Canada’s dismal presence

On Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 in Blogs, News
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Leona Aglukkaq has been in Lima at COP20 arriving on the same flight I took to Peru.  She was in first class so I didn’t see her, but I was reliably informed by a friend in the front cabin that she was there.

It has been no easier to find her at COP20 than it was through the “iron curtain” between first class and economy on the flight from Toronto. Yesterday, Environment Canada issued a news release announcing that “Today, Minister Aglukkaq is hosting a discussion in Lima, Peru, to highlight the importance of incorporating traditional knowledge into environmental decision-making. This event will bring together high-level international officials to discuss how traditional knowledge can support the development of successful environmental policies and programs in countries around the world.”

I searched in vain for any sign of this discussion.  It was not listed as a media event at COP nor was it on the list of side-events within the conference.  I discovered today that it had been a private reception held at the Canadian Embassy in Lima.  I was not invited. Of course, I am used to that.  She held a reception at the last COP in Warsaw at our embassy where I was not invited.

I would have liked to have imagined that in the spirit of Canadians together in foreign capitals, all Canadians in Lima for COP would have been invited.  That would have been the case under previous governments.  Certainly as the only other Parliamentarian here, I should have been invited. It is not the Embassy of the Conservative Party of Canada in Peru; it is the Embassy of Canada.   I don’t know who was invited or if any media was.  The only international participant was the head of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner.

The press release was a blatant misrepresentation.  It includes this line under Quick Facts: “This discussion, held during COP20 in Lima, is being organized and led by Canada.”

Who would have imagined this discussion was at an invitation-only private reception?

Today Minister Aglukkaq stepped out onto the world stage for her statement to the COP.

It was supposed to be a 3 minute address, but she broke the records of all the other ministers who went over their time limit, giving a speech of more than 8 minutes.  At every minute mark over 3, there were bells and reminders her time was up. She kept speaking over the bells in a half-hearted attempt to tell the nations of the world that Canada was in the lead. “Our record speaks for itself,” she said.  Indeed it does. Environment Canada just released its long over due Emissions Tracking report.  Canada’s target for 2020 under the weak Copenhagen Accord is for 126 megatonne (MT) reduction.  At the moment the anticipated reduction will be 10 MT.

Back in Ottawa, what she was saying in Peru  — a verbatim recitation of all her usual talking points in the House – “we have a sector by sector approach” – was demolished by her boss.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in Question Period that he had no intention of bringing in the oil and gas regulations he has promised since 2007.

He said it would be “crazy” to do so.  That Stephen Harper would attack his own climate promises on the very day his minister repeated them in Peru at COP20 would make an honourable person resign.

Peter Kent, our former Environment Minister, is reported to have prepared the oil and gas regulations, but Harper would not support their implementation.  That was when oil was selling high.  Now that the price of a barrel of oil is sinking fast, Harper is using that as an excuse to renege.

Harper is running out of excuses. Waiting for Obama turned into waiting for China.  Now that the US and China are acting, we have to wait for the price of oil to rebound, so we are waiting for Saudi Arabia.

In Lima at COP20 the nations of the world (except Canada and Australia) seem to be genuinely committed to getting the draft treaty ready for Paris and COP21. And I am committed to making sure that before the world gathers at the next COP, Stephen Harper will no longer be our Prime Minister.

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  • LCT

    Yes Elizabeth May you are the only hope for the healthy, sustainable future of Canada. I am thrilled you are committed to making sure that Stephen Harper will no longer be our Prime Minister!!

  • Linda Fraser

    Stephen Harper had the rare opportunity to invite the best orator in the House of Commons to speak at the Canadian Embassy in Peru during COP20 and he went with Minister Aglukkaq instead? Canada’s dismal presence indeed! And he has the audacity to discount everything his Minister is saying on his behalf at the COP20 meeting!! You weren’t even sent an invitation to your own Embassy to hear what Minister Aglukkaq had to say!! His actions were mean spirited and rude to you, disrespectful to his Conservative Minister and not the behaviour Canadians expect from their Prime Minister. Minister Aglukkaq could learn so much from you, for her people in the north. I don’t know how you will accomplish what you are committing yourself to here, but if I can do anything to help you, let me know. Thank you for going to Peru and I hope there are positive initiatives happening to make your time there worthwhile. At least you are staying up to date with our world climate news.

