Op-ed by Michelle Stirling, Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society © 2018

Catherine McKenna – Diving in and Swimming in the Deep End on Climate

Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail wrote an article on Nov. 21, 2018, about how swimming was the perfect training ground for Canada’s Climate Change and Environment Minister, the Honorable Catherine McKenna.  In the interview, she states that she was the captain of the University of Toronto swim team and often had to bring people together.  Mr. Mason concludes that the grueling practices for the swim team made Minister McKenna an ideal pick for her role.

I disagree.

Most of the people on Minister McKenna’s U of T team were undoubtedly good to excellent swimmers or they would not have been chosen.

By contrast, as Minister McKenna told a stunned Calgary Chamber of Commerce luncheon in 2017, she went into the Paris COP21 Conference, to negotiate probably the single most important deal for a resource nation, saying: “What’s a COP?”

In other words, she knew nothing on the climate file.

So, you would think a wise team leader would have said: “I’m in the deep end here and the swimming skills I have are not going to get me out. Maybe I will drown-proof till I get my bearings.   And don’t cling to me as your savior because we’ll all drown.”

Instead, she said, “I’m an ambitious person” and pushed for the even more stringent 1.5°Celsius target (meaning Canada is required to make even MORE greenhouse gas reduction over those targets that are already impossible for us to meet).

So. Now we are all drowning.

Obviously, many ministers in government know nothing about the nuts and bolts of their portfolio, especially when new on the job. But isn’t it responsible to then hold off on big decisions and international deals, to get up to speed and truly assess the potential impact of a pending decision?

And, what about potential undue influence or conflict of interest?

I suspect Minister McKenna became swim team captain at U of T on merit.  But I was very surprised to recently find that Minister McKenna’s husband, Scott Gilmore, former diplomat and now editor-at-large at Maclean’s was awarded the $765,000 dollar Skoll Prize for Social Entrepreneurship by philanthropist Jeff Skoll in 2009.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Gilmore

Mr. Skoll was the producer of Al Gore’s 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth,” if you recall, and Skoll was quoted in Maclean’s saying: “In the meantime, I think the biggest breakthrough that’s upon us is the new generation of batteries which are super inexpensive, super powerful; we can have a global grid with batteries, solar and wind within a decade if we put our minds to it. The only thing that can slow us down are political obstacles, the economics are there.” 

There is no evidence that we can have a wind, solar and battery powered grid within a decade.  No one questioned Mr. Skoll over at Maclean’s.

Read: In the Dark on Renewables

Euan Mearns: The Holy Grail of Battery Storage

Minister McKenna’s husband did not receive a paltry $2,000 or $3,000 award – he received received and award of over three-quarter of a million-dollars. The implication of this type of relationship suggests that Minister McKenna has a clear conflict of interest pushing renewables and ‘clean growth.’

Just as Minister McKenna never questioned the Marshall Islanders who gave her a little coconut palm frond to wear, to remind her of their position that, as she said: “…really tough spot in the negotiations, that a lot of developing countries, like the Marshall Islands, I’m wearing a coconut frond from the Marshall Islands, I mean they are actually sinking, as the waters rise, they’re sinking and so 1.5°C degrees is something that they need to see …but also I think it creates a sense of urgency, that we really need to act, and we’ve all got a lot of work to do…” so no one at Maclean’s questioned Mr. Skoll’s magical thinking on energy.

Facts can be helpful for clarifying where we are today. In 2015, the population of the Marshall Islands was 52,994.  The population of Canada then?   35.83 million.

Thanks to the Paris Agreement’s implications for Canada and the subsequent policies like the carbon tax, Bill C-69, west coast tanker ban, push for ‘clean growth century,’ and coal phase-out, etc., more than 100,000 Canadian oil, gas and oil sands workers are out of work – double the population of the Marshall Islands. Along with those economically drowning Canadians, there are thousands more clinging to virtual life rafts in trickle down industries. Some 7,000 coal workers in Alberta will lose their jobs. Thirty Alberta communities will be destroyed and sink into oblivion.

Are the Marshall Islanders ‘sinking’? The sea level rise at the Marshall islands from two long-record tide gauges is only 2.2 mm/yr LINKLINK, but that area of the islands have increased by 9.6% from 1968 to 2005, or 2.9% per decade based on satellite and airplane imagery analysis LINK. The corals associated with atoll islands continually provide material to the islands so they grow to keep pace with sea level rise.

As ‘team leader’ and a lawyer, called to the bar in Ontario and New York State, should the Minister have done some due diligence on the claims these people made?  After all, nice as the little palm frond is, it turns out these tiny islanders who want us to shut down the oil sands,  were, at the time, hosting the world’s third largest marine registry.  Now, it is the second largest. A single large container ship puts out the equivalent pollution (not just carbon, but NOx, SOx, and soot) as 50 million cars.


Likewise, despite the Small Islands claiming they will all drown any time now, evidence shows that on most small islands, erosion is taking place, but that is due to the sea persistently working away at the shores of some islands – that is not sea level rise (though often perceived as such by locals). Erosion is not due to climate change or greenhouse gas emissions.  Indeed, research shows that some islands have had NO sea level rise, and others have even grown (as in the links above).


Further evidence disputes the claims of imminent catastrophe at a set of neighbouring islands – the Maldives. They just completed a brand-new runway on a low-lying island, big enough to receive the A380 Dreamliner jumbo jet.

Read more here: https://blog.friendsofscience.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Countering-the-climate-tome-V-3A-Aug-7-2018.pdf

So Canada. We’ve been had.

The world of climate change is one filled with social drama – that’s why Al Gore likes to say: “the nightly news is like a walk through the Book of Revelations.”

But if you actually look at the evidence, you find this is not true.

Along with drama, countless conflicts of interest abound. All hooked to ‘climate change’ and green crony capitalism!

Isn’t it time we called them out and stopped them from holding our heads under water in the deep end of the economy?

What kind of swim captain makes Team Canada drown?


single hand of drowning man in sea asking for help