Why should you meet your Member of Parliament!

We have previously reported on the large number of meetings between fossil fuel officials and ministers, members of parliament, and government officials.  In the same period ministers met with a lobbyist from the environmental community ONLY ONCE.

The Ottawa based Polaris Institute, the original author of a study on lobbying (see the Globe and Mail, 4th Dec 2012 Article “Face Time”), says this information shows a fundamental shift in our democracy from government working for the people to government working for private interests.

We know that the political strategy of this Government is to support the fossil fuel industry, thereby benefiting the economy – if only in the short term. We also know that press releases from the Government’s communications officers are inevitably favourable to this industry.  So there can be no surprise that there has been close cooperation between industry officials and representatives of the government.

Clearly, environmentalists can’t ignore the utility of meetings of this sort.  Environmental groups have a lot of work to do.

On November 6th, 7th and 8th 2012, six groups of three or four citizens met many M.P.’s from all parties. The sessions were arranged by the Climate Action Network Canada, a coordinating group of 92 environmental organizations in Canada, and over 700 organizations worldwide.

Chris Alexander, M.P. for Ajax-Pickering, was the only Conservative M.P. our group visited.  He was most receptive and appreciative that we had taken the time to see him. He made two points that we thought represented the attitude of his Party to global warming.

On the subject of the Tar Sands, Chris said that if Canada shut down the Tar Sands, the fossil fuel corporations would simply develop fossil resources elsewhere, and the planet would get an equivalent amount of Greenhouse gases from somewhere else. We wanted to retort that still nations such as Canada had a responsibility to the planet, there was a desperate need for leadership from developed nations, and the his young children would live in a burned up planet if global warming was not held in check.

Chris mentioned coming back from his diplomatic posting in Afghanistan and seeing David Suzuki on the television talking about ‘the end of the world’. From Chris’ perspective, the wars in that part of the world are a much greater threat to our survival.

Of course, wars are an immediate threat to us all and we must find ways to end them, but if Chris and others understood the catastrophic consequences of climate change, they would agree that we must make a huge effort to fight global warming.

David Suzuki is right. If we don’t, it will be the end of the world as we know it, for his children and our grandchildren. In 50 years, what will any M.P.’s children/grandchildren say we should have done today?

Armed with solid evidence of what is being done to the world of our grandchildren, let’s engage our M.P.’s with letters, telephone calls and visits. We can show them that 791 deputations on how fossil fuel corporations may boost the economy, but will mean nothing if climate change is allowed to continue to devastate our world.

Anthony Ketchum


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