Farmers and Indians don’t count anyway

When it comes to inventing a crisis, governments are masters. There hasn’t been time this morning to read the whole report of Manitoba’s Auditor that was released on Monday of this week. The main thrust of the report is that Manitoba won’t meet it’s goal of greenhouse gas emission reduction. It will no doubt be the crisis of the week but the report shouldn’t surprise anyone as governments rarely meet their goals in anything.
A first glance at the audit report shows that it claims that Manitoba is responsible for three per cent of the GHG production in Canada. Canada is only responsible for 1.5 per cent of GHG production in the world. The fact that Manitoba even worries about GHG is a bit of a joke. After all, three percent of 1.5 per cent is almost immeasurable.
What’s even more interesting is that farmers (agriculture) get blamed for 35 per cent of the GHG production in Manitoba and transportation is stated to be responsible for 33 per cent. Isn’t it handy that we get to beat up on farmers and cars one more time. The calls for restraint will be trumpeted again. Down with hog barns and cows. No more cars. Must have rapid transit in Winnipeg. Do away with parking lots. Get all the old cars off the road. Make sure the cows don’t fart (oops, sorry, flatulate ).
If Canada, or Manitoba, were really serious about reduction of GHG, they might want to look elsewhere. Perhaps we need to look at less importation of goods from China, one of the world’s worst polluters. Perhaps we might try reducing the payroll tax in Manitoba so people might be slightly interested in manufacturing goods in Manitoba. Perhaps we might tell the Wheat Board to get real and allow people to actually make food with their own wheat rather than truck bread across the province or across the nation. The same might hold true for cheese, butter, margarine and production of many other foods. If farming and transportation are the big polluters, perhaps we need to take a long look at what we are transporting and why we have to transport so much stuff when local production could do the trick.
Certainly we need to do the common sense things to reduce GHG production but we needn’t steer our whole policy towards GHG reduction. Go ahead and fine people who drive cars and trucks that belch black smoke or reduce the use of natural gas fired electricity generators. Ironically, two of our biggest polluters, namely the smoke stacks at Flin Flon and Thompson are going to be shut down it seems anyway. 
As rural people, we should take personal offense at the the direction of the report. That farming gets blamed for 35 per cent is a stretch. It will be interesting to see where that figure comes from. Transportation may well be at 33 per cent, but let’s face the facts here. Most of that figure has to be in the City of Winnipeg or as a result of the fact that transport trucks go through Manitoba on the way to every other place. It’s hardly our fault that we are at the crossroads of the continent.
What we can take away from the report is that GHG isn’t a huge problem in Manitoba. What is a huge problem in Manitoba is the lack of clean water. It would have been much better if the auditor had released a report on the lack of clean water. Many communities don’t have clean water. Many more communities are in danger. The City of Winnipeg still flushes its toilets straight into the Red River. No amount of denial will cover that stench and disgrace. As the City of Winnipeg and the two senior levels of government fall all over themselves to build a Human Rights Museum and a football stadium, the water crisis builds.
But why should urban people care? The crisis is only affecting a bunch of farmers and Indians. Those two groups have never counted for much in the halls of power so why should anything change?

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kwaddell@kenwaddell.ca This is a Sunrize Group internet solution (204)226-2247