Tony Iallonardo: Canada’s reputation fades from green to gray

• January 2, 2012
Canadian Maple leaf in the snow

Creative Commons: Denis Collette, 2008

There was a time when Canada, symbolized by the maple leaf, was a “green,” environmentally conscientious neighbor. Remember, in the 1980s, Canada came knocking on America’s door, rightfully demanding that the United States curb the sulfur dioxide emissions causing the acid rain that was killing Canada’s lakes and streams.

But today, alarms are going off up north. Increasing capture by polluter interests, Canada’s sliding into shades of gray. Experts say Ontario could lose its beloved polar bears because of a warming climate. World polar bear expert Ian Stirling, University of Alberta, citing Arctic ice loss at 10 percent per decade since 1979, says it’s unlikely this iconic animal will survive on the Ontario and Manitoba shores of Hudson Bay in 20 to 30 years.

Another study predicts trouble for caribou. Some of Canada’s caribou face the possibility of local extinction because of industrial development in northeastern Alberta and the lack of effective habitat protection. Woodland caribou is listed as a threatened species, provincially and federally. “The recently released draft recovery strategy allows for 95 percent of woodland caribou habitat in northeastern Alberta to be lost in order to promote oil sands development,” the Pembina Institute has warned.

Then there’s cod. Canada had to impose a moratorium on cod fishing off the coast of Newfoundland because the cod fishery collapsed, some say because of lax government oversight, poorly-managed over-fishing and exploitation.

Is Canada asleep? No, Canada is in fact very much awake and very busy working on behalf of polluters.

Read more: National Wildlife Foundation >>


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