Canadians care about environment.

In my opinnion Canadians are " first class" hypocrites in case of environmental protection.When still living in Europe I thought Canada was a land of people who care about their majestic forrests , beautyfull prairries and lakes but everything changed on my arrivall here.
What is going on here is worst than in Brazil or Indonesia ,huge tracks of forrest in BC ,Alberta are cut down .In British Columbia the most beautyfull and simply magic Tolkien like scenery is devastated forever ,thousand year old trees cut down in minutes and whole eco -system wiped out .
In Alberta hundreds or thousand of hectares of top soil is removed to get oil from sand.One would hope after mining in one spot they will restore the top soil to their original state -forget it costs to much!
On East and West coast overfishing is incredible ,and whom they blame when fish stocks collapse -get this seals and of course Europeans.
Big cities like Toronto are paved with asphalt and stuffed with cars,public transit is in finnancial hole,urban sprawl also takes over the best land.
I have many more examples of what I call "Canadian war on environment"but then thinking about it gets me depressed.
Canada in reality is on the level of third world country if it goes to environment.

Okay. Welcome to Canada. We do have an environment ministry at the federal level, and at every province as far as I know, so I think we beat out a lot of those civil-warring African countries. Here’s some facts about Canada:

  • Last I heard, we use more energy per capita than anyone else, including the stereotypically-consumptive Americans. However, this is also an especially cold country, so we use a lot of energy just keeping our homes warm in the winter. And it’s an especially big country with a population base that is very spread out, so energy use for transportation is very high.

  • Canada is a relatively young country: the oldest cities here are less than four centuries old, and most of the country wasn’t settled (by non-aboriginals) until less than 150 years ago. As a result, it’s still very reliant on natural resources for its economy… and there’s lots of resources to be had.

  • Public transit is pretty good in some of hte large cities (though not perhaps like it is in large centres in Europe), but it’s not always very good at all in small communities, or in cities that are spread out geographically. In many cases it’s been the victim of political neglect during the last decade, and of peoples’ cultural preference for automobiles. I’d point to Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver as examples of cities with relatively good public transit.

  • Until everybody became preoccupied with terrorists, the Environment was actually big news in Canada. Members of Parliament participated in anti-clear-cut protests.

  • The Alberta oilsands project was supposed to be a great way to get cheap oil profitably. It didn’t quite meet expectations, so like any business venture, things that don’t directly improve the bottom line get neglected. Like putting all the sand back after its’ removed.

  • On the other hand, diamond mining in the far north, which could be immensely profitable and revitalise economically-stagnant communities in the region, is being very stongly opposed by many groups, including in many cases the residents it would benefit, because of fears of the environmental effects on the fragile arctic ecosystm.

  • Like everybody else, we ignored the environment in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My own hometown of Sudbury became famous across the country as an example of the desolation wrought by indescriminate logging and sulphurous airborne mining-smelter emissions. Then we realised what we had done, and the people, the mining companies, and the regional government got together and deacidified the lakes, reintroduced fish, spread neutralzing agent to heal the topsoil, seeded low-growing plants to hold it from blowing away, and hired summer students to plant three million trees. Now the city’s famous for it’s wild blueberry felstival.

  • The fisheries are a result of politics… a politics driven by a young country which woill have to make big changes as it grows up. In Newfoundland, for example, dozens and dozens of tiny isolated communities exist that survive only on the fishery. It’s hard to tell these people to stop fishing; without a livelihood, they’d have to move to the urban centres to find work, and people are resistant to the idea of losing their towns because of political direction sparked by an environmental issue they fell they can’t control, or that they can blame on someone else. Also, tremendous overfishing by European vessels on the portion of the portion of the continental shelf outside the 200-mile treaty limit has resulted in significant effects on the fish stocks, or so I’ve been told; just this morning I heard a news report that the Danish government has announced it will permit its commercial vessels to take catches in excess of its entitlements under the Northwest Atlantic fisheries treaty. We’ve famously had disputes with trreaty-breaking Spanish and Portuguese vessels as well.

  • Urban sprawl is a problem. Part of the trouble is that there’s so much land that it’s cheap, compared to, say, Belgium.

So, yeah, we’ve got some work to do. But we’re well ahead of, oh, Honduras. We don’t burn our rainforests down. (Actually, there are environmental questions arising about the way we try to save them from burning… but that’s another story.)
If you’ve got ways that the community you now live in in Canada can do better, don’t tell us we’re monsters. Offer to help.

I would point out that at least some of the OP is false. While vast areas of BC and Alberta (and other provinces) are logged, equally vast areas are reforested. I personally have planted in excess of a half million assorted conifers - and was well compensated for it, too. Forestry regulations, particularly in BC, are extremely conscious of the sustainability of the industry.

