On October 5 the Hill Times ran an Op Ed by Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu that began nostalgically “When I worked in the Chinese Embassy in Canada 20 years ago I did not expect that 20 years later, the temperature in Ottawa could exceed 30 degrees Celsius as early as late May.” Which is odd because it happened regularly back then. In 1998 the temperature in Ottawa exceeded 30 degrees Celsius on May 16. In 1999 it happened on May 30 and 31. In 2001 it did so as early as early May, specifically the 2nd and 3rd. And in 2004 it hit that mark on May 14. But the ambassador wasn’t interested in the truth, and since the Hill Times did not print our reply to his disingenuous missive we present it here.
In our letter we noted that the Ambassador must have lived in a permanent state of astonishment. But he also speaks of how “Climate change is exerting increasing impact on people’s lives”. So perhaps his memory failed him as to specifics but such temperatures in the last two decades do represent a departure from earlier cooler and more verdant conditions in our city.
Nope. In 1989 it happened on May 18 and 19. In 1986 on May 29. And what of 1977? Back then major North American media outlets were speculating about a new Ice Age, Ambassador Cong’s nation was staggering out of the bloody Cultural Revolution inflicted by Mao Zedong, and Ottawa experienced… a heatwave with temperatures over 30 degrees on five of six days between May 25-30.
Incidentally Ottawa also hit 30 degrees on May 8 in 1939, May 21 in 1941 and May 10 in 1953, and there are plenty of other examples. Readers have only to visit the Canadian government website https://climate.weather.gc.ca/ and search for themselves.
It might seem surprising that with so many people working in his embassy, including many intelligence agents, ambassador Cong could not find someone to check his fond recollections against readily available data. But of course his purpose was no more to speak honestly about climate than about his government’s policy toward Canada.
His letter is full of honeyed words about our shared values as part of a transparent effort to separate America from other democratic nations. “During my one-year stay here, I’ve found that climate change has drawn the attention of most Canadian people…. China, like Canada, attaches great importance to climate change…. Despite the United States’ withdrawal from the Agreement, China and Canada have not stopped our co-operation on climate change.”
Bosh. His government is building coal plants at breakneck speed, at home and abroad, while trying to persuade Western democracies to hobble themselves economically and geopolitically. China openly declares its intent to achieve world domination by the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the murderous Mao Zedong regime in 2049, an undertaking in which it is conspicuously aided by goading other nations into embracing foolish and crippling net-zero-by-2050 rules. Or, as the ambassador delicately puts it, “With a keen sense of responsibility for the whole mankind, China actively promotes the building of a community, with a shared future for mankind.” Yes. Under their red flag.
Talleyrand said God gave diplomats tongues so they might conceal their thoughts. But the ambassador must try harder, given the glaring gap between his sweet words and the facts, including his government’s harsh policies of repression in Hong Kong, expansionist military buildup, hostage diplomacy and choking smog in Chinese cities.