I watched some of the videos of speakers at the “Shared Earth Summit 05” which are found on the Ontario government website of the same name.
George Smitherman talked about his younger days: “I’m an Etobicoke kid, too…When you live in Etobicoke, I think especially south Etobicoke…where I had a paper route on 42nd St. and Lake Promenade, you couldn’t help but feel the presence of those powerful smoke stacks.” He was referring to the ‘Four Sisters’ stacks of the coal-fired Lakeview Generating Stn. on the lakefront in nearby Mississauga. The “South Etobicoke” area Smitherman refers to is actually known as Long Branch.
Anyway, Smitherman’s Liberals took credit for knocking the chimneys down, however, the process to mothball Lakeview had begun years earlier under the previous Conservatives. We now know that at the time Smitherman was lecturing at this summit in 2005, McGuinty, Smitherman’s leader, must have already realized that his 2003 election promises (to close ALL Ontario coal-fired stations by 2007) were going to go up in smoke, to be revealed as the outright lies that they were. Smitherman also talked about his right asthmatic lung being a barometer of air quality, calling it the “George Smitherman Lung-O-Meter” - really.
I wonder whether the “lung-o-meter” is working along with a ‘hypocrisy detector’, explaining why no other coal plants were closed down (as so earnestly, frankly, and, well, so darn sincerely promised by Dalton in 2003, and re-promised in 2007), and, why no remedial scrubbers were immediately installed on the existing plants in the meantime to ameliorate their emissions. When in power, Smitherman’s Liberals claim the cost for scrubbers is too high; in opposition his Liberals complain thousands of people are dying from coal emissions. As it typically is with Liberals, they had four years to put their money where their mouth is, and solve the pollution problem – even if it costs them to install scrubbers to ‘save lives’. But they did nothing – neither for their precious “environment”, nor even for live people - and this is while they amassed almost two and a half BILLION dollars in surplus taxes!! And so their hypocrisy continues into 2008.
Also, there is a video of speaker David Suzuki addressing this summit: it’s a beauty. Suzuki tells McGuinty, who must have been in the audience “I think you oughtta ban every SUV in the city” to great cheers from the audience (many of who, I’m almost certain, bicycled 17 miles to this event, all without exhaling any Co2)! Suzuki mentions that “5800” people in Ontario, and “16,000” in Canada, die from fossil fuel pollution. He singles out Roots, The Gap, and Nike while talking about the ominous “implications” of buying cotton, wool, leather, or rubber items. He says at one point: “We just think: you earned your money, you’ve got the right to buy whatever you want and use it’. It’s apparent that, if it was up to him, we’d be deprived of that inconvenient “right”, right-quick, wouldn’t we? I suppose the greensheviks would confiscate your money, and order you to accept what they deem is fit. He disses mining (“destructive”) and sneers at salmon farms. He links 5800 Ontario deaths, Ethiopian droughts, Caribbean hurricanes, and floods in Bangladesh, claiming “they’re all reported as if they’ve got nothing to do with each other” (while failing to specifically mention what the “interconnection” is.) And in a classic showstopper, he (!) blames people who rush their sick children or parents to emergency rooms for using their SUV’s to do so - because the pollution (insert ironic pay-off gasp here) contributed to their illness in the first place, you see. (So, get a horse, my son - preferably one that does not eat, fart, or exhale Co2 - to tow your loved ones to your medicare-infected hospital waiting room) His parting words, which I think might also have been once spoken by a wise Yoda to Skywalker in Star Wars (?): “everything is connected to everything else, and therefore it’s a world filled with responsibility in everything we do”. Right, clear as mud…with all of Suzuki’s preaching and travelling though, one wonders whether his personal “pollution footprint” isn’t a tad hypocritical.
Forget the Dark Side, Suzuki could inspire an entire volume of the Far Side.