Friday, November 19, 2010

Bill C-311 and another violation of Canada's democracy : An open letter to Prime Minister Harper

Dear Mr. Harper,

I am appalled by the way that you have abused your power and influence in the senate to kill Bill C-311 without having any debate. This is a tremendous dis-service to Canada and the Canadian people. It is also the height of arrogance and hypocrisy for you, someone who has been a champion of an elected senate, to use this patronage association that you have stacked with conservative appointees to over-rule a bill which had been passed by our elected MPs.

It is unbelievable the way that you continue to mislead the Canadian public. A short time ago, you were afraid that the Liberals, Block and NDP would form a coalition government and move your party to the opposition benches. You told the Canadian people that this was unconstitutional and undemocratic - something like a coup d'etat. However, most of us who have benefited from Canada's public education system realize that what they proposed was completely within the design of the Westminster parliamentary system, as we have all recently seen by the fine example that was set by England's Conservative party. When it appeared that your government could still be defeated, you chose to close the doors to parliament rather than face the democratic process. When King Charles did this same thing in England, Oliver Cromwell felt it was justification for civil war.  Now you have used this un-elected senate, which you have shaped for your own purposes, rather than reforming as you have habitually promised, to perform one of the most un-democratic actions that I have ever seen. This is certainly the height of arrogance.

You may claim that you made a choice to protect the reality of Canada’s fragile economy against the imaginary threat posed by climate change. This is simply untrue. In the first place, you might recall that last year the TD Bank Economists, together with Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation presented a detailed study that demonstrates Canada could achieve impressive economic growth and still meet Kyoto-style emission targets. More importantly, the policy changes suggested in their report would reduce Canada’s economic dependency on cheap and readily available oil supplies. This is critical for the future since the International Energy Agency continues to forecast that energy demand will exceed supply in the coming years. The TD bank forecasts also suggest that an improved energy and climate policy would create more and better jobs for the Canadian people. The reality of these projections have already been demonstrated by Denmark.  Instead, you chose to bow to Alberta and the oil and gas industry. You have decided to penalize nine other provinces and all other sectors of the economy, who will suffer because of their energy dependence, because you will not compromise in your loyal service to the oil and gas industry.

As a Christian who was born and raised in Alberta, worked as a research scientist in the oil and gas industry and has studied the implications of climate change and the projected results of declining oil reserves, I am afraid of the future that you are creating for our children. I understand that you claim to be a man of strong religious conviction and a man of the Bible. If this is true, I can only pray that you will stop looking to the Old Testament for your scientific knowledge. Our future would be safer, and God's creation would greatly benefit if you would look to scientists for scientific advice, economists for economic advice and the New Testament for social policy.


Keith Hirsche

1161 Chapman Road,
Cobble Hill, BC
V0R 1L7

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