I’m not as dumb as I look – Feds can’t get away with their lies

By Daniel T’seleie

I’ve decided the Canadian negotiating team are either liars or incompetent. Our delegation had a meeting with the negotiator today, and I’m pretty sure he lied to my face.

Some background is warranted to explain such a strong statement.

The federal government’s position at last year’s UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen was influenced by the concerns that they might have to give more money to Aboriginal communities in Canada if they signed a global climate change treaty.

The feds were concerned that they might have to give northern communities more money for climate change adaptation. “Adaptation” means dealing with the impacts of climate change. For example, Tuktoyaktuk’s shoreline is eroding very quickly, largely because of climate change, and putting barriers out there to prevent the erosion is a form of climate change adaptation.

There are many different types of adaptation, from dealing with shorter ice-road seasons to upgrading building foundations that are on melting permafrost. Adaptation is something that is a big concern in our northern communities.

The feds adaptation funding is running out this year, and so far they haven’t made any announcements to extend the funding.

These federal hesitations to fund adaptation projects in northern Aboriginal communities came to light last month in a story by the Canadian Press. Through an access to information request, they got a memo from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade to last year’s negotiating team. Here’s an interesting excerpt from the memo,

“There is a possible link between an agreement at Copenhagen on international funding for adaptation and an increased demand for funding by indigenous groups in the Arctic.”

Anyways, I decided to ask this year’s negotiating team about this leak memo. Specifically, I asked them if their position here in Cancun’s negotiations are being influenced by any similar concerns about funding northern Aboriginal communities.

The lead negotiator’s response told me that he is “not aware of that memo.”

“I have never seen it,” he said.

Lies. All lies.

I refuse to believe that he is not aware of this memo, I’m not as dumb as I look. But maybe I’m being too harsh. I have been wrong before (at least that’s what people tell me).

If he’s telling the truth, and he has actually never heard of the memo, then the federal government is even more inept than even northerners would believe.

There is an army of bureaucrats backing these negotiations, and all types of international relations the federal government engages in. I’ve worked in government policy, and I know how these things work. Senior bureaucrats (like Canada’s lead negotiator) get huge binders full of briefing notes that include information like the memo in question. These briefing binders are regularly updated, but the background content is always kept somewhere in the memos and briefing notes.

Even if this particular memo has been removed from his briefing binder, it was reported on by national press (that’s where I heard about it). The feds have employees who scan the news, and summarize any stories that are relevant for their bosses. A story like this one would surely have made been brought to the attention of Canada’s negotiating team.

So I find it really hard to believe the negotiator has never heard of this memo.

I shouldn’t be surprised. This guy’s taking his orders from a government that regularly lies to us about climate change.

The feds said they would regulate greenhouse gas emissions starting at the beginning of this year. That was a lie. They have set greenhouse gas reduction targets that they said they would meet, and then changed them later on. That was a lie. They said they would follow along with the USA on climate policies, but when the USA’s Environmental Protection Agency recently said they were going to regulate industrial greenhouse gas emissions Canada’s government said they wouldn’t. So there’s another lie.

It’s bad enough this government is selling out my culture, and selling out my future along with the future of all other young people in this country, but they shouldn’t lie to me about it.

My cousin Dean recently shared with me some words of wisdom he heard from his Grandfather, “your words should fly straight like an arrow to the sun.”

The feds should take this advice. If they don’t care about my culture or my future, they should at least look me in the eye and tell me that.

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