Saturday, September 26, 2015

Suzuki's "Sanctimonious Crap"

In the red corner, Trudeau. In the green corner, Suzuki. The bell sounds, it's on.

Justin Trudeau might as well have been speaking for the leaders of all the major parties when he referred to David Suzuki's policy on shutting down the Athabasca Tar Sands as "sanctimonious crap."

The renowned scientist, broadcaster and activist says Trudeau called him personally June 28, 2015 to talk about the Liberal platform on climate change that was to be revealed the next day. “I didn’t call Justin, he called me,” Suzuki said. “He wanted an endorsement and he wanted to tell me exactly what his program was.”

For the record: Justin Trudeau’s speech on the environment: June 29, 2015

The program includes support for the Keystone XL pipeline, a rejection of the Northern Gateway pipeline and a commitment to work with the provinces to establish a cap-and-trade system.

“I said, ‘Justin, stop it, you’re just being political, you just want to make headway in Alberta,’” Suzuki says he told Trudeau. “You’re for the development of the tar sands, you’re for the Keystone pipeline, but you’re against the Northern Gateway, you’re all over the damn map!”

Suzuki went on to advise Trudeau that taking the target of a 2 degree rise in temperature seriously means 80 per cent of the oil sands has to stay in the ground. Suzuki believes stopping oil sands development will mean “no debate about pipelines or expanding railways or shipping stuff offshore—none of that comes into it.”

Suzuki says this is when the exchange turned nasty. “He said, ‘I don’t have to listen to this sanctimonious crap. I proceeded to call him a twerp.”

Suzuki says he has not spoken to Thomas Mulcair or Stephen Harper about their climate change or their plans for the environment. “My feeling is that none of the parties except for the Greens is really taking it seriously.”

I have to admit being sorely tempted to set aside my commitment to the Green Party and vote strategically in this election, but I can't. Whether it's Trudeau, Mulcair or Harper, they all support the continuation of the Tar Sands fiasco bickering among themselves only as to the best way to get dilbit to "tidewater." That's the stuff of petro-politics and petro-politics today is the politics of nihilism.

I just can't do it. I cannot vote for any of them.


Toby said...

The three leaders aren't listening to you or me. They all seem to be playing some silly game and they don't care what we think. The mainstream media is complicit and most Canadians are too buried in themselves to pay any attention. It doesn't bode well.

You are right, Mound; the only leader/party speaking truth to power is May and her Greens.

Lorne said...

Thus the complete vacuum of real leadership is perfectly illustrated, Mound.

Anonymous said...

"It is with inexpressible pleasure that I reply to the attack on me this week by Dr. Michael Mann, the discredited harpy of the now almost defunct global warming movement."

The human leadership vacuum himself.


Anonymous said...

The Green fanatics are all or nothing. Since they won't get it all, what exactly is their contribution to this election and society in general? Nothing.

The NDP is the only serious party that supports carbon pricing. Green fanatics don't care because it doesn't include shutting down the tarsands by government decree (which the vast majority of voters finds ridiculous.) The news media doesn't care because the Liberal party is run by small-government market fundamentalists opposed to carbon pricing.

So when Oct 19th ushers in the next Neo-Liberal decade, making it 30 years of inaction on climate change, the Green ideologues will be responsible, in part, for helping to downplay the importance of carbon pricing during this election.

Enjoy your big fat nothing.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anon 6:17 - blow it out your centre-right NDP arse.

Gyor said...

If you listened to the French debate, May said she preferes the Oil Sands be refined in Alberta, so no the Greens don't support ending the Oilsands, they just oppose all the Pipelines. No party accept the Bloc maybe, because they don't run in Alberta will stop the Oilsands. Not that the Greens will get anywhere near power to end the Oilsands anyways.

Look think of the big picture, compared to the effect of cap and trade, continueing the Oilsands is a tiny bit of our carbon foot print, you have to sometimes expect a trade off, for the greater benifit.

Gyor said...

This is one of the reasons why the more extreme elements of the Green Movement are just as reasonable to our ecological problems as big oil in there own way, any reasonable and effective approach that doesn't conform 100% to they're idealogical perspective they fight hard. No willingness to make reasonable compromises to achieve enviromental goals.

Anonymous said...

Check out PolticalCompass.Org. They are doing a thing on the Canadian election. They put the NDP dead center, left of the Green and Liberal parties.

They aren't affected by the bullshit politicking that passes for journalism in this little backwater aristocracy.

Anonymous said...

"No willingness to make reasonable compromises to achieve enviromental goals."

Started reading "This Changes Everything." I was off-put by Klein's outright rejection of nuclear power. Seems like an ideological stance to me, not a practical one.

