICLEI World Congress 2015, the triennial sustainability summit of local governments in Seoul, South Korea.

We can do it. We must do it,” Cadman, the retiring president of Local Governments for Sustainability, told some 1,500 delegates from nearly 1,000 cities and local governments in 96 countries on April 11.

The majority of climate actions and most plans to reduce CO2 emissions are happening at the city level, Cadman told DeSmog Canada in Seoul.

Over 25,000 March in Quebec Demanding Climate Leadership in Canada

An estimated 25,000 took to the streets of Quebec City Saturday to protest the federal government’s lack of leadership on climate change and unfaltering support for increased production in the Alberta oilsands.

Our message is simple — yes to climate equals no to the tar sands,” Christian Simard, executive direct of Nature Quebec, said. Nature Quebec along with Greenpeace, Equiterre and the David Suzuki Foundation and other eastern Canadian environmental groups organized the demonstration — already being called the largest climate protest in Canada's history.

Demonstrators filled the streets of Quebec City’s historic quarter demanding the nation's premiers be climate leaders and reject proposed pipeline projects like TransCanada’s Energy East and KinderMorgan’s TransMountain.

We don’t want to see the premiers under the cover of a national energy strategy agreeing to help Alberta expand the tar sands. A national energy strategy needs also to be a climate strategy,” Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence Canada, told DeSmog Canada.

Majority of Canadians Say Climate More Important than Oilsands, Pipelines

On Saturday, April 11, thousands of Canadians are expected to gather in Quebec City for a national day of action on climate change (update: an estimated 25,000 attended the march). The march will occur in advance of an unprecedented gathering of the nation's premiers, who will meet in Quebec City April 14 to discuss provincial climate plans (Premiers Christy Clark, Jim Prentice and Stephen McNeil declined to attend the summit).

According to a new poll released by the Canadian arm of the Climate Action Network, the majority of Canadians feel addressing climate change is a higher priority than developing the Alberta oilsands or building pipelines.

Canadians believe climate disruption is a moral issue and that climate protection trumps development of the tarsands and pipelines. They want politicians to control carbon pollution and give citizens a say in energy decision-making,” the network said in a press release.

VIDEO: Canada Has a Troubling Definition of 'Threat'

CSIS, C-51

The government defines a threat completely differently than a citizen does.

We think of threats as violence, things that could physically hurt us. But to a government that also includes anything that could reduce its power.

So currently the definition of threats in the CSIS Act includes ‘foreign influenced activities detrimental to the interests of Canada.’

That doesn’t sound violent. That could describe a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band in Hamilton.

Watch me break it down in this video:

Canada Will Miss Its Climate Target And We’ll All Miss Out

I don’t think anyone in Canada expects our good country to meet its climate target — even with the imminent pressure of the UNFCCC meeting in Paris later this year weighing down on our collective shoulders.

We have no reason to harbour that expectation given that our own federal government via Environment Canada has been telling us for years that Canada is running off the climate track and — because of growing emissions largely from the oil and gas sector — we are getting farther and farther away from meeting our government's self-imposed climate targets.

Because of that climate failure, Canada is holding all of us back from prosperity, jobs and better health.

That’s according to a new study of benefits from international emission pledges made in the lead up to December’s UN climate summit.

Developed countries around the world — with the exception of Canada and Japan — are unveiling their individual climate plans, which are due today.

Canada Just Got a Democracy Report Card and Our Grade Isn’t Pretty

The Canadian civic-engagement advocacy group Samara just released its first-ever report card on the state of “everyday democracy” across the country. The result? Canada received a disconcerting ‘C’ grade.

What does that mean?

We’re failing on a lot more fronts than just voter turnout, according to Jane Hilderman, Samara Director.

The political process now repels more citizens than it attracts — particularly young Canadians,” she said.

While most evaluations of democracy focus on voter turnout, we need to better assess the relationship between citizens and political leaders beyond a trip to the ballot box every four years.”

Canada Paid $180,000 for Mining Responsibility Counsellor That Doesn't Exist

The government spent over $180,000 dollars last year to run the office of a corporate social responsibility counsellor for the Canadian mining industry even though there was no counsellor. Which is actually a fitting metaphor for what this office does: nothing.

It has no power to investigate problems or issue reports. Just look at the title, it’s not corporate social responsibility enforcer, it’s counsellor. “Hey man, there’s no judgment here. Think of me as a coach. How can I help you to help yourself to not murder activists, forcibly evict people and set their homes on fire? Yeah, help yourself to the jelly beans. Those are for everyone.”

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