Frustration in the gallery

by Aaron Wherry

Glen Pearson considers Monday’s unpleasantness.

What transpired yesterday is something of an indicator as to what Parliament and the country itself has come to.  Protestors felt the need to invade a sacred place; parliamentarians looked uncomfortable and somewhat unmoved; and the media raced out into the halls to grab their pictures and stories of young people being muscled out of the Parliament buildings.

We’re better than this – all of us.  The bill itself was asking us to treat climate change seriously.  We haven’t and we’ll pay for it in world opinion at Copenhagen, not to mention global devastation.  The difficult things we will face in our future – environmental degradation, terrorism, starvation, poverty – demand outrage, attention and a sense of urgency.  Parliament can’t muster up that kind of anger, except to lob our partisan attacks.  So, these young people brought it into our own ballpark, trying to give us a wake-up call.




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Frustration in the gallery

  1. And what does Robert Silver think of this?

  2. OK, I've seen enough. This guy just refuses to stop being rational. In other words, Glen Pearson for PM.

  3. Sacred?

  4. Used to be. If not sacred, then at least respected.

  5. More from Pearson's post, and he's exactly right:

    Very serious minded young hecklers in the House were tossed out, while the “professional” hecklers occupying the main seats maintain their honourable spots. We're all in collusion … and delusion. These young people at least had the courage of their convictions and it seems they believe more in Canada's environmental future than we do. The planet is in better care in their hands than our own.

  6. Hmmm let me see. I seem to remember reading an old newspaper from the late 1800's and the media was all in a uproar because one of the MP's had too much rum and threw up on his desk – then there was a fist fight between 2 other MP's and the speaker only gave them a stern lecture on the error of the ways and wouldn't throw them out – boys will be boys – ROFL – sacred, respected etc etc are all ridiculous the place has, is and alawys will be a messy, boisterous and sometimes even depressing place to practise democracy thus it was, is and will be.

    • This guy just refuses to stop being rational. In other words, psiclone for PM

    • They also burned the place down, if you recall (an earlier version to be sure). But we have had 165 years or so of progress since then, such that we now know "boys will be boys" is no excuse for anything at all. When you consider the breadth of changes that occur in only twenty years, I'd say they've had more than enough time to learn decorum.

  7. Yep, most rational posting I've seen today.

  8. we'll pay for it in world opinion at Copenhagen

    Oh no! Not the stern disapproval of jet-setting transnational activists! We're done for!

    • How exactly could one ever criticise our system, avr? What would honest criticism look like? Or is it impossible, in your opinion, that a Liberal MP could be disgusted with the House? Honestly, your post looks like the epitome of the cynicism that has turned our politics into a zoo.

    • I can't be completely certain about this, but if you toned down the anger, name-calling and sense of victimhood and instead made some arguments worth taking seriously, people might take you seriously, like they do Glen Pearson.

  9. "The bill itself was asking us to treat climate change seriously. We haven't and we'll pay for it in world opinion at Copenhagen, not to mention global devastation."

    How can we treat something seriously if it's not happening? Pearson, you can look it up and see for yourself. World is getting colder while CO2 levels increase. Which AGW models predicted that?

    And how are we going to 'pay' in Copenhagen. Will our pols and bureaucrats not be invited to trendy global warming parties? And why should we care about world opinion? Do you think Canadians want to bugger our economy so the French think better of us? I will believe Libs are taking it seriously when I see real plan to reduce our CO2 emissions substantially and not some policies that try to get us to be a bit more earnest about recycling.

      • New Scientist graph shows coldest year was 1998 and we have not approached that temp since. Which means world is getting colder.

        Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph Oct 3 '09:

        "Most people are aware that the UK Met Office has in recent years become something of a laughing stock. Its much-derided forecast that Britain would enjoy a "barbecue summer" this year was only the latest of a string of predictions that proved wildly off-target. Three years ago it announced that 2007 would be "the warmest year ever", just before global temperatures plunged by 0.7 degrees Celsius, more than the world's entire net warming in the 20th century. Last winter, it forecast, would be "milder and drier than average", just before we enjoyed one of our coldest and snowiest winters for years. And in 2009 it promised us one of the "five warmest years ever", complete with that "barbecue summer", when temperatures have been struggling to reach their average of the past three decades …….
        But what makes it even more remarkable is that one reason why those short-term forecasts are often so comically wrong is that, as the Met Office likes to boast, they are produced with the aid of the same super-computer used to provide the IPCC with its predictions of what the world's climate will be like in 100 years' time."