Let's look at the facts. Are carbon emissions destroying the planet? Yes. Can nuclear waste destroy the planet? No. Does nuclear power emit carbon? No.

So why make the struggle even more difficult than it already is?

Germany closed down its nuclear plants. In place, put up coal-fired power, which is the most dirtiest and inefficient form of power generation there is. So one (pretend) step forward, and two steps backwards!

The Mound of Sound said...

Gyor, you total and utter fuckwit. Ideological? When the last two Governors of the Bank of England propound the reality that we have to leave at least 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground, unburned, if we're to have any hope of staying within that 2C target, that's hardly Green ideological. Are you simply insensate? Mentally disturbed, perhaps? Or does your partisanship so overwhelm decency? Whatever your malfunction do me a favour and piss off.

Some of us follow what's happening. You obviously can't be bothered. If you had any grasp of the science that's been pouring in over the past three years you wouldn't be touting for Harper, Trudeau or Mulcair.

To you and that shitheel Anon, I place country and my grandkids over party any day, every day. Not one leader of the three major parties, yours bloody well included, can say the same.

Nice to see you guys have retained the age-old NDP tactic of bullying opposition. There was once a time when you actually did it while holding the moral high ground. You've given that up so ...please, just piss off.

Anonymous said...

The tarsands is certainly a blight on the country. But in a democracy, you have to get the people on board to take action. Since the people are not going to vote for drastic action, the best approach is to tackle the problem a few steps at a time.

The NDP has proposed some good first steps. For one, they vow carbon pricing. Two, they demand more upgrading/refining is done in Canada. This is better than fleets of bitumen tankers being sent off to China. It slows down the process. Three, they vow and end to the fast-tracking of pipeline approvals that the Cons and Liberals favor. Four, they oppose almost all pipelines and only have wavering support for Energy East (which looked like a better proposal before the details came out.)

So if the goal is to keep 80% in the ground, this is a goal better left unsaid by politicians. Otherwise hotheaded Albertans will throw a temper tantrum and polarize the debate (a la NEP fallacy.)

But the major question is: how much has AB already extracted? At what point in time would they reach 80%? This is something that green activists should keep track of. (Like the minutes to midnight Doomsday Clock.)

So if you can't stop a charging bull by standing in front of it, you can slow it down by jabbing some spears in its back. Stick enough in over time, and you bring it down before its too late.

Of course, all of this is academic. The Liberals are coming to power. And Trudeau has said the future of the Canadian economy is feeding China's insatiable thirst for dirty energy (to paraphrase, of course.) He even blamed Harper for bungling bitumen exports.

But to look on the bright side: Europe's economy is teetering on collapse. China's economy is teetering on collapse. Many economists warn the Fed is going to kill America's weak recovery by being too eager to raise interest rates (under political pressure.) All of this is contributing to the collapse in the price of oil, which is shutting down tarsands projects and slowing output. All of this buys time.

Not the ideal solution. But something to work with.

the salamander said...

.. get dilbit to "tidewater." That's the stuff of petro-politics.. and petro-politics today is the politics of nihilism.

EXACTLY .. Harper might as well claim he's taking the Economy - the Culture - the Concience of Canada
to Las Vegas and putting it all on a blue square after drinking & snorting on the house for 6 hours

His souless thugs, Oliver, Kent, Shea, Ashfield, Van Loan, Ray Novak, lecce and Laureen, Arthur Hamilton
just love that euphamism 'tidewater' as it eliminates marine life, habitat, ecosystems peoples & reality
from his blind 'economism' and hard on for China's cancerous Economy
that can fuel his military adventurism and twisted introverted sandbox ideology

Gyor said...

Btw this is not to say I agree with Trudeau's complete and utter ignorance in responding to Trudeau, David is a respectedfigure who has contributed much to Canada, Trudeau has contributed nothing. Disagreeing with David is fine, but it should be done respectfully. This just leaves Trudeau looking like a jerk to millions of Canadians who respect David Suzuki.

Kirby Evans said...

In the old days the Marxists used to use to term "revolutionary defeatism" to refer to the idea that you have to let the capitalist extremists run their course because only when they have destroyed things will the people see the truth of their depravity and begin to change things. In those days it never even occurred to us that the destruction of the planet itself was one of the things that could be destroyed. But revolutionary defeatism still seems to be the only way that average people can see the need for change. We now have three parties that are in varying degrees not willing to see the absolute necessity for real and radical change in our socioeconomic system - a radical realignment of our economic goals a focus, more dramatic than the change ushered in by the creation of the welfare state in the 1930s. But other than the Greens (and I don't necessarily agree with all of Green strategies but at least they are saying something), have their head in the Tar Sands and acting as though politics as usual will get us somewhere. Perhaps a massive loss on the part of the NPD will be the only thing that will bring them a little awareness that they need to revolutionize their party and move into the new millennium. EIther way, the shadow of doom is growing and only fundamental solutions will make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Funny how slimy partisan Liberals like KE want the NDP to be the party of lofty principles on the basis they will go back to getting less than 15% of the vote to pave the way for more corrupt Liberal majorities.

