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LETTER: Are we witnessing Round 2 of Ross Perot’s infamous ‘giant sucking sound’ line?

One Vancouver Island writer thinks so

To the Editor,

COP26, the Climate Change Conference, will attract more than 30,000 delegates travelling to Glasgow, Scotland during the next two weeks, representing more than 200 country’s governments, businesses, NGOs, faith groups and many more.

Much discussion will be heated, and skeptics may be excused for wondering if it’s only more hot air being expelled while trying to curb the planet’s hot air.

It’s an inconvenient truth that a freshly-elected Prime Minister Justin Trudeau led his delegation to COP20 in Paris to proudly declare “Canada’s back!” That was Trudeau’s introduction to the world’s stage after 10 years of his Liberal Party being in the shadow of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government. There was way too much media attention, self-aggrandizement and over-the-top fanfare, as this young photogenic politician became an instant selfie-magnet to hordes of screaming young girls.

That was then and this is now, as six years of a lackadaisical, scandal-plagued government can really change attitudes. Canada’s promise to reduce greenhouse gases has failed, being the only G7 country with increased emissions since 2015. Canada is not alone in breaking pledges made at the Conference Of The Parties (COP), as a brief trip down Meteorological Memory Lane can attest. At the Earth Summit held in Stockholm 49 years ago, some shrill delegates declared that the world would be killed by pollution in few years. Similar dire warnings were echoed at the Rio Convention in 1992, and at every annual COP since the first one held in Berlin in 1995. COP3 produced the Kyoto Protocol, at COP16 it was the Copenhagen Accord, and from COP20 came the Paris Agreement. Of course, climate change is everywhere as everyone feels the intense wrath of Mother Nature with wild temperature fluctuations and increasing storms and precipitation.

Broken promises and bad decisions by politicians all around the globe are part of daily life, causing problems such as the supply chain issues that presently has global trade tied up in knots.

We should recall words uttered by a Texas billionaire in the 1980s when he was strongly opposed to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Ross Perot joined the Presidential race as an Independent 1992 with a trademark slogan of “That Giant Sucking Sound”, meaning jobs from America and Canada going to Mexico in favour of low-cost labour. Politicians and business leaders everywhere all figured they were smarter than Mr. Perot, as about that time millions of well-paid manufacturing jobs began disappearing from Western democracies over the Eastern horizon to new factories in Asia where low-cost labour is in abundance, and where no politician really bothers about pollution nor that giant sucking sound.

Bernie Smith,

Parksville

Environment