Graham Johnston writes in comments:
Stephen Harper’s Conservative government proposes reducing Canada’s greenhouse gases and air pollution by 20 percent of 2006 levels by 2020. By 2015 he claims the anticipated benefit to Canadian citizens will be that 1,200 fewer citizens will die from air pollution and there will be 1,260 fewer hospital admissions and emergency room visits. Sounds impressive.
In mid-August, 2008 the Canadian Medical Association released a comprehensive report on air quality in Canada that found, in part, that more than 21,000 people will die prematurely in Canada this year from the effects of air pollution. Some 2,500 of them (us!) will die because of “acute, short-term exposure” and of that number, 25 will be under the age of 19 years.
Further, in 2008 there will be over 9,000 hospital visits, 30,000 emergency department visits and 620,000 doctor’s office visits due to air pollution.
The CMA estimates that by 2031, almost 90,000 Canadians will have died from the acute short-term effects of air pollution. The number of deaths, due to long-term exposure, will be over 700,000 – the population of Quebec City. The economic costs of air pollution in 2008 alone will top $8 billion. By 2031, they will have accumulated to over $250 billion.
Any politician who would turn a blind eye to such a public health crisis while allocating billions of dollars to military spending to protect the health and security of citizens of another country deserves our contempt. Either Harper is out of touch with the reality of the air pollution crisis in Canada, or he just doesn’t give a damn about the health and welfare of Canadians. Either way, he should be sent packing on Election Day. Newfoundland’s ABC mantra of “Anything But Conservative” is beginning to resonate.