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We're Only In It For The Money: Morally Bankrupt Canada's Slow Descent Into Pariah Status

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Willing To Do Almost Anything For A Buck, Once Proud Nation Now Opposes Ban On Both Endangered Bluefin Tuna & Bottom Trawling (All The While Promoting The Oil Sands With A Passion)

This piece originally appeared on March 18th, 2010 on the MikesAndDislikes site here and on the website of local Vancouver paper The Georgia Straight here.

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Remember when Canada used to take morally courageous stands on issues and was well-respected for it? Remember when it was America on the wrong side of so many issues, rather than Canada? And remember when the lust for profits didn't necessarily trump all else in every decision this country made?

Well, I've got something new for you to all remember and it's something, when the time comes, I sure hope no one forgets: When you read about the complete collapse of the Atlantic bluefin tuna population and its eventual extinction in a few short years from now, remember that it was Canada, as much as any other nation (aside from Japan), that was responsible.

Who gives a *$%# about bluefin tuna, you ask?

Well, short answer, certainly not Canada. And if you did ask such a question then you're most likely a strong supporter of this country's current Conservative government and you probably should just stop reading here.

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However, for those of you who do care but don't necessarily follow all the goings on at meetings of groups like the U.N. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), let me fill you in.

CITES is currently in the middle of an important meeting and just today (March 18th, 2010) voted on a proposal to ban the export of bluefin tuna. The proposal failed.

Some would argue that in order to let the stock replenish itself what is actually needed is a complete ban on catching these huge fish, but, sadly, even with both the European Union and America backing it, not even today's proposed limited ban was able to pass.

And what about Canada? Well, the Canadian government's position is quite clear and can be summed up rather succinctly (and I paraphrase): "Screw the tuna, let's make some more money while we still can!"

Bluefin stocks may be down 85% from their peak and on an unbridled path to almost-certain extinction, but why let that spoil a few more good years of fishing, right?

Seriously, it was really terrific to see the world once again step up to the plate and forcefully say "Let's do nothing". Just like at the U.N. climate change conference in Copenhagen a few months back.

Consistent To A Fault

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The one thing you can say about this Stephen Harper-led government is that it is quite consistent. That is, when it comes to the environment our government is consistently opposed to doing anything concrete to make things better. Not if it'll cost us a thing economically.

Four years ago it was a ban on bottom trawling that our country took a bold, strong stand against. And it was an especially brave stand when you consider that the world's fish stocks are forecast to disappear by the year 2050 and that bottom trawling is considered one of the main contributing causes.

Why would Canada not care about such a thing, you ask? Well, simply put, because Canada's fishing fleet still makes big profits off of bottom trawling, of course.

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Mike Cowie is a 42-year-old freelance writer, who lives together with his wife and son just outside of Vancouver, B.C. After spending 15 years living, travelling and working overseas Mike returned to live in Canada back in 2004. His final trip, (more...)
 

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