National Post (National Edition)

Colder than a politician's heart


Being, as the saying has it, a little under the weather over the weekend suggested to me, in the torpor that comes with that state, the idea of looking at that other weather, the real stuff. And what a fun time it was to dip into the meteorolog­ical sites just as a check on how much closer our part of this great planet is to the edge of global warming doom.

The exercise turned out to be much more encouragin­g than I could ever have anticipate­d. As in any genuine scientific probe I narrowed the field of observatio­n to achieve maximum coherence of results. I concentrat­ed on the West.

I saw over the weekend that in parts of our most hospitable Western provinces a minus 50 on the dread Celsius scale was easily achieved. A real tribute I thought to the efficacy of the carbon tax and the zeal of our Western friends to keep up the fight to keep their provinces colder than ever. And there were ever so many other spots, that while not going for the -50C goal readily boasted very impressive temps in the -40s, accompanie­d in many cases by wind-chills more ferociousl­y cold than the coldest corners of that tiny instrument, a politician's heart.

Over the weekend Saskatchew­an was racking up the “coldest temperatur­es in Canada” almost by the minute, depending on where in that haven of a province you checked. Particular­ity of reference is called for here.

Uranium City, that once thriving hamlet in northern Saskatchew­an on the shores of Lake Athabasca, I learned, “tied its all-time record low of -48.9 C on Sunday morning, matching the record set on Jan. 15, 1974.” Well done, U.C.

Buffalo Narrows, a predominan­tly Indigenous community and home to the famous sand dunes, a 10-kilometre beach that rivals anything in Maui, really got into the spirit of February on the Prairies with a very impressive -46.4 C. This laid low the previous record set a whole 58 years ago (-40 C) by a clean six full degrees.

There was more blowing up of the cryogenic sweepstake­s for coldest ever. Waskesiu Lake, Collins Bay, Key Lake, Stony Rapids, each of these, too, set new heights — rather depths — of cold, and put new entries in the record books for just how cold you can get if you put your mind to it.

Now I know some people of careless dispositio­n and prone to absurd nitpickery are going to object — “doesn't this fellow know that weather isn't climate?” Well, of course I do, you silly geese. But enough weather is climate, just as a little bit of climate is weather. And besides I don't hear you blowing on that trumpet when, on one weird day in July, some northern outpost hits the plus 30 C mark. Then it's all “hottest day ever, are we too late? Global warming, global warming etc.” So enough of that please.

According to some commentato­rs Saskatchew­an was the “coldest place in the world” Sunday morning, and that's saying something in a world that includes Siberia, or Antarctica during any season when the lovely Sir David Attenborou­gh wanders south looking for a chat with the penguins.

Saskatchew­an however wasn't alone. I learned from a gentleman on Twitter, Mr. Chris Martz, that “Temperatur­es as low as -60 F (-51 C) were recorded in the N.W. Territorie­s this morning. This is not a province record, but does rank among the coldest air temperatur­es recorded in North America.” Truly, as has been said so many times by our federal leaders, Canada, or at least the West, is “leading the fight against global warming.” Just wait till that old carbon tax hits a $150 or $200 a tonne. We might even approach the Holy Grail of Absolute Zero.

Now I must note I am a little disappoint­ed with my own province lately. Newfoundla­nd has been playing with some (relatively) mild temps this February.


The home specialty is more along snow lines — how often, how thick, how wind-driven, how heavy and relentless a snowfall can be. We have monsoon-type snowfalls. Our blizzards can be real b-----ds!

It was almost to the day last year that Newfoundla­nd put on her best climate gear. And, by Suzuki and the lesser lords of global warming, did it ever put a stop to the nonsense pushed out over 20 years ago in some journals that: “Snowfalls are just a thing of the past.”

Ha! I say. Anyone who saw photos of St. John's, a year ago, would have seen a city — no actually they would not have seen a city — they would have seen great pyramids, mountains, Himalayas of snow, burying the great and ancient port. Shrouding it in drifts 10-feet deep, smothering houses, turning mid-town streets into ski slopes, overall a whack of snow that would terrify a Sasquatch.

But this year the trophy has to go to the West, and as noted Saskatchew­an in particular. It must be great news for Greta Thunberg that some are heeding her urgent messages. That, by the evidence I have presented here, there are parts of the world as cold as even Elizabeth May and Bill Nye could wish.

Canada is doing its part. The carbon tax is a grand success, and as it grows the people of my great country will get more frigid by the day and love it.

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