• The Low Down

Will Canadians see through parties’ corporate propaganda?

Last month’s landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which UN Secretary -General Antonio Giterres called a code red for humanity, should place climate change as a major issue in this election.


Drawing on more than 14000 scientific studies, the report found “Global warming is dangerously close to spiralling out of control” and “humans are unequivocally to blame.” To be fair, the report should have prefaced that with rich humans. Canada’s greenhouse emissions are slightly less than all of Africa’s combined. Canada [has] a population three per cent of Africa’s; it should be clear where the blame lies.


Unsurprisingly this is not a reality any of the parties are willing to talk about. Explaining to Canadians that we are using a disproportionate amount of the earth’s resources and carbon budget is not a popular idea, despite concern about climate change polling as a leading issue.


Since climate change emerged as an important topic over three decades ago, Canada has alternated between a Liberal and Conservative government.


The Conservatives have done everything they can to downplay the severity of the issue and delay action. At a policy convention earlier this year, 54 per cent of their delegates voted against including “climate change is real" and” the party is willing to act” in their policy book. Meanwhile the Liberals, with major corporate backing and a slick PR machine, have convinced many Canadians they are best placed to lead on this issue. The buying of the Trans Mountain pipeline and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies (increase of 200 per cent in 2020 from 2019), will apparently help pave the way to a green future.


Another urgent issue evaded by the leading parties is the obscene increase in wealth for Canada’s richest during this pandemic. As millions of Canadians have struggled with economic precarity, Canada’s billionaires saw their net worth increase by $78 billion. Yet three major parties – the Bloc, Liberals, and Conservatives – all voted against a modest one per cent wealth tax on individuals worth more than $20 million proposed by the NDP. The unwillingness of the major parties to take on corporate power and the influence they exert on our political process has placed our already limited democracy on life support.


Polls have shown that Canadians are more likely to support bold transformative climate action if it is linked to tackling inequality, economic insecurity, poverty, and job creation. Hopefully this time Canadians will see through the corporate propaganda that will no doubt emerge to convince us to trust in the system and parties that have led us down this path.


Vagner Castilho is a resident of Wakefield.