From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Climate change and Harper's anti-refugee agenda

 In October of 2009, the president of the Maldives held that country’s first underwater Cabinet meeting. This media event drew international attention to the Maldives’ precarious position as a low-lying nation of islands in the Indian Ocean: within the next 100 years, rising sea levels could make the country uninhabitable . 
 For more than 20 years, governments have been aware that climate change may lead to the forced migration of millions of people.(2) With the effects of climate change becoming increasingly apparent in some parts of the world, the fear of mass migration may escalate within the international community.;Climate Change and Forced Migration: Canada’s Role - Library of Parliament Research Publications

While the numbers vary greatly reports agree that climate change will lead to an explosion in the number of people seeking refuge internationally. Projections have from tens of millions up several hundred million  people facing annual flooding from rising sea levels by 2050, however we needn't wait until then to see the impact climate change will have.

Many Island nations in the South Pacific are rapidly becoming uninhabitable, unable to support agriculture as salt water percolates from the ground. In some cases they can no longer bury their dead as the water table has risen to the point that coffins literally pop out of the ground. Waves are washing farther inland all the time forcing families to move inland several times in the last few years.  Families are being torn apart and society is beginning to break down with some choosing to leave and others refusing to abandon the only homes and way of life the have ever known.

The conclusion from the backgrounder quoted at the top states "Best estimates suggest that hundreds of millions of people could be on the move in the coming decades due to the impacts of climate change. Canada has an opportunity now to plan an orderly and effective response to the coming crisis."

 Now a compassionate leader would see this and move heaven and earth to a) lessen the impacts of climate change and b) cushion the blow for those forced from their homes through no fault of their own. Of course Harper not being compassionate has chosen the opposite approach championing policies that ramp up climate change and demonizing refugees in an attempt to condition Canadians into accepting a crackdown on those most vulnerable to his policies.

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