Energy Diet

Canada’s Wrong Choice

This week, Canada withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol. A shame for a country like Canada, once seen as innovative and socially responsible. A shame considering our politicians used an old and false paradigm for their propaganda: reducing greenhouse gas emissions weakens the economy.  One minister even said we would have to get rid of every vehicle on the Canadian roads to respect the Kyoto protocol targets! Considering there may be hundred of thousands of houses actually enlighten with Christmas lights, we can probably let a few cars on the roads…

I met last week with the owner of a small business, a sawmill. It’s been a tough time during the past years for the wood industry in Québec province. One of those times when environmental responsibility could easily be put aside for economic survival, in that old paradigm opposing environment and economic performance.

It always surprise me how strong entrepreneurs can be. The best of them are resilient and innovative. The owner of the sawmill had faced the economic crisis by investing in innovation. He ended up with higher profits, a result of smaller sales assorted to big cuts in expenses, all this with better products. He had found a way to do better, even after he always did better during the past decades. That is the real paradigm of the modern business: innovation leads to success.

I have worked with many businesses; met with dozens of entrepreneurs every year and I can tell you that for a lot of them, environmental responsibility is more an opportunity than a threat. Many times I saw the benefits of innovation toward the reduction of a business footprints. What this has to do with our 360º Energy Diet: We make choices, either political or economical, that send messages.

As leaders of my country choose living without socioeconomic innovation, I wish you wiser choices, with more nuances, that will more certainly lead you to a stronger economy in the long run.


  1. Mike
    December 13, 2011, 1:08 pm

    While I agree with your sentiment that Canada should be more environmentally conscious I completely disagree with the importance of the Kyoto Protocol. Whether we’re a part of it or not isn’t going to make a lot of difference to a weak solution.

    When countries like the US, China and India sign on to it, it’ll be more important, more weight, more effectiveness. Being part of the K.P. is a hollow union without these heavy polluters.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think Canada can find ways to be more energy efficient, but the K.P. aint it.

  2. Jack
    December 14, 2011, 3:40 am

    Actually Mike, Canada is taking the easy way out. We are using the US and other big polluters as an excuse. Canada should have taken a stronger role and encouraged the slack, less ethically driven countries to do more, not give up and join them. By dropping out we have lost any credibility for future deals. Harper is changing the face of our once respectable country faster than people think. I don’t think we’ll recognise the place before long. Other export-based countries like Australia are stepping up to the plate. Why can’t we?

  3. Christina Nunez
    December 20, 2011, 10:14 am

    Thank you for your thoughtful posts over these last eight weeks, Catherine and Jean-Denis. Amazing research went into a lot of them, and you have me wanting to visit Quebec — on a carbon-offset flight, of course…

  4. Terrence Chang
    April 26, 2012, 8:38 am

    I am thinking of it, if one day our factories decreased production, what our labors would be, just because we produce the long-lived products, slop reminding our consumer their demand on shopping , and meet the Kyoto Protocol targets (on the basic idea of less consumption, less carbon emission). If factories not run, they must to leave, but we meet the Kyoto Targets. When one day we stop our consumption-era, I am afraid our labors would lose their job to survive, but the whole world might long-lived.