National Fiddling Day and…

No doubt the double entendre was unintended. However, when a bill calling for a National Fiddling Day is introduced late the same afternoon as a quietly tabled report showing extreme climate effects on Canada’s boreal forests, and coming the day after Prime Minister Stephen Harper shunned the UN global climate summit, we are unfortunately left with an image of Nero fiddling amidst the fires of Rome. It’s hard to picture an innocent fiddle concert in traditional rural or small town Canada. Rick Mercer, this is material for you.

As reported in the Hill Times on September 30, Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford tabled the report from his department on September 24. It outlined severe effects of climate change on the northern forests, accompanied by a net contribution to greenhouse gases from industrial activity in those same forests in 2012.

Though the forest has great value as a remover of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, that function was outbalanced by industry emissions, fires, the impact of deforestation on the forest floor, and the transfer of carbon to wood products. By far, the greatest destroyer of northern forests in recent years has been the tar sands industry.

The tabling of this report in the House of Commons happened in late afternoon after members of the press had left. Shortly afterwards, a New Brunswick Conservative MP introduced the National Fiddling Day proposal.

Combined with Harper’s refusal to attend the global climate summit, a truly sad and telling portrait emerges of what is said to be our government.

Freda Davies

Published as “Ottawa content to fiddle while climate ruins forest” in The Chronicle-Journal, Thunder Bay, Saturday, October 4, 2014