harper … “science schmience” …
Harper Defends UN Desert Convention Pull Out
The Harper government was accused Thursday of trying to avoid a reckoning on the science of climate change by pulling Canada out of a United Nations convention that fights the spread of droughts.
But Prime Minister Stephen Harper insisted Canada was withdrawing from the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification because the program has proven too bureaucratic.
Harper said less than one-fifth of the $350,000 Canada contributes to the convention goes to programming, while Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird branded the whole process a “talkfest” that does a disservice to Canadian taxpayers.
“Eighteen per cent of the funds that we send it are actually spent on programming,” the prime minister said during question period.
“The rest goes to various bureaucratic measures…. It’s not an effective way to spend taxpayers’ money.”
The decision would make Canada the only country in the world outside the agreement, which Ottawa ratified in 1995, and whose participants include 194 countries and the European Union — the entire UN.
The government’s decision to pull Canada out of the convention came just one month before a major scientific gathering to be hosted by the Bonn-based secretariat of the UN convention.
The meeting would have forced Canada to confront scientific analysis on the effects of climate change, droughts and encroaching deserts. The Harper government has been vilified an as outlier on climate change policy in past international meetings.
“Anything that they’re involved in that can lead to more evidence that we’re a planet in crisis environmentally they don’t want to be part of,” said Maude Barlow, head of the Council of Canadians and the author of a forthcoming book on global droughts.
“They simply do not want this information coming forward.”