Tree planting, by the way, is a very common way for high-school and university students to make money in the summer, and has been for at least twenty years. I can remember in school seeing the brochures and booths set up to entice the kids to work as a tree planter in the summer. This is in Alberta, where we’re all supposed to be a bunch of rednecks, don’cha know.

And I just finished driving through half the interior of BC last week, and I didn’t see a single clearcut, other than areas used for power line distribution. I did, however, see a huge Wind Farm at Pincher Creek, Alberta.

That’s just one of a half-dozen wind power projects in the region.

And speaking of mass transit - the light rail transit system in Calgary gets all of its electrical power from wind. Both Edmonton and Calgary have light rail transit, as well as highly developed bus systems and a separate handicapped transit system.

In Edmonton, we also have bike paths everywhere, including a bike path system that lets you ride from one end of the city to the other without having to cross a public road.

Oh, yeah, I’d forgotten about Calgary’s ‘Ride the Wind’ program.

Ottawa’s all over the bike paths too. And the streets are full of special lanes and exceptions for buses and bicycles. And I think Ottawa’s got the highest transit ridership of a city its size in North America. (That may not impress the author of the OP.)

North Bay, a city of 40,000 where I work on the weekends, has got a bike path network too, and, I think it’s similar to the one Sam describes in Edmonton, in that you rarely if ever have to cross a public road at grade.

The OP is absurd. Canada’s logging industry is probably the most environmentally conscious logging industry in the history of the human race. Sustainable forestry is practically a Canadian invention and is the standard of the Canadian logging industry. Most (if not all, by now - I haven’t checked lately) Canadian logging interests are registered to sustainable forestry standards.

As to the issue of urban sprawl, it’s one of the dumbest non-issues going. I live in Toronto. If I hop in my car right now I can be in the woods in thirty minutes. Most of the province of Ontario is wilderness and half of it isn’t even accessible by automobile. We have lots of room.

When I flew over BC in passenger jet towards Vancouver I saw lot’s of little squares and rectangles on the ground ,no idea what they were at the time.
Later I have seen my self and on TV, that those were vast clear cutting areas hundreds of hectares big. :eek:
Clear cutting destroys everything living ,topsoil including.There is a way to harvest trees without this destruction(selective harvesting)ie couple trees there and there, but of course it costs bit more.
And forestry regulations in BC thanks to the “liberal” party are beeing deregulated.

Actually, as a resident of the Central BC Interior, who is currently living in the largest Milltown in BC, I can say that clear-cutting does not destroy everything. Sure, the trees may be gone, but the ecology of a clear-cut is similar to that of a block of forest which has been cleared through natural means, such as fire.(Source: Similarity of small mammal abundance in post-fire and clearcut forests. Forest-Ecology-and-Management. 2002, 165: 1-3, 163-172). The article deals with the abundance small mammals, but the point is that clearcuts are pretty far from dead zones, as you attest. One can also look at the effect that clear cutting has on song birds. Quoting from the abstract of a paper entitled Effects of forest-clearcut edges on a forest-breeding songbird by R. Harrris and J. Reed.

The entire article can be found in the Canadian Journal of Zoology. 2002, 80: 6, 1026-1037. Mods, if this is going beyond what is allowable by copyright policies on this board, please feel free to delete.

According to the above quoted text, there are differences in cut and non cut blocks, but they are nowhere near severe as you would make them seem. Essentially, the ecosystem is not wiped out, it is only changed. Now, is this a good or a bad thing? That is a question which is way beyond the scope of anything that I am prepared to go into at this present moment.

I will go into more detail on this tommorow after work, but for now I must go to bed.

Well, if you believe this, I can only tell you that you’ve obviously never seen a clearcut except from the air. Even blocks that have been burned following the logging are chock full of life. If they aren’t burned, they’re covered with a foot-deep layer of moss, and a mess of brush and flowers. If they are burned (burning makes planting a lot easier, releases a lot of pine seeds from pinecones, and generally simulates the natural effects of a forest fire - nature’s renewer), they’re covered with fireweed, and other assorted flowers.

And, they’re also covered with little 6" tall saplings planted by the tree planters hired by the logging companies. Or taller, if the planting was any length of time ago. If you drive along Highway 16 in the vicinity of Prince George, you’ll see clearcut after clearcut covered by thick growths of 10 and 20 and 30 foot pines. The people running the show are way, way ahead of you.

On this subject, I suggest you come back when you have a clue what you’re talking about. You’d do a lot better suggesting we’re profligate in our energy use, or that we need stricter pollution controls, both of which have some degree of truth about them.

Wait, wait, let me just get a handle on this.

Your thread title is meant to be… ironic?

