Readers criticize response to climate crisis from Yakabuski

Dear Editor, 

 John Yakabuski appears to think hope and prayer will get us by in dealing with the Climate Crisis. We need far more than hopes and prayers from his government. We need a plan and we urgently need to act on that plan. 

While in opposition, Mr. Yakabuski railed about the need to make science based decisions on forming government policy. Now in government, he ignores scientists. With issues as diverse as cormorants to climate, in 2019, special interest groups, not scientific consensus, drive political agendas. 

John talks a lot about jobs. This riding has a long, proud history of providing employment in the forest and farming sector, and more recently a dynamic and growing tourism sector. Whether it be the increased severity and duration of weather events, invasive species moving north and already impacting our Renfrew County forests, or wildfires driven by both of these factors, these resource-based jobs will be first to be impacted by a rapidly changing climate.

Mr. Yakabuski is quick to repeat Doug Ford’s mantra “you can be for jobs, or you can be for the carbon tax, but you can’t be for both.” What he doesn’t tell you is that as a direct result of the cancellation of the cap and trade program, Ontario has lost some of its brightest and best workers in the energy technology and conservation field. Many of those jobs have gone to B.C., a province which has had a carbon tax since 2008 and, by the way, a thriving economy. 

Mr. Yakabuski says he is disappointed with the introduction of the federal carbon tax. Perhaps he has forgotten that it was originally a Conservative proposal promoted by Preston Manning in 2014?  Perhaps he is discounting the best advice of economists and corporations like Shell Oil who fully endorse it?

If not a carbon tax, then what? The provincial government tells us they have an alternate plan. But the member for Renfrew-Nippissing-Pembroke cannot seem to tell us what it is. Instead he uses public money (our money) to administer social media platforms where he expounds on the many wonderful programs that the Ford government is introducing. All the while without replying to a single question from constituents about these programs. I would remind him that he was elected to represent all the people of this riding and not just his base. 

The status quo of political patronage is as alive and well here as elsewhere. The current Conservative government made a choice to politicize climate. Their political backers, including those who are perceived as being good stewards of our natural resources so long as that perception advances their personal fortunes, have their own consciences to bear. It is time to show courage, even if it means exposing political power connections and old boy’s clubs.

The First Peoples of this land followed the principle of making decisions based on seven generations. The overwhelming majority of the world’s climate scientists (what amounts to an almost unheard of consensus in science) tell us we have just over a decade to act, and act decisively! They also agree on the alternative – an irreversible runaway climb in global temperatures impacting just about everything we take for normal in life today. 

This government tells us they care a lot about educating our youth. Perhaps John would give some thought to the world that these young people will inherit in fifteen or twenty years. I sincerely hope he will.

 

Dorothy and Grant Dobson

Connaught, ON

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