The pitter patter of climate change

The pitter-patter of climate change Last week it was raining in Whitehorse. It's not supposed to rain in the Yukon in December. Climate change is having a dramatic effect on Canada's Arctic Ð that's a fact. Increased melting of permafrost is damaging in

Last week it was raining in Whitehorse. It’s not supposed to rain in the Yukon in December.

Climate change is having a dramatic effect on Canada’s Arctic Ð that’s a fact. Increased melting of permafrost is damaging infrastructure here; rising temperatures are also affecting fish and wildlife migration patterns, and causing unprecedented complications for hunters, trappers and fishermen.

Like their constituents, Conservative MPs Ryan Leef (Yukon) and Leona Aglukkaq (Nunavut) are bearing witness to the alarming impact that climate change is having in the North. But rather than addressing this issue, Leef and Aglukkaq have chosen to turn their backs on their constituents’ concerns in order to follow Harper’s policies, which treat environmental protection as a burden instead of a necessity.

Another fact: When it comes to protecting the environment, if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. This Conservative government’s actions (and lack of action) have proven it to be the latter.

The Stephen Harper government, having been denounced year after year by the international community for its prehistoric approach to protecting the environment, is now pointing the finger at China, the US and India for not doing more to cut greenhouse gases, citing this as the main reason why Canada will run away from its commitment by being the first country to formally pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. This is not only completely hypocritical, it’s also totally unproductive.

The present extraction of oil from the Alberta oilsands without the proper controls has been labelled “highly harmful to the environment” by the European Union and parts of the US, and may result in international sanctions being placed on Canada. Production of this oil could be much cleaner, but the Tories refuse to implement the necessary monitoring and regulation of big industry.

Harper doesn’t like facts Ð they tend to lead to a more informed public, which inevitably leads to more criticism of Conservative policies, especially those that concern Canada’s environment.

Under Harper’s Reform-Conservative regime, the wisdom of First Nation and Inuit elders, who understand that our very survival is dependent upon respecting our environment, is ignored; government scientists, whom we have always trusted to tell us when there are threats to our environment, are no longer allowed to speak to the public. Some of the largest cuts in Canadian history have been made to the Department of Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans; and vital funding for Canada’s adaptation programs has been put on the chopping block.

More research and science would result in more effective environmental monitoring. Since this would subsequently result in more scrutiny from the public and force industries to make changes (that would actually save them money through energy use reduction), the Conservatives must attack logic and reason itself in order to get their way.

As part of Harper’s government, Leef and Aglukkaq could bring about real, positive change on this issue by standing up for the people of the Yukon and Nunavut. Then again, climate change may have caused the Arctic to totally melt and hell to freeze over by the time they work up the courage to challenge Harper.

Blake Rogers, president

Liberal Party of Canada-Yukon

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Diane McLeod-McKay, Yukon’s Ombudsman and information and privacy commissioner, filed a petition on Dec. 11 after her office was barred from accessing documents related to a child and family services case. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon government rejects Ombudsman requests for documentation filed to Supreme Court

Diane McLeod-McKay filed a petition on Dec. 11 after requests for documents were barred

Buffalo Sabres center Dylan Cozens, left, celebrates his first NHL goal with defenceman Rasmus Ristolainen during the second period of a game against the Washington Capitals on Jan. 22 in Washington. (Nick Wass/AP)
Cozens notches first NHL goal in loss to Capitals

The Yukoner potted his first tally at 10:43 of the second period on Jan. 22

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Former CEO of Great Canadian Gaming, actress charged after flying to Beaver Creek for COVID-19 vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

The bus stop at the corner of Industrial and Jasper Road in Whitehorse on Jan. 25. The stop will be moved approximately 80 metres closer to Quartz Road. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
UPDATED: Industrial Road bus stop to be relocated

The city has postponed the move indefinitely

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (1213rf.com)
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

Most Read