        • Well, this week was colder than last week, so I guess you're right. Champagne's on me!

          • I will remember champers offer if we should ever meet. :)

          • I do not know what you are talking about, I have not confused weather and climate. I only mention Met Office because of Jack M's link. Met Office does both weather and climate modeling

            Even the bbc wonders what's going on.

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8299079

          • A newspaper piece in Britain's 2009 summer ("…one reason why those short-term forecasts are so often wrong…") is about weather, whether the BBC made the correct distinction or not.

            And the fact that climate science is performed on the same computers is meaningless. The fact that the BBC wonders what's going on is meaningless.

            You suggest that Pearson "look it up" to discover that AGW isn't happening. Maybe you could share your sources with us. scf seems to believe that "whatsupwiththat.com" is of superior credibility to the IPCC. How about you?

          • Why is IPCC of superior credibility? Dr. Pachauri is railroad engineer for god's sake. I can't be bothered to jump through your hoops to try and agree on credible source but there's plenty of info out there on IPCC mistakes if you care to look.

            And while we are on how topic of how infallible IPCC is. From the BBC article I linked:

            "To confuse the issue even further, last month Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years

            Professor Latif is based at the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany and is one of the world's top climate modellers. But he makes it clear that he has not become a sceptic; he believes that this cooling will be temporary, before the overwhelming force of man-made global warming reasserts itself."

          • "Why is IPCC of superior credibility?"

            …to scf's blogger? Gosh, I don't know, I suppose it's the fact that the IPCC reflects the consensus opinion of climate science worldwide. They don't claim infallibility (nice red herring) but they have the weight of science on their side.

            So aside from your cherry-picked quotes, you don't have any sources for your assertion that AGW is a liberal conspiracy. You have nothing with which to sway my opinion. Your credibility is actually worse than that of scf. Amazing.

        • If only I were as familiar with various scientific websites as you are with pseudoscientific ones, I'd rebut.

          • His sources of scientific info are just as credible as all his other sources.

          • Please provide your standard link to media matters.

          • Please remember to fail, as usual, at rebutting any of their actual claims.

            I'd expect nothing less (or more) from you, who recently decried "shooting the messenger" here.

          • What do you mean, "let's have it?"

            You're the one that brought up MediaMatters. I merely pointed out that 1) you have never, never even attempted to rebut one of their analyses, and 2) you recently were whining here that people dismissed your sources rather than addressing their material.

            Prove me wrong dude – pick a MediaMatters piece on Global Warming and show where it's factually wrong. If they're as grossly slanted as you claim, it shouldn't take long.

          • Where's the link?

          • That particular web site is simply a handy web site that has the information aggregated.

            This is actually true, the original Mann study with the huge hockey stick was debunked several years ago.

            More recently, the following studies by Yamal in Siberia that used tree rings was shown to selectively choose trees to give them the desired result. When they finally released their data, subsequent work has shown that if they had used all the trees available at the same site and near it, then the results would have been different.

            Of course, it takes a long time to filter from the scientific community to the media, especially when it contradicts the narrative the media is trying to create.

            The third link simply reprints an article that appeared in the Financial Post, which is a good read, if you have the time, and which provides the detail of what I am saying:
            http://www.financialpost.com/opinion/story.html?i

          • That's not a rebuttal at all. He does two things:

            1. Links to a statement from Briffa himself, the guy who wrote the fraudulent paper. Wow, what a rebuttal. It's like asking a criminal if he's guilty. What is needed is peer review of the paper and the data which has only recently become available (wonder why?). That's how science works.

            2. Talks about various OTHER studies, the first one arising from the already-debunked Mann study which has since been rejected by the IPCC, and all of them requiring their own peer review, some of them may have scientific validity and some not, some of them with small error distributions and some not, some of them actually showing temperatures have not risen much at all.

            Neither of these things are relevant to the argument.

  10. "The bill itself was asking us to treat climate change seriously"

    At least we know now we can't take Pearson seriously. The bill is a complete fantasy, trying to solve a non-existent problem with an impossible solution.

    • "Trying to solve a non-existent problem with an impossible solution."

      If that's what opponents of the bill believe, then let them say that. But they aren't saying that. Instead they pretend to be concerned at the same time that they are frustrating action legislatively and administratively. That's at least intellectually dishonest, and Pearson is right to call them on it.

      • While I agree that you are right about them being intellectually dishonest, at the same time I don't think that's what Pearson was doing with comments like "The difficult things we will face in our future – environmental degradation, terrorism, starvation, poverty – demand outrage, attention and a sense of urgency. "

    • And this would be one of the more irrational postings I've seen today.

