EDITORIAL: Common interest

Leaders will have to ignore boundaries and old animosities to deal with climate change on a global scale

Andrew Twiddy is an Anglican minister in Parksville. Not too many years ago, it would be rare and/or shocking to hear a representative of the Anglican church wax poetic about

the Pope.

Twiddy was almost gushing on Sunday in his praise and admiration for the leader of the world’s billion-plus Roman Catholics, Pope Francis. Twiddy was speaking at a gathering for climate justice at the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.

Twiddy represents a Christian religion that could be called the official opposition to Roman Catholicism for centuries. And a sworn enemy in certain times and places (think Ireland). But here he was on Sunday, spending almost all of his speech on the words and leadership of the Catholic Pope Francis.

This tells us at least two things. First, Francis is not your father’s pope. There is a different kind of leader in the Vatican these days.

Second, and most germane to Sunday’s proceedings and the talks in Paris this week, Twiddy was illustrating, through the words and actions of Pope Francis, that old boundaries, religions, hatreds and animosities need to be cast aside if we are to slow the destruction of the one thing for which we all have a common interest: the health of this planet.

The Parksville event was one of about 2,300 worldwide on Sunday. It was an effort to send a message to the 150 world leaders attending the COP21 climate talks in Paris this week.

Our new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Paris, as well as our Premier Christy Clark (and many other premiers, staff, etc.). Why we need so many representatives is another argument for another time, but Trudeau and a few advisors/cabinet ministers/scientists/security would have sufficed. If nothing else, think of the reduction in jet fuel burning.

While Trudeau continues to enjoy his political honeymoon here, it’s important to note he is not opposed to the continuation of fossil fuel extraction in Canada. He is also not opposed to the expansion of the Trans Mountain project, which would create a twinned pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby that would increase the capacity of the system to 890,000 barrels of oil a day from the current 300,000.

Trudeau has said it’s important to get Canada’s goods to market. That means pipeline expansion and a major increase in the number of tankers on B.C.’s coast.

We agree with the goods-to-market stance of our new prime minister. We do not agree, however, that Trudeau can assume a role as some kind of environmental champion on the world stage.

— Editorial by John Harding

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