Welcome to COP17 Peter Kent!

By Karen Rooney

It should be no surprise to you by now, dear readers, that the Canadian agenda in COP17 has been dictated by polluting industries and tar sands lobbyists.

So if I were to tell you that Peter Kent started his stay in Durban with a bang yesterday, when he announced that Canada would not support a second period of the Kyoto Protocol, I would expect no gasps of surprise. After years of hiding behind weak excuses and blaming our inability to meet emissions targets on developing nations, Canada has no excuses left now that China and other nations have agreed to support a legally binding agreement. We at the CYD knew that today would be a bit of a rough day for him  – lots of international criticism and all – so we thought we should do our best to cheer him up a little.

Today, the Canadian Youth Delegation partnered with the Indigenous Environmental Network and members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers to welcome our now infamous Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, to Durban. A receiving party for our (dis)graced minister was held at the entrance to the International Convention Center this morning.

Delegates from international parties were greeted by cheery tar sands advocates who were merely trying to make the point that Peter Kent and the Government of Canada see nothing wrong in openly and explicitly negotiating on behalf of polluters – so why should they?

Media was on hand to snap photos of our snazzy suits, which detailed the corporate sponsorship of the tar sands and Canada’s close ties with industry.  Delegates poked and prodded bags of bitumen while learning about the stalemate Canada is imposing on the negotiation process. Tourist brochures advertising the untapped potential of the tar sands were distributed en masse.  As active participants in the COP17 process, we’ve all been here for a few weeks now…and we know how hard it can be to be away from home. That’s why we decided to bring Peter Kent’s home here to Durban. Everyone was invited to get a little sneak peek at why Canada’s scenic tar sands reign supreme in Canadian climate policies.

Sadly, the guest of honor decided that it was his party and he would cry if he wanted to – choosing once again to sulk in the corner and ignore the voices of youth, labor and impacted communities.

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