Thursday, May 24, 2012

Law prof takes Feds to court over Kyoto pullout

          Québec law professor Daniel Turp has taken the Harper government to court over their decision to withdraw from the Kyoto Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulation Accord.

           In the following 12 min French language podcast Prof Turp explains all.

               In essence, Prof Turp declared that the Harper government is acting illegally on several fronts. First, it's unilateral withdrawal is itself illegal by international law. Second, in a democracy the government represents the will of the people. The Canadian people, in general, and the people of the Province of Québec, in particular, supported the Accord and its implementation. Turp holds that, at the very least, the government is required to consult with the people via its representatives (Parliament) before engaging in any unilateral action contrary to the stated will of the Canadian (and Québécois) people.

               Turp then analyzed the possible reasons for the government's decidedly non-transparent actions on the greenhouse gas emissions file. The Harper government is, in effect, non-transparent in it's legislative and policy orientations. The Haper government is guilty of acting according to a "hidden" - non-stated - agenda: maximizing the short and medium term profit of the extractive industry sector (petroleum, minerals, forestry products, energy..). Such an "agenda"' Turp believes, would lead them to oppose - or reduce - environmental regulations and funding to organizations and ministries involved with protecting the environment or developing alternative energy sources. Alternative (non-fossil) energy production, don't forget, reduces global demand for extractive industries like coal, oil and natural gas. Turp is undoubtedly speculating at this point but, retrospectively, many of the government's more puzzling orientations make sense when viewed from the perspective of such a putative "agenda". For example, note the curious "mantric" use of the word "economy" in all the Feds' discussions about the "recovery" from the current "economic recession". All that SEEMS to count is the "economy": "It's the economy, stupid!" Meanwhile, the public, brainwashed from continual repetition of the mantra, day and night, on the media, concurs. (The brainwashing has worked..) But nowhere do we find the least recognition that our REAL problems are essentially ecological in nature - the physical interactions of humanity with the supporting planetary ecosystem and the non-renewable resource base. No recognition that the BASE, the physical / energetic foundation of ANY "economy" (human, animal, plant..) is the living planetary ecosystem, the inorganic non-renewable resource base and the global energy flows that sustain these systems.

                   Be that as it may, five universities - English and French speaking - have implicated themselves in Turp's supreme court challenge to the Harper government.

                    Prof Turp has also denounced the Harper government's robotic lockstep imitation of American environmental and foreign policy stances. Thus while Europe - even Africa and Asia! - begin to take environmental protection and alternative energy sources seriously, Canada increasingly falls in step with reactionary American, pro-corporate business policies. Canada and the US both, for example, went out of their ways to deliberately sabotage the Kyoto Accords and, later, their implementation. This stance, Turp argues, is functionally "undemocratic" since it does not represent the will of the majority of Canadians or Québécois.

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