  • Deborah Gawley Lewis

    He has to be charged for not supporting our people when they are desperately needed and wanted at these international gatherings. Stephen Harper should be ousted as soon as possible on grounds of interference with the representatives opinions internationally. He is working against us!

    • namastepeaceful

      When do we get to treason?

    • Cris Paunescu

      Actually you have it reversed: He is not interfering with “representatives opinions internationally” in any way. If you talk about charges for not supporting “our people”, you might want to ask Elizabeth May why she worked – and continues to work so hard – against Alberta ‘s (and Canada’s) interests on an international level.
      If May – or anyone else – was so “desperately needed and wanted” at the COPs, she would have been invited, don’t you think?

  • MsLabradorGirl

    Yes, Harper needs to go! Not only is he not supporting his people, he is going to ruin our environment and our country!

  • Sheila Rea

    Oh Elizabeth, how disheartening, maddening and frustrating. I know we need to get the awareness out about these issues and so much more – how this country needs it’s citizens to stand up to the current government and put Canada on a positive trajectory for all. I wish I could take over the Green Party’s face book page, it’s under utilized at best. It is the perfect platform to engage constructive dialogue, empower citizens, put democracy in action.
    Thank you for being there, at least we have one Canadian citizen we can be proud to know is putting Canadians concerns in the forefront. The environmental issues we face require a collective of minds working together, shameful that Minister Aglukkaq is unable to embrace the higher purpose of being there, other than seemingly trying to placate a sense of duty and defend the policies and inaction of the not so honourable PM Steven Harper. All the best for the remainder of the talks.

    • Cris Paunescu

      She didn’t put any “Canadian concerns in the forefront”, nobody listend to her as she wasn’t there in any official capacity. She didn’t participate in negotiations and didn’t influence anything. She just contributed to the greatest carbon footprint in COP history, that’s all.

  • Shirley Blackwell

    Thank you Elizabeth.

  • Winnipegger

    The CPC has absolutely no class or respect for Canada’s democratic traditions. They display an appalling lack of integrity or sense when it comes to either environmental matters or economic issues.

  • Joni McMillan

    I suppose Minister Aglukkaq was following orders but it was unspeakably rude for you not to have been invited to Canada’s embassy for this address. Rude, also, for the Minister to ignore the bells indicating time was up. This country used to have such class in its foreign affairs and interactions. I keep looking for signs of honour in our Conservative MPs but to no avail. I am ashamed of them. I am proud of you, Elizabeth, and your Canadian values.

  • JustIn

    It saddens me when I read your posts on the inaction of our current “government”; if the Conservative Party acted the way that you seem to represent the true Canada, we would be so much better off. We can have an economy whilst protecting the very aspects that make us unique, we can protect the environment and create jobs, we can stand up for the less fortunate and those in need while creating a country that is looking after its own. I just shake my head with every move the Conservatives make. My 84 year old grandmother told me, she used to be proud of Canada and what it stood for, but she doesn’t anymore….it’s heartbreaking. I don’t understand how Stephen Harper can believe what he has done/is doing is in Canada’s best interest. I wish he would change the course, if not for the country, at east for his own kid’s future.

    • Cris Paunescu

      You know, if Canda would be ruled by May’s GPC we would be a third world nation now. Look at what the green policies did to Ontario – we found out yesterday that we paid 50 Billion more for electricity – with absolutely no results. We were promised 50,000 jobs created by the Samsung deal and less than 800 were actually created to date (several years now). We were told green energy is cheap – yes, it is, for the US and Quebec, where Ontario has to sell it at below market prices. Ontario’s electricity prices have skyrocketed, and are scheduled to increase by another 42% over the next five years. Manufacturing lost 30% of it’s jobs. Investment in Ontario has stopped, corporations are moving out due to high energy costs – and now the new “pension plan”.
      Look at the GEA and it’s impact on the environment and the people.
      But hey, look at what greens have done to other countries, like Spain, or lately Germany. It’s not good at all, it’s a disaster.

      When Elizabeth May fights Alberta’s oil she supports the interests of the US, not to mention countries like Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Iraq, Algeria, Venezuela and such.

      Try and think about it a little.

      Please feel free to refute any of the points I made.

