Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pursue a question that I initially asked in question period on February 23. Unfortunately, in the course of assessing my question and because the response was given by the Minister of the Environment, my question was rather mischaracterized, because I was speaking directly to the minister about public safety. It was about some disturbing language used in an RCMP report related to environmental protests and first nations' objections to fossil fuel developments.
The report was given some prominence in The Globe and Mail on February 17. It was originally authored and dated January 24, 2014. In other words, more than a year before the question that I put to the minister there was a report and assessment by the RCMP of what the RCMP labelled an “anti-petroleum movement”. The report, as obtained by Greenpeace and published in segments in The Globe and Mail, said:
There is a growing, highly organized and well-financed anti-Canada petroleum movement that consists of peaceful activists, militants and violent extremists who are opposed to society’s reliance on fossil fuels.
What I raised with the minister was that just recently, President Barack Obama had pointed out that the climate crisis is a much bigger threat to security than terrorism and that it is important to understand security threats for what they are. He said that ignoring the climate crisis is to put the nation, its economy, and its citizens at risk.
The question I put forward asked if the Minister of Public Safety would undertake scientific briefings so that the RCMP would actually understand the nature of the climate crisis, because the The Globe and Mail, with direct quotes from the RCMP, described the RCMP report as saying:
...environmentalists “claim” that climate change is the most serious global threat, and “claim” it is a direct consequence of human activity and is “reportedly” linked to the use of fossil fuels.
The language that concerns me and the overall context that concerns me is that in conducting surveillance of some kind on the climate change movement and in assessing the movement's objections to fossil fuels, the RCMP is mischaracterizing the nature of the understanding of the threat by those who are active in opposing fossil fuel developments as being merely claims and that rely on reports, whereas those who object to the expansion of the fossil fuel industry are basing their concerns on science.
If the RCMP wanted to investigate the language of those who are opposed to fossil fuel development, it might find those opponents include the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the International Energy Agency. It is the International Energy Agency that has said that of all known reserves of fossil fuels, two-thirds must remain in the ground till at least 2050 or we will put human civilization at risk.
It is the RCMP that needs a science backgrounder in climate and perhaps needs to direct its attention to those things that are real threats to Canadian security, rather than monitoring the legal activities of Canadians who oppose expansion of fossil fuel developments in the interests of protecting our children.