All these kind of people care about is winning elections. They are less principled than the Harper Cons. They think they are better because they lie to voters before screwing them over!

Junior stands for everything his father stood against: Joe Clark's decentralization and Mulroney's market fundamentalism. PET must be spinning in his grave having inadvertently unleashed such a shallow vacuous airhead on the country in his name.

The Mound of Sound said...

It's a bit creepy to experience New Dems echoing the same arguments with the same defiance and self-righteous anger as we expected from Harper's people. They rally to the defence of this same issue that is not just so morally wrong but has done more than anything else to sully our country's reputation around the world.

Perhaps progressivism is simply an outdated concept to many who nonetheless claim its mantle. Maybe we've so deflated the political spectrum that it's now just a matter of slightly different flavours of the same stuff.

Then again, it could be a reluctant admission that modern Canada can no longer bear any economic dislocation no matter how right the cause or urgent the need.

Surely it can only be a matter of time before we see the New Dems sprout their own Ezra and take on a new face. There was always an undertone of nastiness to the Dippers, a too vocal minority that loved to smear others. That seems to have weathered the transition to modernity just fine.

Scotian said...


Kirby Evans is a Liberal partisan??? Have you ever bothered to even READ his blog? He is on balance farther to the left than ANY of our national major parties, and has put in his dues throughout his life for that consistent political set of beliefs! Yet more Dipper lies and smears against any and all of its critics, especially those that they have lost from the NDP by becoming Blarified, much like religious groups do to those that dare to walk away from the faith. You know what you sound like here to me? Far too much like the "Church" of Scientology whenever any of its critics especially former members call it out for its issues!

BTW, I remember when we used leader's names and not derogatory insults to refer to them as for reasons of civility and respect for process and office whether we liked the individual or not. Now I know the Harper CPC chose to abandon that model for its power at any costs without ethics approach, but the Mulcair NDP wants to eat its cake and have it by claiming to respect Canadian values and progressiveness yet have no trouble at all embracing the same smears and nasty tools the CPC uses, and as you have clearly done here!

This is the values of the modern Dipper partisan, and is it any wonder more and more people see in them the dark reflection of the CPC partisan, ESPECIALLY wherever it touches on the Liberals and their leader?

The Mound of Sound said...

I thought I should add this one paragraph from an item in The Guardian that shows what, being on the wrong side of the fossil fuel problem, means:

"The publication last week of the Worldwide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Living Blue Planet report painted a bleak picture of the state of the world’s oceans: marine populations, including reef ecosystems, have halved in size since 1970 and some species are teetering on the brink of extinction. Coral reef cover has declined by 50% in the last 30 years and reefs could disappear by as early as 2050, the report says, if current rates of ocean warming and acidification continue. WWF estimates that 850 million people depend directly on coral reefs for their food security - a mass die-off could trigger conflict and human migration on a massive scale."

Did you get that? If the world continues to burn the known reserves of fossil fuels, especially the high-carbon types like bitumen, this is what may befall hundreds of millions of people in just a few decades. Some of you are making the same arguments along the same lines that are used to defend the coal mines of West Virginia.

Anonymous said...

Anyong said....Add to that Mound, the wonderful Atlantic Ocean which produces 40% of the oxygen we breath. It is mind stunning to observe people's reaction when I keep making that comment. My question to people who believe the deniers, say what has the Atlantic Ocean got to do with me? Dah, dah, dah. Now I am going to bat for my cousin in Nfld. They are going to be severely affected by Canada's stance on allowing American milk into this country. And, here is something else I will be called crazy about, have any of you ever thought the Americans want to own Canada and Harper is handing it to them. This all about sooner than later as well.

Anonymous said...

Anyong said....Though you might like to read this Mound. Raise your spirits a bit as it did mine. Cheers

Oil was first found near Alberta's small town of Devon way back in 1947 -- since then the town has lived and breathed fossil fuels. But that is about to change.

The community has just announced that they are going to go 100% renewable. Here's what the Mayor had to say: "We’re still trying to stick with our theme of being an energy community, it’s just we’re moving to green instead of oil and gas.”
Let Devon know they have your support by sharing this image today!

ForestEthics's photo.

Dana said...

deb Scott said...

Looks like your instincts on voting, are RIGHT ON THE MARK!
read and weep:(

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Deb - Hi, I wrote about this Friday in a post "Blobs." It does seem that we're being overtaken by events yet choosing to simply look the other way.