      • Denis Palmer

        Look at what happened in 2008. Our humming market economies managed to do all that damage without input from green efforts. I personally don’t doubt that trying to get off (or out from under) fossil fuels won’t cause a hit to the economy, some places worse than others. We’ve waited so long to even start. But I sure don’t like thinking about where we are going. You must have seen images of the tar sands, or heard reports of fracking operations from those who live nearby. You want to go there? You want those outfits for neighbours? I’ll take my chances, indeed I’ll embrace going green, cutting back, getting smaller, conservation…. whatever it takes.

        • Cris Paunescu

          Economies crashed before, and nobody blamed the fossil fuels either – the greens did not exist at the time.
          For those images of and reports of fracking and such…

          First, fracking has been going on for more than 50 years, it never was a problem until gas became so cheap that some people started losing lots of money.
          Go in the areas where fracking is done and talk to the people there, or at least read some truly honest reports, not what the greens tell you.

          The “tar sands”… You know, you should really do some research before you speak. The tarsands have been there for a very, very long time, long before humanity knew what fire was, never mind gasoline. It’s a very small area, the size of a town like Shawinigan. And on top of that, only 3% (THREE percent) of that area can be mined, AND every square foot of it has to be reclaimed – and a great job they do at it. Don’t fall for the Neil Young crap, he lied and was proven so. He refused to go and see the reclaimed areas, not to mention his idiotic Hiroshima statement.

          So nice of you to do “whatever it takes”, I wonder what you think about people like Suzuki and Gore, or even Ms May here (on a smaller scale), who fly around the world – have you ever asked them if they reduced their use of fossil fuels? Greenpeace executives commute by plane, while the fossil fuels industry planted more than 12 million trees here… Greens in Canada, with US funds, fight Alberta oil but don’t say anything about the US coal exports, or their oil production, or about Canadian oil imports from countries like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

          Sadly, you fell for the “do as I preach” scam…

      • kc_cramer

        It’s not worth the bother. Please just go away.

      • excusemebut2

        What a misinformed bunch of crap Paunescu. Please do go away. As an anti AGW – anti-green troll I hope you are a better millwright. By the amount of time you spend trolling you must only work part time anyway. I will put my 25 years of training and experience in atmospheric sciences up against your millwright trolling experience any day. By the way, what is you explanation of the faint sun paradox?….I am sure you have extensive reading and papers published on the subject! Refuting a person of your type is a waste of time and energy.

        • Cris Paunescu

          Sorry, I fail to see what the faint sun paradox has to do with a hypotetical green government, Ontario’s GEA or foreign interests supported by Ms May (indirectly), or anything else in my post.
          Or what my millwright experience (self employed by the way, sorry I didn’t have the time to reply any sooner) has to do with it. After all, you seem to take Suzuki’s word as gospel, and he himself admitted he isn’t a climate scientist.
          I also fail to see how your 25 years of training in science has refuted any of my points. But I surely see how you deflected everything I said – by trying to impress us with your science qualifications… You spent enough time reading my posts and replying, surely you can find something you could prove wrong.

          But please, as a certified atmospheric scientist, please provide us with one example of how AGW models have been verified by reality. Just one.
          You have my gratitude for your patience and tolerance, it’s not everyday that a lowly millwright like me gets replied to by a scientist like you – I would call you by your real name but I’m afraid you didn’t make it public…

          • excusemebut2

            Nobody could impress you with science because you don’t understand it and don’t care to. The faint sun paradox has a lot to do with a discussion of the global thermal balance, and the effects that human activity are having on it. I do not have the time to explain it to you, a person who figures the tar sands are the size of a small town, and that peat bog and so forth that have been developing and evolving for thousands are years are being restored, and whatever other crap you have posted. Do yourself a favour, read a bit and study some basic science. Meanwhile, STFU.

          • Salvador_H

            Of course I don’t understand science… you do, right?
            First, try some reading comprehension studies – the discussion you jumped in had nothing to do with global warming or the faint sun paradox, it had to do with the GPC getting to lead the country and what kind of disaster that would be. Of course you, Mr. Scientist, couldn’t get that so you decided to shift the conversation using big words. You never mentioned the GEA, Samsung, electricity prices and so on.
            So much for understanding.
            Not to mention that the faint sun paradox is not – by millions of miles – any proof, or even support, of AGW. Oh, and since this is a fairly old theory, why wasn’t it taken into account by AGW proponents/models?