  11. Hear, hear.

    It's the sheer frivolity of the climate alarmists that surprises me… If they actually believed what they preached they would be doing everything in their power to severely limit their own carbon footprint… but they don't, so they aren't. I'm a "climate change" skeptic but I still have a carbon footprint much smaller than most of these "activists" for the simple reason that I am economical. When my kids start lecturing me about saving the world, I tell them to turn off the lights and stop with the 20 minute showers. The original conservationist is the guy who pays the bills. In my house, that's me.

    • It's not Canadian teenagers taking showers with the lights on that's harming the planet, it's Chinese coal-fired electricity plants (and such). If we don't have national, regional, and civilisational climate goals, the Chinese will never act. It's ridiculous to accuse activists and politicians of being part of the problem merely because they fly around. This is not a personal ethical issue (whatever your kids may imply), it's a problem of global policy. Unless you're cool with leaving the planet all screwed up when you depart, in which case you should say so.

      • Bill C-311 proposes to reduce Canada's greenhouse emissions 25% by 2020. I agree that it's not about Canadian teenagers taking showers with lights on – to make proposed emissions target, it will be more like Canadian teenagers taking showers as long as they want because there won't be any hot water or lights to waste because we only get electricity 6 hours a day between 23:00 and 05:00.

          • I agree. C-311 supporters are fortunate msm is obsessed with minutiae of activist with blood on face 'scandal' and not the details of this Bill.

      • As recently as 2005, Canada had the highest energy consumption per capita in the G8 (go to http://earthtrends.wri.org/searchable_db/index.ph… if you're interested).

        We were 9th overall in the world. For all our preaching about carbon footprints, we stink.

        Oh, and as for Jolyon: increased incidences of extreme weather conditions are not mother nature trying to prune the population; they're the effects of climate change.

        • Consuming energy is not a bad thing. It's one of the biggest reasons why this is a better country to live in than most places in the world.

          And no, extreme weather conditions are not the effects of climate change, because global climate has not actually changed to any significant degree, there has been no global warming since 1998, not that the eco-alarmists have bothered to notice.

          • That’s ridiculous. Lighting a mound of coal on fire does no one any good. High energy consumption does not make Canada a good place to live. The fact that Canada enjoys a high standard of living explains why our consumption is so high. Energy consumption is not an end, it is a means to an end. If we can achieve the same ends with less means, we increase our efficiency and our standard of living.

          • You are saying that I am over-generalizing when I am telling Lynn that she is over-generalizing.

            I have never disputed If we can achieve the same ends with less means. All I am saying is that demonizing energy consumption itself is ridiculous.

            I see absolutely no reason to believe that it is a bad thing that we have the highest energy consumption per capita in the G8. We have the coldest climate in the G8 meaning we have more heating costs, we have the smallest population density meaning we require more travel and infrastructure, and we have a high standard of living which requires energy consumption.

      • You prove my point when you claim it's nothing to do with showers and lights. If you believe that wasteful consumption is the cause of the crisis then somehow, somewhere you have to connect the dots between the personal and the political. Even though I have little enough control of my Canadian teenagers – who live right here in my own house – I'm afraid my influence on Chinese electricity consumption is considerably even less.
        But that's okay with me because I don't want or need to control Chinese carbon emissions.

        It's ridiculous to accuse activists and politicians of being part of the problem merely because they fly around. While I didn't make that specific accusation, I don't see how it is ridiculous either. If they believe what they are saying, then they are adding carbon to the atmosphere at a furious rate with the goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere. If that's not ridiculous, I don't know what is.

        <cont>

        • For starters, I don't think that wasteful consumption is the cause of the crisis. Consumption itself is the problem, but the idea is that it could be mitigated (or the problems delayed) if we consumed in a more environmentally friendly fashion, e.g. with nuclear energy instead of coal and oil.

          I'm afraid my influence on Chinese electricity consumption is considerably even less. But that's okay with me because I don't want or need to control Chinese carbon emissions.

          The point being that we have little power individually but a lot of power collectively. China can't afford to buck the West if the West gets serious. Big "if," of course, but that's obviously the concept.

          If they believe what they are saying, then they are adding carbon to the atmosphere at a furious rate with the goal of reducing carbon in the atmosphere. If that's not ridiculous, I don't know what is.

          Any idea how many people fly around the world every day? A few thousand activists converging on Copenhagen makes precisely zero difference, unless you buy into all the ethical hype (as you appear to have done, albeit negatively).

