Friday, March 09, 2012

Suzuki Vs. The Canadian Senate

Amidst all the rhetorical hippy kicking and general wingnuttery in the Senate over Northern Gateway and the tar sands recently (for example Senator Finley and his "It should never be considered a charitable act to attack Canada's oilsands" line), Tory Senator Larry W. Smith issued a press release (on March 7, to be exact) from which I excerpt the following:

“This debate is about Canada’s economic sovereignty” stated Senator Smith. “The question we face is fundamental. Do we with natural resources that form 9.5% of our economy’s GDP, have the right to decide how we develop the riches our nation is blessed with,” questioned Senator Smith. “Or, are we willing to abdicate that right and grant it to those in other nations?”

“US foundations gave 1.5 million to David Suzuki’s group to produce a brochure called “Why You Shouldn’t Eat Farmed Salmon”. Is it a coincidence that Statistics Canada reported a 22.5 million dollar decline in BC salmon fishing revenue in 2009? Think this is just about the environment? Think again. This is about business. It is about promoting American business” stated Senator Smith.

The notion that a single pamphlet from Suzuki and co. could bring about a decline in the B.C. Salmon fishery is ridiculous on the face of it.  However, the foundation decided that a response to Senator Smith was in order. 

Senator Smith's news release also contained numerous errors. His claim about declining revenues from salmon fishing demonstrates confusion between salmon fishing and salmon farming. In fact, much of the drop in revenue from salmon fishing has been attributed to the rapid drop in world salmon prices caused by the glut of farmed salmon that entered the marketplace in the 1990s. If the Senator meant to refer to drops in salmon farming revenues, he should know that those have been driven by oversupply in the marketplace by the salmon farming industry in Chile and by global economic crises, not by environmental concerns.

A lot of foaming and empty threats from the Senate, methinks,signalling their own frustration with the way the pipeline wars have been going lately rather than any serious attempt to change tax laws regarding Canadian environmental groups.

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