@ Anyong - sorry but the image didn't come through. Frankly I don't have a clue how to embed a photo in a blog post comment. If you do figure it out, please let me know the secret.

Scotian said...


I do have one issue with this matter, and that being why Suzuki held onto it until this point in the election cycle instead of being open with it from the outset, for as I read your MacLeans link that is how it seems to be happening. If I am wrong and this was already public knowledge than of course I withdraw this and the rest of the comment I am making, but if I am not, then this seems to be a calculated political action by Suzuki in the election campaign, and therefore his motives and interpretation is not in my books automatically beyond question/reproach.

Do not get me wrong here, I've respected Suzuki for all of my life for what he has done since I first met him as a child since his relatively new series Nature of Things had begun to my great fascination. I have however noticed from time to time that his sense of mission sometimes gets augmented by his, sense of self, shall we say, and I am forced to wonder if that is not a part of this here. Please note I am not challenging Suzuki on the science he is talking about nor am I saying Trudeau should not be held accountable for positions he takes that conflict with such by Suzuki, what I *AM* saying though is that this looks like a politically timed act of information release, and therefore deserves the same degree of scrutiny for motivation that any such act does by ANY such actor no matter how well respected.

If Suzuki had come out shortly after this happened and made it public I would not be saying this, but that he waited almost three months until well into this election campaign to make it public, I'm sorry, but that DOES carry a whiff of politicization with it, and that does put his motives for doing so into question.

For the record, I did NOT like writing the above, but ever since I first heard this the other day it has been bothering me, this issue of timing of information release, and I finally realized why that was, and it is for the reasons listed above. Suzuki is a respected scientist, but he is also an unabashed activist too, and while I will always respect the former aspect of him without real question, the latter part deserves the same consideration I would give any and all credible activists within their fields when it comes to their actions, and that is where the timing matter starts to bother me.

I hope I am understandable in regards to my specific point/issue here.

The Mound of Sound said...

I have your point, Scotian, but no answer. If it was somehow leaked by Suzuki to Mcleans for partisan political purposes it was certainly quite effective. The timing was powerful and served to rekindle Green Party support that might have been drifting to the strategic option. It certainly did with me. Then again I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

Anonymous said...

Anyong said: Sorry Mound can't find it any more. Another bit of news from ForestEthics, Shell is not going to drill in the Artic for the foreseeable future. Cheers

Scotian said...


I didn't expect you to have an answer, it is enough that you took my point as it was meant. I will also admit I do find it a bit ethically questionable that Suzuki felt so free in reporting a private conversation this way as well as at this time, and I have to wonder how well it would have gone over if the release had been in the reverse direction. As in Trudeau releasing information saying Suzuki got on his moral high horse and when Trudeau noted that was personally attacked as a twerp. That though is a relatively minor additional concern to the main one on the timing and purpose, which I also agree with you clearly effective within the audience it seems to have been aimed at.

In terms of aiding the Greens, it would not surprise me if that was the intended result all along, and since you are a Green supporter it is quite reasonable for you to be thinking that is no bad thing. I'm just a little bothered when those we have such high respect for deliberately abuse said respect for partisan purposes and get away with it without challenge because calling them out for it is seen as an attack on the person themselves and therefore beyond the pale. This business with Suzuki and Trudeau feels a bit too much like this for me, and especially after reading some of the Dipper reaction at Rabble and how this was so horrible of Trudeau was part of what made the timing issue gel in my mind to begin with.

Yes, I read Rabble on a semi-regular basis, I do not comment there though, given the hyper-partisanization I see in their political threads I think I would find it as enjoyable as a root canal without anesthetic (which for someone who is a mild autistic would be exceptionally painful even above the average person), but it is useful to get a read on how some of the more shall we say partisan Dipper mindsets are seeing an issue. As I have noted before I like to take my information from multiple sources and multiple viewpoints wherever possible and then synthesize the data as opposed to being someone that tends towards sole source data input and falls victim to confirmation bias corruption of thought.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Anyong, I wish I was more confident in the Shell/Arctic drilling moratorium. I've spent a bit of time lately exploring Russia's commitments on climate change/emissions control for signs that Moscow might restrain Arctic seabed drilling. It was a search in vain.

I think Shell may be waiting for the first big Russian deep seabed venture to get underway to use that as a pretext for following suit. This is, after all, Shell we're talking about - as in Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Suzuki does not walk the talk. Five kids...

The Mound of Sound said...

And how old are they, A..non? My eldest daughter played with them and she's in her 30s. We saw the world differently then as I'm sure you did too. Easy to judge though, especially when you're anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I believe the account offered by Suzuki. Recall Justin's sanctimoniously crappy Keystone Pipeline cheerleading trip to Washington ...