Recently we noted a website that lists all the things that have been blamed on climate change, from the disastrous like floods to the comic like sheep changing colour. And while it’s fun to mock the obvious lunacy of many entries on the list, it ceases being funny when the blame-it-on-climate-change crowd threatens to take a really bad situation and make it worse. To wit a CBC story on food insecurity among Canadian First Nations. The inadequacy of food supplies on First Nations reserves is a serious issue that requires a serious response, so its hijacking by the climate axe-grinders as a pretext for demanding yet more draconian climate policies, even though they will hurt First Nations communities more than just about anyone else, should be firmly resisted.
Under the headline “Climate change driving food insecurity in First Nations while government stands by, report says”, the CBC intones that “The warming climate is depleting traditional food sources in First Nations communities in Canada and making it difficult for Indigenous people to live off the land — forcing many to supplement their diets with expensive or unhealthy food imported from other parts of Canada and worsening pre-existing economic and health issues — says the report. The report calls on the government to increase financial and technical support to First Nations to help them address the effects of climate change and to strengthen national climate policies with more ambitious targets for reducing emissions.”
What, exactly, will deeper greenhouse gas cuts do to make food cheaper and more abundant in remote First Nation communities? Worse than nothing, since such policies will make every kind of fuel-dependent activity cost more, including food production, transportation and storage.
It is of course true that on average Canadian aboriginals, especially those living on reserve in remote areas, have less reliable and less healthy diets. But the leap to blaming climate change for fewer caribou and geese migrating to Peawanuck in northern Ontario is absurd. If the northern part of Canada is warming, the result will be a longer growing season, more plants, and more animals eating the plants and also each other. All of which means more to eat for those people who live there. If you put aside the mantra that all effects of climate change are bad and all bad things are caused by climate change it is manifest that whatever may be ailing Canadian aboriginals, including in the matter of diet, it’s not that the tundra is allegedly becoming more fertile.
The problem with this story and the supposed solution goes a lot deeper than mere fatuity. For a great many aboriginals living far from major southern cities, and it should be noted that the vast majority of Canadians including many aboriginals live in urban areas close to our southern border because warmth is good, the biggest hope of developing genuinely self-sustaining, independent prosperity in many generations, with all the direct and indirect health benefits that result from such prosperity, is through resource development. Especially oil and oil pipelines. Which governments have moved relentlessly to suppress because of the supposed threat of climate change.
Activists portray Canadian aboriginals as united in opposition to such projects. But it is not so and, indeed, constitutes stereotyping of a particularly disgraceful sort. The Northern Gateway Pipeline among others was supported by the vast majority of local aboriginal governments. To suggest that the best hope for them to recover their independence and dignity is for the government to strangle the economy at the behest of foreign activists then give them handouts after denying them jobs isn’t funny at all. It’s appalling.