Guarding our Canadian rights and freedoms
As I write this column on November 10, the outgoing President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, is preparing to welcome President-elect Donald John Trump into the White House. Obama will begin briefing Trump on the nuances of leadership and governance in order, as he said, “to talk about making sure that there is a successful transition between our presidencies.”
It couldn’t be an easy meeting, because Trump has vowed to dismantle President Obama’s legacy projects, such as the health care initiative known as “Obamacare.”
Moreover, President Obama’s signature statesmanlike and gracious demeanor couldn’t be in deeper contrast to this Republican’s misogynistic, bigoted, and fear-and-hate-imbued campaign messaging.
Rising above differences
President Obama addressed Americans on November 9, following Trump’s win. He said, “We have to remember that we’re actually all on one team…We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first, we are Americans first. We’re patriots first. We all want what’s best for this country.”
He acknowledged the irony of today’s first meeting with the President Elect when he stated, “Now, it is no secret that the President-elect and I have some pretty significant differences. But remember, eight years ago, President Bush and I had some pretty significant differences. But President Bush’s team could not have been more professional or more gracious in making sure we had a smooth transition so that we could hit the ground running. And one thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us... The peaceful transition of power is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. And over the next few months, we are going to show that to the world.”
For those of us who supported Clinton, a Trump win is deeply disturbing on myriad fronts. More than his win, the Republicans also control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, meaning that the new president’s agenda can be pushed through without effective opposition.
One of the fronts I’m particularly concerned about is the environment. President-elect Trump is an anthropogenic climate change denier as well as a fossil fuel industry supporter. He has said he will approve the Keystone XL, will remove the US from the Paris Agreement, and may decide to eliminate the EPA – and will install Myron Ebell, a known climate change skeptic, to lead Trump’s EPA transition team.
Should Canadians care?
Yes, we should care. Not only has Trump said he’ll possibly ditch NAFTA and change the USA’s participation in NATO, his environmental positions will affect not only us, but the world.
Take his appointment of Myron Ebell to the EPA. I discovered this information on the Scientific American website (Sept. 26, eenews.net/stories/1060043378): “In a biography submitted when Ebell testified before Congress, he listed among his recognitions that he had been featured in a Greenpeace ‘Field Guide to Climate Criminals,’ dubbed a ‘misleader’ on global warming by Rolling Stone and was the subject of a motion to censure in the British House of Commons after Ebell criticized the United Kingdom’s chief scientific adviser for his views on global warming.”
So yes, Canadians must both care and be concerned about Trump’s environmental agenda, for it will affect us.
Dr. David Suzuki: hope
In her November 9 blog on davidsuzuki.org website, writer Karel Mayrand notes, “Trump can't stop an energy transition that has become inevitable. The most he can do is slow it down.” And she lists several reasons, giving us all hope.
She notes, “Investments in renewable energy have surpassed investments in fossil fuels every year since 2010, and the gap continues to grow... From California to New York, American states and cities are putting a price on carbon, investing in renewable energy and in transit. This trend will only continue. China is making similar efforts, recently announcing its intention to lower emissions per unit of GDP by 18 per cent by 2020.”
Here in Canada, we have a Prime Minister who is committed to the environment, who is not a climate change denier, and who is, like President Obama, diplomatic and optimistic by nature. He has assured Canadians that he will work with the new President-elect.
We can only hope that Justin Trudeau’s Sunny Ways prevail.
Photo: Alana Repstock