I just want to point out that speaking strictly from my own experiance, there is a lot more wildlife in low bush and grass than there is in mature forest. Take as a mini sample Burnaby Park, in Burnaby BC. It’s a good sized park, over a hundred acres I would think. Most of the trees are quite mature, the last logging having been done around the turn of the centuary.

In the treed area you’ll find a few squirrels and chipmunks, along with crows. Out by the Hydro cutline, where the stream comes through, there’s habitat for snakes, salamanders, frogs, dragonflies, crayfish, fieldmice, voles and an abundance of small insects. The differance is simply amazing.

I’ve read other accounts that would seem to confirm my experiance as valid for larger areas as well. (I wish I had a cite but the closest I can come is the Province or Georgia Straight newspapers sometime in the last five years.)

I’d also like to point out that Greenpeace had it’s start right here in BC. As a matter of fact, one of it’s co-founders happens to be the brother-in-law of a good friend of ours. I’ve met him a couple of times.

BC is also home to Ballard, maker of the famous Ballard Fuel Cell which may eventually replace the gas engine. Several of the transit busses run on them.

Cut the Canadians some slack – they may not be Switzerland or Austria, but they have been doing an outstanding job of keeping the environment a high priority, more so than almost any other state I can think of with the possible exception of Switzerland.

Caveat: I am not an environmentalist and I am pressed for time so I may be off on a few items.

Take a look at this damning report on Canada’s environmental indicators, as ranked among OECD countries:

I am not sure it is an accepted and reliable source of material, but I notice that Canada ranks very low, and that Mexico and Turkey are second and third place – which I immediately thought was very strange. Mexico especially ranks not only second-place, but above Austria?? When you look at the tests you see why Canada, supposedly so environmentally conscious, performs so poorly, and why there are other anomalies: results are calculated on a per capita basis.

That may work for densely populated countries such as European states or even (to a much lesser extent) large and populous nations like the US, but it is a bizarre standard to hold to Canada:

whereas you will note:

That makes Canada one of the countries with the lowest population density by far, as shown here:

Canada has a population density of 3.2 persons per square kilometre. The only modern industrialized country with a sizeable population (e.g., Greenland doesn’t count) that is less densely populated than Canada is Australia, which makes for good comparison, it also being a huge landmass. And if we go back and look at the environmental rankings provided in my first link, we notice that Australia is ranked just above Canada on a per capita basis (i.e. it also scores very poorly).

(For reader reference the US measures in at 29 persons per sq. Km, or 9.1 times the pop. density of Canada while having a slightly (relatively speaking) lesser land area.)

Now, factor in considerations such as the extremely cold winters in Canada --absent in Australia-- which are a major reason for Canadian energy use. Or consider the population distribution: in Australia, most people live near the east and south-east coast, which coincides with the fertile plains area of the continent (pretty much everything else is harsh desert and largely uninhabited and unused). In Canada, population is more distributed, with 90% of the population living within 300 KM of the US border, yes, but that being a long band that stretches all the way from coast to coast of the second largest nation on the planet, and with the remaining 10% of the population – still over 3 million people, which is almost half that of high-ranking Switzerland – living in more remote areas. That requires additional infrastructure (energy transportation, railways, highways, communications, etc.) with the added complications of the harsh winters, enormous distances, and huge temperature jumps (a range of 60-70 degrees Celsius between winter and summer is not unusual for many areas including many of the large populated centres such as Calgary, Toronto, Montreal).

Now, if we look at the CIA’s data for Canada’s environmental policy:

and compare that to the most environmentally friendly nation, Switzerland:

then we don’t notice that much difference, and certainly nothing to suggest that Canada takes environmental problems anything but seriously. Notice that both countries are parties to the Kyoto Protocol (which Australia still hasn’t ratified).

Furthermore, Canada is (unlike Australia) heavily forested and has a long-standing program of reforestation that is, as far as I know, unmatched in scale and efficiency by any other nation.

My point is that you need more reliable standards to discuss a nation’s pollution than solely pollution/consumption per capita (or loud complaints based only on anecdotal experience for that matter). A fairly good standard for developed countries is total GDP – after all pollution is generally a result of producing commodities and utilities that are bought/sold, which is in turn a result of how effective environmental restrictions are (if any exist). This tends to even things out for countries with very high or very low population density, rather than take a per capita or per square Km approach.

You can still blame Canadians for a few things, such as higher use of water resources than any country except the US, but when you realize how big Canada is, how much damn water it has, and how small (for such a large country) the Canadian population is, it puts it all in perspective.

On the subject of deforestation, we learn that Canada harvests about 43% of annual growth, which in terms of sustainability compares VERY favourably with other OECD countries. The chief problem of deforestation today is not in Canada, but in tropical areas (save the rainforest already!).

