Maybe Canada and Australia aren’t so alike after all

By DJ Kelly November 27, 2007

People often compare Canada and Australia. We have similar values, we became countries in much the same way and at pretty much the same time. If we have a sister nation anywhere in the world most would say Australia is it.

So congratulations to Australian Prime Minister-elect Kevin Rudd on his victory earlier this week. His election swings Australia to the left on the political spectrum and ends 12 years of Conservative government.

Now I’m not a big fan of this whole left versus right, conservative versus liberal thing. I don’t think we’re so different. I think so long as you are trying to make the world a better place then bully on you, and good for us all. But recent comments made by Stephen Harper and Kevin Rudd might be dividing and defining out two nations even more. And showing there really is a difference between “left” and “right” political leanings.

By now we’ve all heard Stephen Harper’s comments this past week at the closing of the Commonwealth Summit where he called the Kyoto Accord a “mistake”. (Side note: rather than the expected binding agreement on global warming reduction tactics to come out of the summit, Harper instead pitched a non-binding agreement saying everyone will try to do something. Very, very vague and I can’t see this being overly useful regardless of what side of the political spectrum you fall under.)

But what really got me thinking was what Kevin Rudd did immediately after he won the election: he started working on finding ways for Australia to ratify and meet the Kyoto Protocol targets.

It seems Canada and Australia may really different after all. Canada “tries” to meet the targets and gives up, while Australia leaves industry to solve the issue and then gives up in favour of Kyoto. We’ll have a chance here to see if Australia has a better plan, or at least if they can show more effort than we gave. Either way Canada has something to learn by watching Australia as they go down this path.

Good luck Australia. You’re going to need it.