            Now for the “tarsands”:
            Oil sands total area: 142,200 Sq Km

            Area that could be mined: 4,802 Sq Km
            (the rest can only be done in-situ – you know what that means, right? If not, google is a great tool)

            Active mining footprint: 767 SqKm
            Shawinigan: 781 Sq Km
            Active reclamation of land: 77 Sq Km
            (mining of an area takes decades)

            Alberta: 661,190 Sq Km.
            Canada’s Boreal Forest: 3,200,000 Sq Km.

            I hope these simple numbers will not confuse you.

            And finally Mr Atmospheric Scientist, you – like everyone else on this website – have failed yet again to provide one single example of a prediction by the AGW models that has been verified by reality.
            Why don’t you get your head out of the clouds, and finally come up with something solid? You know, instead of being insulting?

            Merry Christams!

          • excusemebut2

            How come the name change? Can’t keep track of all your trolling activity? Either name, you do not have a clue.

            Check NASA, re changing ice, ocean temps, global temps etc, you will find the answer to your stupid assertion that there is not a model prediction that is verifiable. Go away on that, I am sick of hearing that mantra from the denier crowd.

            Quote you
            “Not to mention that the faint sun paradox is not – by millions of miles – any proof, or even support, of AGW. Oh, and since this is a fairly old theory, why wasn’t it taken into account by AGW proponents/models?”

            You need some reading comprehension skills….you totally missed my point when I brought this paradox up. The point is, spelling it out for you, please read slowly….all of the parameters that we know of that may have CAUSED the faint sun paradox ARE in the models. DUH!!! The faint sun paradox is a FACT, not a theory by the way, we KNOW it existed. It is a paradox. (Dictionaries online are free.)

            PS….your bunch of numbers and the spin you are attempting to put on the relative insignificant size of the tar sands enterprise is laughable and meaningless.

            Looking more foolish by the minute you are.

  • James Emler

    I am proud to be a Canadian but our government is a disgrace.

  • Rene Ariens

    You, me, all of Canada and the rest of the world will celebrate the end of Stephen Harper’s rude, crude & oily tenure in our Parliament. Thank you for being there in Lima for us Elizabeth … you do us proud :-)

    • Cris Paunescu

      What exactly did Elizabeth do for us in Lima, if you don’t mind???

      • Rene Ariens

        She spoke for the majority of Canadian citizens who are concerned about global warming and want more action and commitment by our government to live up to their carbon reduction promises and show some leadership by setting an example….

        • Cris Paunescu

          I’m sorry, maybe I missed something – who exactly did Ms May speak with?
          She was there on her own, with no access to negotiations or anything… Check her reply to me on Twitter.

          As for the “majority of Canadian citizens who are concerned about global warmin”, you really need to do some research on the subject: the majority of Canadians has other issues at the forefront, indeed, the world does too as reflected by a recent UN (yes, UN) survey.
          People are starting to understand that there is no MAN MADE climate change, or MAN CAUSED Global Warming. The lie cannot continue forever.

  • Gordon Edmund Whitehead

    A disgusting and shameful unfolding of events from every possible vantage point. What does the phrase “incorporating traditional knowledge” mean in connection with Aglukkaq’s Lima address? Is the Harper government suggesting, by employment of this phrase, that contemporary evidence-based science is an unreliable guide to understanding climate change in the natural world? Or is it meant to imply that the Inuit population of the Canadian Arctic is somehow able to “intuit” that global warming isn’t happening, or if it is, that it’s all somehow just part of a natural cycle? I have always felt that Harper is cynically using Aglukkaq as a sort of “Climate Change Uncle Tom”, believing that her ethnicity renders her largely immune to criticism, but I haven’t seen the regime running “traditional knowledge” up the flag pole before. That’s a new one. I wonder what the Arctic polar bear population thinks about “traditional knowledge” as the great creatures succumb to starvation along with the loss of Arctic sea ice. If Aglukkaq had the tiniest sense of personal honour and any real care for her constituents and her community, she would have resigned long since. As for Harper’s comments about regulating oil and gas emissions being “crazy” in view of their recent price collapses, maybe we should be grateful that he’s finally had to drop the prevaricating and outright lying that he’s been feeding us over the past 6 years (“we’re working on draft regulations”; we’ll act when the US does; we’ll act when China does” etc.). He now stands openly before the world as the lying reactionary hypocrite that he’s always been. I fully share your hope that this vile excuse for a national leader is gone from the scene before the 2015 climate conference in Paris.