          • For starters, I don't think that wasteful consumption is the cause of the crisis. ____You're very nearly unique in that opinion. The nuclear energy you propose as the alternative energy source has it's own bundle of problems and, of course, an incredibly long lead time before coming online even when approved. Personally, I agree that nuclear energy is a good idea but I don't see many climate activists beating that drum. And I still see no genuine proposals to actually meet the targets that these protesters are insisting upon. ____China can't afford to buck the West if the West gets serious. Big "if," of course, but that's obviously the concept. Yes, but getting serious requires more than just saying "I"M SERIOUS". It requires real and drastic changes to public policy right now and I don't see anyone ( Liberal, Conservative, Green, NDP or Wild-Eyed Hippie) who's proposing any serious program to achieve the goals that they absolutely insist they want to achieve. You think China's gonna take you seriously? You can't even convince me that you're serious. __

          • You're very nearly unique in that opinion.

            Yeah, but even the environmentalists believe in Progress. After all, as upright Progressives they can't very well endorse the 17th century. But an economy of consumption and permanent expansion, on which the lives of who knows how many billion people now depend, must exhaust itself in the end, no matter how economical we attempt to be with our resources. Seems to me we can either have six billion people living extravagantly (or 1 billion living extravagantly and 5 billion barely getting by, as at present) or twelve billion living economically: either way, the planet can't sustain it, and eventually we'll enter an era of mass death. Malthus redux, in spades. But it's like Rochefoucauld says: neither the sun nor death can be stared at very long, and we comfort ourselves against the coming apocalypse with single-ply toilet paper.

      • Unless you're cool with leaving the planet all screwed up when you depart, in which case you should say so. I suspect that the world will be more or less exactly as screwed up when I leave it as it was when I got here. I'd like to think I'm making some modest improvements in my own small space but – let's be realistic – it's prolly gonna be statistically insignicant in the grand scheme of things. Hemingway might say that I have "attained humilty."

  12. Liberal policy… sign any Treaty they can without any thought to achieving it, or any clue on how to pay for it.

    Do absolutely nothing.

    Whine about the next gov't for not honouring the impossible.

    insist we sign up for more ridiculous things.

  13. Yeah, well, they were all a bunch of yahoos and drunks in the late 1800's. Apparently that means it's OK to be yahoos and liars now. Jesus, what's with the historical relativism? We're talking about decent behaviour, pure and simple.

    • "…what's with the historical relativism? "

      Not to mention cynicism.

    • So we can all agree that the nostalgia for our civilized parliaments of yore, frequently exhibited in the comments of late, is pure fiction?

      • A very useful fiction, perhaps. But if you check out the online Hansard, from as recently as the late 1990's, the tone is way better than today. I'll wager dollars to doughnuts it was way better back in 1890. In fact I recall glancing at a few of Macdonald's debates and, while the Government wasn't any more forthcoming than they are today, it's light-years ahead of where we're at now, in terms of civility and in terms of the use of language. Regardless, my point is that there's no need to invoke the glory (or disrepute) of our ancestors: civility is not relative.

        • True, arguing for civility is the important point; however, cursing in order to make the point is hypocritical.

  14. Personal humility is a virtue, public humility is uncivic.

    • Personal humility is a virtue, public humility is uncivic.

      It's got a better track record than national hubris.

      • Got an example? To my mind national hubris is one effect of people throwing up their hands and saying, "Oh, just do whatever, I'll be cultivating my garden." Which is what most people do, to be sure, but I'm damned if I'm going to applaud laziness.

        • Got an example?

          Be serious. How about any instance of imperialism, expansionism, genocide or oppression in human history? Just to get you started.

          To my mind national hubris is one effect of people throwing up their hands and saying, "Oh, just do whatever, I'll be cultivating my garden." Which is what most people do, to be sure, but I'm damned if I'm going to applaud laziness.

          Who is asking for your applause, exactly? I can't tell whether you are lamenting apathetic people in the abstract or whether you have a particular quarrel with some particular group or… what? Can you maybe give me an example of national hubris arising from apathy?

          • How about any instance of imperialism, expansionism, genocide or oppression in human history? Just to get you started.

            Well, actually most of the time you get all that bad stuff it's because the people approved of it enthusiastically. E.g., I dunno, the Roman or British or Sassanid empires. Nowadays, with our profoundly moral view of the world, the bad stuff (which we take to be bad) happens when people stop caring one way or another, e.g. the Iraq War. Nobody who thought about it for more than a few minutes thought it was a great idea, but most people couldn't really care less.

