Sunday, February 11, 2007

It’s time the Flat Earth Society had its due

Tom Blowback’s latest weekend missive attacks media coverage of the most authoritative report on climate change ever made public. It was authored by 2,500 of the world’s leading climate scientists.

His basic point was the reporting was one-sided – where were the climate change deniers? How sloppy, he said.

Well, there’s a simple reason why – the consensus, actually, is one-sided and most observers, even the-not-too-diligent media types, are now generally aware that these doubters are a tiny minority in the science community and most can be easily demonstrated to be funded by big oil and other non-renewable energy interests like Exxon.

This has been well demonstrated. They have been exposed, debunked, outed.

Their last hurrah in Canada was last year when some 60 signatories sent a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper urging him to ignore the legitimate science and overwhelming evidence.

As it turns out, only 19 of the signatories are Canadian (speaking to the American base of this organized, funded denial campaign). One example of the Canadians to sign (as outlined at, Ross McKitrick, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute was one of the signatories, received $120,000 from ExxonMobil over the last three years.

A few days after Prime Minister Harper received that letter, another came from 90 of Canada's most senior climate scientists and oceanographers. This second letter cited "an increasing urgency to act on the threat of climate change", and called upon the government to develop a national policy on climate change and strategies to adapt to what it said was "the inevitable changes that will affect us all".

As most Canadians understand, global climate change caused by human activity is real and must be addressed. That's why Harper is running hard to catch up to the issue.

To give the Exxon-funded deniers more media bandwith would simply be a tragedy. They’ve had too much space already.

It would be like giving equal air time to the Flat Earth Society.

We’re not sure who Tom is trying to impress.

It sure won’t be his children and grandchildren.


The Mountain Avenue opinion and editorial typing school demonstrated again last week how totally out of touch they are with the Manitobans whose political and policy views they are trying to influence.

Former city hall reporter, now editorialist, Dave O’Brien launched a tirade on Gary Doer’s convention speech last week – specifically his comments about the Tories’ propensity for privatization.

O'Brien states that when Doer pointed out that McFadyen would undoubtedly take Manitoba Hydro down the privatization road, it was nothing more than a scare tactic.

Huey McFadyen highlighted in his own bios that he sat around the cabinet table and helped orchestrate the sale of MTS.

O’Brien stated the issue is now “so politicized” that we can never find out objectively if actually privatizing Hydro would be good or bad.

He asks the wrong question. It's not about looking at studies and reports. It's about motivation. And the motivation behind privatizing MTS was not efficiency, but greed.

Undervalued stocks led to a very successful public offering, and lots of Manitobans made money, to be sure. But that money was made off of value created by decades of ordinary Manitobans’ investments – you, us, our parents, our grandparents. And that’s all gone.

On top of it, it has led to increased rates in many areas outside Winnipeg. This is in stark contrast to SaskTel, providing quality service at low rates.

The motivation for privatizing Hydro would not be efficiency. Regardless of the outcome of a dozen reports it would be the same, greed.

The chink in McFadyen’s tin armour is his history. As we noted he has admitted to a key role in organizing the sale of MTS. He was one of Filmon’s top advisors when Filmon first promised not to sell MTS and then did just the opposite after the 1995 election.

Then there's Hugh’s own history with the Mike Harris government as a consultant on deregulating Ontario Hydro – which was not successfully fully privatized due to public outrage. But it was chopped up and Ontario’s power system is a true mess as a result – including outrageous power rates.

So when the Premier speaks about the Tories selling Manitoba Hydro, it's not a scare tactic it's a reference to past performance by Tories. It's in their blood.

O’Brien and company can try to sell Hydro privatization to the broad public. But we think that dog won’t hunt.

Note to Mr. O'Brien: it's not a scare tactic when it's true.