    • Cris Paunescu

      Please provide one – just ONE – piece of evidence that climate change is man-made (never mind AGW, looks like the nutcases forgot that).
      Take into account all the models that were used for the IPCC report and let us know which one of their predictions is supported by reality.

      • kc_cramer

        Please just go away.

        • Cris Paunescu

          Am I shaking your green beliefs? You don’t have to read my posts, you know… But if you do, at least try and come up with a fact based reply instead of whatever you just tried to do.

          • kc_cramer

            I’m not trying to do anything. Against your version of scientific evidence nothing can be done, nothing will ever be done. A fact-based reply would depend on a fact-based post. Please just go away.

          • Cris Paunescu

            How about just one – just one – piece of evidence for man-made climate change? I have been asking for it so many times it’s getting boring…
            Come on, just on little fact there…
            Shouldn’t be too hard, as all of you green people say there are so many. You know, sea ice, polar icecaps, hurricanes, temperatures, droughts, polar bears, sea levels… I’m trying to make it easy for you.

      • meurig

        There is no shortage of evidence in the scientific literature. So go research it yourself – don’t expect those of us who have a grasp on reality to spoonfeed you.

        • Cris Paunescu

          This is the eternal (wrong) argument – there is so much evidence, all you have to do is look.
          Well, no, there isn’t any. If there was, at least one of you “believers” would have rubbed my face in it. But you can’t and yet you won’t accept reality.
          Here, let me show you some:

          Global temperature is not rising.
          Sea levels are not rising (more than they did for centuries)
          Sea Ice is not melting.
          Polar ice is not melting.
          Snow has not disappeared or is a rare event. See Buffalo.
          Glaciers are not retreating.
          Storms are not higher either in numbers or intensity, the opposite in fact.
          Draughts are not increasing.
          Rain is not increasing.
          Humidity in upper atmosphere is not increasing.
          Oceans are not getting warmer.

          I could go on, but please, just one example from you, pretty please…unless you want people to believe you’re just talk, no substance…

  • Phyllis Ruthven

    Thank you Elizabeth. We need the truth to be shouted from the roof tops. The current government is a deplorable sham and a shame to all thinking Canadians.

  • I. Giraud

    The usual Con fiasco in – any – foreign representation. One line for the world, another for Canadians.

  • Reginald8Cooper

    Harper is wrong: this is an ideal time to introduce a carbon tax. With oil prices dropping, we can afford to pay it. Public perception would be that we’re using the savings to do something positive.

  • Tony Devellano

    I’m so grateful we have you in Ottawa, Elizabeth. You are the reality check that ensures Harper can’t tell us the sky is purple, convincingly.

  • bobs your uncle

    You know what else is dismal?… The fact that the Green Party of Canada blocked me from it’s facebook page, even though I have a valid membership.

  • Chris Hudson

    Minister of Environment is a misnomer. It is in reality the Ministry for Pollution, a portfolio led boldly and competently by Leona Aglukkaq and supported by her courageous team of Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers lobbyists. Her speech in Lima sounds like the hollow ring of an oil pipeline.

  • ruthmcveigh

    Hooray for Elizabeth. She sure knows how to hold feet to the fire. But Harper’s head is so far in the clouds it probably won’t even register the warmth.

