Climate Change is Not a Politically Partisan Issue
The idea that climate change was almost considered “partisan” should concern all of us
Opinions / September 11, 2019
Here are some facts that we know to be true thanks to science: We breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. We need carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals such as calcium (in addition to clean air, proper exercise, and a good night’s rest) to survive and function.
Now imagine if saying those things in a political debate was considered “partisan” by the governing body of your country’s election processes. You would think everyone in charge had lost their heads, right?
Unfortunately, that almost happened in Canadian politics recently. Thanks to the work of scientists from around the world, we know climate change is a very real issue, we know that it is being caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions (primarily carbon dioxide), and we know that this increase in emissions is caused largely by the consumption of fossil fuels by humans.
These are indisputable facts that have been proven by scientific analysis, but because Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, expressed doubts about the scientific validity of climate change, Elections Canada issued a warning to various party leaders that referring to climate change as real or an emergency could be seen as arguing against Bernier’s political opinion and thus could be considered “partisan.”
Bernier’s People’s Party of Canada was formed last year when he left the Conservative Party after finishing second in leadership to Andrew Scheer, as he believed that the party was too “morally and intellectually corrupt to be reformed.” His party’s platform includes charming items like calling Bill C-16—which adds gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds for discrimination—“part of a trend to force Canadians to express support for the existence of various gender identities beyond the biological categories of male and female.” This indicates that this party is an extremely right wing party, even in comparison with the Conservative Party, that exists on the fringes of public opinion.
While, in the wake of Trump’s presidency, we definitely should not dismiss this problem, it is a good idea to remember that Maxime Bernier does not represent Canadian politics as a whole. In fact, the majority of party leaders have strongly condemned the idea of climate change being a partisan issue. Green Party leader Elizabeth May compared the idea to having doctors register as a third party in order to warn against the harms of smoking. And rightly so.
The fact is, whether Maxime Bernier believes in climate change or not, the health of our planet is very much on the forefront of many Canadians’ minds. In the past couple of years, B.C. alone has seen devastating wildfires that have turned skies across the province smoky grey instead of blue.
This poses a real threat for anyone who might have breathing issues such as asthma, and should not under any circumstances be seen as normal, and yet Maxime Bernier would have us simply sweep this under the rug and use our tax dollars to fund more pipelines that would pose an even greater harm to not only our coastlines, but our planet as a whole. If Elections Canada was right, and climate change could be considered a partisan issue, than I – and many others – will gladly call ourselves partisans for the sake of our planet.