‘Cli­mate Cru­sader’ tweets cre­ate their own storm

Sentinel-Review (Woodstock) - - OPINION - LORRIE GOLD­STEIN

It was, de­clared En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Change Min­is­ter Cather­ine McKenna with the equiv­a­lent of a Twit­ter shrug, “a mis­take.”

The mis­take be­ing that Canada, through her min­istry, had tweeted its con­grat­u­la­tions to Syria for sign­ing the Paris cli­mate ac­cord in a Twit­ter ac­count that fea­tures a smil­ing McKenna as its avatar.

This on the same day a United Na­tions in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­cluded Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad’s gov­ern­ment used sarin gas against his own peo­ple in Khan Shaykhun on April, 4, 2017, killing 100.

That was part of the on­go­ing, sixyear Syr­ian civil war, in which 470,000 have died and 13.5 mil­lion of the coun­try’s 22 mil­lion peo­ple are in need of hu­man­i­tar­ian as­sis­tance, in­clud­ing six mil­lion Syr­i­ans dis­placed in­ter­nally and five mil­lion made refugees — 33,266 ac­cepted by Canada in 2016 alone.

But, good job, tweeted our gov­ern­ment through its “Min­is­ter C. McKenna @ec_min­is­ter” Twit­ter site, declar­ing: “Canada salutes Nicaragua and Syria for join­ing on to the Paris Agree­ment!Global#Cli­mate Ac­tion.#COP23,” il­lus­trated by the flags of both coun­tries.

Within min­utes, Deputy Con­ser­va­tive Leader Lisa Raitt tweeted back: “Hey @ec_min­is­ter – this is ac­tu­ally what your gov’t should be say­ing about Syria. Your pub­lic praise is mis­placed,” cit­ing a speech by Amer­i­can UN am­bas­sador Nikki Ha­ley to the Se­cu­rity Coun­cil on that same day about the use of chem­i­cal weapons in Syria by its gov­ern­ment and ISIS.

Al­berta United Con­ser­va­tive Party Leader Ja­son Ken­ney tweeted: “Trudeau Govt in one tweet. Butcher As­sad: never mind that un­pleas­ant­ness about gassing kids. You’ve joined us in empty virtue sig­nalling!”

As many oth­ers, aghast at Canada’s praise for the mur­der­ous Syr­ian regime, took McKenna to task, her min­istry deleted its pro-Syr­ian tweet and McKenna tweeted in re­sponse to Raitt, on her own, “Cather­ine McKenna @cathm­ckenna” ac­count (which also fea­tures a photo of her smil­ing as its avatar): “Clearly a mis­take was made from my Dept Twit­ter. We’ve been clear that the mur­der­ous As­sad regime must end at­tacks against its peo­ple.”

Un­for­tu­nately, the im­pact of McKenna’s cor­rec­tion was di­min­ished some­what by the fact the pinned tweet on her per­sonal ac­count (one cho­sen by the user to be the first tweet ev­ery­one who comes to the site sees) was a pic­ture of McKenna pos­ing as a “Cli­mate Cru­sader” in a green mask, be­side Justin Trudeau as Clark Kent/Su­per­man, with the mes­sage, “We all need to be su­per­heros (sic) in the fight against cli­mate change. #Hap­pyHal­loween Canada! #Cli­mateCru­sader.”

This is aside from the fact McKenna’s ac­count is a never-end­ing litany of pho­tos of happy peo­ple and happy min­is­ter McKenna, re­mind­ing one of the satir­i­cal DPRK_News par­ody Twit­ter site, which fea­tures pic­tures of happy North Kore­ans and happy North Korean dic­ta­tor Kim Jong-un.

The other big fea­ture on McKenna’s per­sonal Twit­ter ac­count is nev­erend­ing happy sto­ries about re­new­able en­ergy and gov­ern­ment pro­grams to ad­dress cli­mate change, so much so that you would never know the gov­ern­ment she rep­re­sents claims the world faces an im­mi­nent, ex­is­ten­tial threat from global warm­ing in which hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple will soon die.

Nor that Canada won’t meet its 2020 or 2030 UN green­house gas re­duc­tion tar­gets un­less it buys bil­lions of dol­lars worth of use­less car­bon off­sets on fraud-rid­den global car­bon mar­kets.

But hey, we can all be “su­per­heros” (sic) in the fight against cli­mate change.

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