  • diannemaloney

    Good job Elizabeth if you wrote this, and I think you did.
    Personally I feel I get more reliable information, from you, than what we receive now from our so called ‘honest, unbiased media’ and our ‘transparent ” we’re for the people, in sound bites government”‘
    I wish you well in all your endeavours,
    Do us proud Elizabeth….it is noticed….the people at COP20, are not idiots.
    they communicate with each other.
    They want to live like the rest of us, sane humans
    Aglukkak, messed up her opp’
    Obviously the conservatives, communicate as badly as they run Canada
    Be well Elizabeth..I envy you
    Dianne Maloney

    • Cris Paunescu

      Dianne, the people at COP20 are not idiots, most of them are there following a clear and precise plan – to take our money to the tune of 100 Billions per year.
      They are also the greatest hypocrites on the planet – if you read a little about this event you will find out about their carbon footprint – the greatest of the 20 events. They used DIESEL generators for electricity for the two weeks there, and some were complaining about the A/C not working properly,.
      These are the people with the largest carbon footprint on the planet, telling the rest of us we have to reduce our lifestyle.
      Al Gore was there, the man who made many millions from green investments, and who went and bought an ocean front property after telling us the ocean will be up some 20 feet soon.
      Aglukkak did exactly what she was supposed to do – defend Canada, unlike Ms, May who fights against the country she is supposed to serve.

      As for the “do us proud”, I’m afraid you fell for Ms May’s word twisting: she wasn’t there representing anyone or in any official capacity. I asked her and she replied “My job is to report and meet with other Green officials from around the world”. She was not included in any negotiations,did not influence anything… In fact, the only thing she did was managed to present a complete failure as a partial success.
      When the CBC or the Star agree this was a failure, you should know it really is.

      • diannemaloney

        you took the time to express your feelings, but I don’t agree, conservative,liberals and ndp have f*cked us over for years and are responsible for the state of Canada as it is, at this moment. Our fake robo call Gov’t has sold us to the highest bidder…we don’t even find out until after the fact,. With all their sneaky omnibus bills
        May and protests sites are the only ones who have given us information. So if you think I will change my mind you are sadly mistaken, so which big party do you shill for ?
        I think you are going to be in for a big surprise next election, the young are going to rock your parties to their foundations. They want an oil free country.
        They want a free Canada
        Don’t reply, I won’t answer back. I feel sorry for you, So how much do they pay you?

        • Cris Paunescu

          Funny, you accuse me of being paid for what I write yet you tell me not to reply – is this typical or am I just special?

          No, Dianne, nobody pays me except my customers. I do support the Conservatives, seeing what the liberals and dippers did to my country and to my province (Ontario).

          Government has “sold us”? How exactly did they do that? And isn’t this exactly what Cretin’s liberals said about NAFTA – while later tried to take some credit for it?

          The robocalls statement is so lame I won’t bother.

          Yes, the young want “an oil free country” indeed. They said so at the latest Burnaby Mountain protest – as soon as they finished bitching on their Iphones about the lack of PARKING SPACE! While they cooked and warmed up with their PROPANE stoves. The only “natural thing” they did was turn the park in a toilet – not even bothering to bury their crap.

          How would you be able to promote your views if this country was oil free? How would the COP20 (and the others, before it or yet to come) could take place? Do you realize how stupid this “oil free country” statement sounds?

          Based on the last paragraph in your post –

          “Don’t reply, I won’t answer back. I feel sorry for you, So how much do they pay you?”

          - you don’t…

          • diannemaloney

            Nice deflection from my concerns.
            Yes you are very special…
            you are a shill for the conservatives, more shuck and jive instead of focusing on the real problems….Canada’s biggest attraction is it’s once pristine beauty and it’s abundance of clean potable water.
            How much money will we lose because of politicians who live in an ivory tower. There are more of the rest of us who are pissed.
            after this you become spam
            your karma will catch up with you, I am sorry for you

          • excusemebut2

            I think the Conservatives would even want to shut this guy up Dianne cause his posts are so full of ignorance he makes even them look good.

          • Salvador_H

            Mr Atmospheric Scientist – please, I asked you a couple of times now, provide some examples of my ignorance – refute even one of the points I made anywhere.

          • Salvador_H

            Not sure how I will “become spam” given that I don’t email you directly, but anyway…

            How much money? Well, in Ontario we paid some 50 Billion MORE THAN NEEDED because of the government’s policies. They claim they replaced coal energy – no, they didn’t, look at the numbers – wind/solar supply at best 4% of our energy needs, coal was a lot higher than that. What they did was manage to kill some 300,000 manufacturing jobs – and growing.
            Canada still has it’s pristine beauty, what do you think is destroying it? Our water is also just fine, thank you.

            Again, don’t fall for Suzuki, Gore or Young, they have their own agendas – and it’s not about the environment, it’s about money and power.

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