Photo: Who will the Prime Minister represent in Copenhagen?

Thousands came together at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, in the cold and rain, for the International Day of Climate Action. (Credit: via Flickr)

By Ian Bruce, Climate Change Campaigner

It's official. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to attend the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December. His sudden change of mind to attend the leaders' summit may have to do with the fact that failing to show up would shine the international spotlight more intensely on the federal government's weak efforts to enact climate change solutions.

Whether it was international pressure or not, the fact that the Prime Minister changed his mind is a good sign. But the big question now is: "whose interests and values will the Prime Minister represent when attending this crucial UN climate summit?" Those of Canadians?

If that's the case, Prime Minister Harper has a lot of work to do because so far the federal government is out of step with the majority of parliamentarians, provinces, and Canadians.

Like the fact that last week the majority of our country's federal law makers (MPs), recognizing the importance of the UN climate summit, passed a motion to replace Canada's weak positions on climate change and join leading countries. The motion replaces Canada's weak greenhouse gas target for 2020 with a much stronger goal in line with what leading scientists say is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change.

The federal government's current position is also out of step with the majority of provinces including B.C., Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia, who represent over 80 per cent of the Canadian population, and who have more ambitious goals, laws, and policies to reduce global warming.

Top that off with the fact that three-quarters of Canadians are embarrassed by our country's weak performance in reducing emissions and shifting to clean energy solutions.

With the urgent need to act on climate change let's hope that non-partisanship prevails and that Prime Minister Harper's position at the UN climate summit truly reflects that of Canadians. Canadians' call for leadership and action on climate change is getting harder to ignore.

December 1, 2009

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