Overcoming Canada’s inferiority complex on geopolitics – rabble.ca – rabble.ca

Let’s say you’re living with your mother. She’s sick and needs your help. Would you ignore her, go hang out with local gang members, and plot ways to defeat a rival gang? That pretty much sums up Canada’s current approach to geopolitics.

When I was on the international biodiversity policy file, two of the negotiators for whom I had the greatest respect were from Iran and Russia. They were committed to the good of the planet despite their leaders’ political views.

Canada and China worked together to achieve a positive outcome from COP15 in Montreal last December. Canadian – Chinese cooperation to protect and restore the world’s ecosystems should be encouraged, despite our differences on other issues. Let’s hope Minister Guilbeault’s trip this week is productive.

Helping our mother (Mother Earth, if you hadn’t caught on) should be Canada’s number one geopolitical priority. But if instead we choose to hang with ex-colonial powers and Uncle Sam, talking global geopolitics and war, we’ll end up doing whatever they want so they’ll let us stay in the gang.

We have an inferiority complex. We’re not sure we belong. We’re weaker than the big boys. To keep our gang in power we do a bit of dirty work – promoting nuclear power and small modular reactors (SMRs).

I’m not making this up. According to a secret Natural Resources Canada document, “Domestic nuclear expertise will decline without investment in SMRs, resulting in declining global influence and ability to engage on nuclear security issues (including, for example, Iran negotiations).”

How else can one explain why Canada’s natural resources minister would go to visit his parents in Saskatoon and, while there, announce $47 million for SMR development – without the participation of any Saskatchewan government officials?

Promoting SMRs as a climate change “solution” is absurd. It delays action on energy conservation and renewable energy technologies, keeping fossil fuel producers in business longer. It ignores the fact that all nuclear reactors produce waste that needs to be kept away from humans and other life forms for thousands of years.

The main purpose of SMRs is to maintain our ties to the nuclear weapons establishment.

The federal government only pretends that SMRs will ever get built. The real objective is to hand out enough money to maintain “domestic nuclear expertise”. These sums are not trivial – well over a billion dollars per year. Most of that flows through the crown corporation Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) to a multinational consortium heavily involved in the US and UK nuclear arsenals.

Scientists from around the world came to Canada in World War II to learn how to make nuclear weapons. The Minister of Trade and Commerce, C.D. Howe created AECL in 1952 to profit from sales of nuclear reactors and plutonium for US weapons. The Nuclear Energy Act, a holdover from that era, obligates Minister of Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson and his department to promote nuclear power.

CANDU heavy water reactors, while great for making atom bombs, are not so great for making electricity. They produce ten times more high-level nuclear waste than light water reactors. They produce far more tritium—radioactive water— that moves quickly and easily through the environment and right into our DNA.

AECL managed to bribe a few shady regimes to buy them, but the market has dried up.

Should we help our gang keep their weapons that can destroy the world – or save Mother Earth? It’s a choice about Canada’s “legacy.” Why not be leaders in something positive?

We can build on our Indigenous heritage. We can manage our forests to protect biodiversity and sequester carbon, rather than treating them as “natural resources” and selling them off to foreigners.

Buckminster Fuller said “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Let’s build a new geopolitical model that focuses on saving Mother Earth.

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