            Anyway, this is a rather involved theory of mine and not worth wrangling about.

            Specifically, I think people should either have some crackpot theory that global warming isn't happening, advocate some sensible policy, or not say anything. Making the case for not doing anything in spite of the problem (assuming one acknowledges it) is to have the fun of civic participation and take no responsibility for what to do.

          • No American who thought about it for more than a few minutes thought it was a great idea, but most people couldn't really care less. The result is global economic meltdown and a $1.5 trillion deficit ____I think you're misremembering the initial level of support for that Iraq adventurism. I can't Google right now (because the Internet HATES ME ) but I think public opinion was pretty strongly onside with the Iraq invasion (against all reason, I agree).

          • Specifically, I think people should either have some crackpot theory that global warming isn't happening, advocate some sensible policy, or not say anything.

            Quit trying to limit my choices :) I think one can be agnostic about global warming and still comment on the often bizarre logic of global warming policy issues.

  15. By the way, skeptics, it's completely irrelevant in this context whether you want to continue to rely on conspiracy science instead of overwhelming evidence because there isn't any debate on that point in parliament. The Government of Canada has committed again and again to take action, but without the action taking place.

    That includes the current government which signed an accord with Mexico and the U.S. as recently as August that incuded this statement:

    "We recognize climate change as one of the most daunting and pressing challenges of our time and a solution requires ambitious and coordinated efforts by all nations. Building on our respective national efforts, we will show leadership by working swiftly and responsibly to combat climate change …" (See http://tinyurl.com/yg9ca2z for the whole 3 amigos statement.)

    So given that commitment to work swiftly, is Pearson not correct in suggesting parliament is failing by deferring an issue on which we have had international commitments since before some of the protestors were born?

  16. There is nothing particularly unusual about a government paying lip service to some issue that it has no intention of actually acting on. Obviously, they can't admit that is what they are doing; the whole point of the lip service is conceal your lack of action while you kick the can down the road. That is pretty much what every western government (including the Liberals when they were in office) has done so far on climate change (Kyoto was a cynical ruse at best).

    What doesn't follow is that just because a bunch of people show up to protest on behalf of some cause they really, really care about, they have some sacred right to get what they want. Millions of Canadians don't think climate change is important enough to protest about.

    • I think you're missing the point, at least as far as the protesters go. I doubt they believe they should just get their way – give them a little credit. What they are probably hoping for is to influence public debate, get some of those millions of Canadians wondering…just what are those silly buggers up too? And why? Unfortunately and perhaps predictably, the focus [ until this post] here at any rate, has been on their behaviour, right to protest, hooliganism and so on. I've no idea if this kind of protest is effective in promotting a cause…but i salute them for trying.

      • Of course that is what they are trying to do and I can appreciate they are frustrated with their lack of success. But, hey, no one has to listen to them. Anyone can choose to protest and anyone can choose to ignore the protesters. If after their best efforts, most Canadians don't care enough to hold Parliament's feet to the fire, then it's over.

        And look, the rules of the gallery are not subtle or easy to misunderstand. If I want to heckle in Parliament, then I have to get elected. If not I should exercise my right to free speech outside the gallery. If I ignore that the officers may remove me and if I refuse to obey, they can use reasonable force. There was nothing unfair about what happened to the protesters.

  17. I believe it was John A. MacDonald who was drunk and used to throw up.

    • Ahh – any news of the legendary Sir John A Barf bucket?

  18. Jesus, what's with the historical relativism?

    That is a highly offensive remark to many people, and using it while professing the importance of civility is hypocritical. Civility is not just about what you personally find offensive.

    • If you're that easily offended, just wait 'til you reach the real world.

      • So, in your real world, you can be disrespectful of people's religious convictions but not their political convictions? If you want to talk the talk, you should walk the walk.

        As an aside, its odd how many left wing people find it necessary to cry for the rights of Muslims or Buddhists, but have no problem being offensive toward Christians.

        • Don't pretend you're more Christian than I am, Ed. I have a perfect right to the mildly blasphemous Christian vocabulary. Nobody likes a whiner, Ed. Nobody likes a victim complex.

          • No pretenses at all, I am not a practising Christian, but I do recognize offensive expressions and try to avoid them regardless of the creed they offend, whenever I am in public discourse. That was my point, and the aside was not directed at you, it was just an aside. If encouraging people to be civil makes me look like a whiner in the eyes of some people, so be it.

          • In future I suggest encouraging civility without citing your own delicate sensibility.

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