Lastly, because I have no more time to browse statistics, it is interesting to note that Canada actually addresses its environmental problems, and the data tends to show an improvement across many areas in the clear majority of sources detailing the '80s, and '90s that I came across. Unless otherwise stated, the information in this post has been taken from OECD Key Environmental Indicators (PDF file) published by the OECD Environment Directorate, which I think is where my first link in this post ( got its data from, though it chose to focus primarily on per capita measurements.

I would say Canada is definitely an environmentally aware and friendly country.

Holy cow ! Canada is enviro friendly !? :dubious: common !wake up people .Go to Victoria or to Halifax and smell the sea breeze I mean sewage breeze.The cheapskates pump billions of littres of shit down to the harbour .Supposedly rich country like ours can’t afford to build simple sewage treatment plant?
That’s what our low taxes doing.Paranoid people who get more paranoid when one mentions anykind of tax.
Here in Ontario God damned conservatives back in 1996 cut in half budget of ministry of environment ,that’s how we care!!

Not to mention what a smelting company is dumping into Washington state’s Columbia River.

Yep, real environmentalists. Schmucks.

I don’t understand your point at all. That article lays out the following:

  • BC company pollutes river that flows into US lake, and gets justly sued by EPA and native tribes

  • BC company invests $1 billion to meet “the highest environmental and health criteria in Canada and the United States” (according to the company’s senior VP)

  • EPA and native tribes insist on BC company paying a ream of fines and charges, which BC company refuses

  • BC company offers EPA “$13 million to fund independent human-health and ecological studies and to clean up metal contamination attributable to their operations to ensure that the lake was safe” (from your link)

  • “That money was rejected by the EPA and the tribes because it wouldn’t have been regulated under Superfund laws” (from your link)

  • BC company VP “reiterated that a Canadian company shouldn’t have to comply with American laws, but that Teck Cominco still wants to help clean up the lake” (from your link).

  • EPA insists on doing things their original way, BC company refuses.

  • Canadian government intervenes with a suggestion for a bilateral panel to address the clean-up; offer is rejected by the tribes

  • BC company leaves the offer on the table but prepares to defend itself legally

Now that doesn’t seem all that tragic. This being a cross-border dispute, I am not surprised that it’s a thorny one, but you will notice that on the Canadian side there was at least an attempt at compromise and negotiation, including intervention from the government.

So BC company is no longer polluting and has offered commitment and assistance in cleaning up the lake – if only all cases could be resolved like this it would be a happier world. Why exactly are they “schmucks”? And who exactly are the schmucks supposed to be anyway?

I’ve been to both Victoria and Halifax, and I don’t recall any sewage breeze. You don’t list where you’re from, but I’m willing to bet that it is neither city–if my experience of both Victoria and Halifax is any example, sewage breezes would not be tolerated.

Sewage treatment plants exist, and are used. Take a look (heck, take a tour) of the R.C. Harris plant in Toronto sometime. It’s rather impressive.

Tell you what–you can contribute however much you like to the Ontario government for the environment, and the government and Ontario taxpayers will thank you for it. If you don’t live in Ontario though, you’re welcome to contribute, but I don’t think you should be complaining about Ontario.

Where, by the way, are you located?

Everyone recognizes the sewage waste issue in Canada, it is a severe problem and I agree it needs to be addressed – in fact I believe it is being addressed, in richer areas like Ontario for example. However there has to be some sort of viable financial way to fund such expensive projects across all of Canada (remember infrastructure is expensive when you have large areas and low population density), and I don’t think a solution has been found yet. Canada already has high taxes, that’s part of the problem of running such a large country on such a low population.

I don’t know the present state of the sewage treatment projects wrangling, but here is a piece from 1999 on Halifax:

If the issue persists to this day (I don’t know, not been to Halifax since 1996 but I never noticed this stench you refer to) I suggest repeated lobbying, write in to complain about the problem, get involved in grassroots campaigns, etc.

And this is hardly a problem that is solely Canadian. Not far away, even in enviro-friendly Vermont, you have such problems:


Sewage treatment plants exist, and are used. Take a look (heck, take a tour) of the R.C. Harris plant in Toronto sometime. It’s rather impressive.
You are mistaken about RC Harris plant,thats water filltration and purification plant not a sewage treatment plant.
On the other hand lake ontario smeels and looks like sewage with each year passing,so maybe you are right. :wink:

The BC company, Teck Cominco, is no longer polluting? Just where does it say that? You’ll excuse me if I don’t take the word of the company that it’s meeting the “highest health and environmental criteria” in the U.S. and Canada.

They’ve dumped their sh*t into our waterway for how many years, and they think they ought to have a say in how it’s done. Gee, I can’t imagine why we wouldn’t trust them.

And where was the B.C. government for most of the last century?

That’s what I meant by schmucks.