The world is burning and these two leaders are laughing.
Australian PM Tony Abbott last week in Ottawa
Christopher Hume wrote this in the Star today
Unlike most world leaders — if that’s the right term — these two want to be frank; they will do nothing to stop global warming, they proudly declared, if it might hurt the economy. Not one dollar, certainly not one job, shall be lost in the fight to control climate change, the gravest issue we face today.
That pained smile Harper adopts when forced to explain his most indefensible actions to a room full of doubters was much in evidence Monday when the two PMs showered the benefit of their wisdom upon ungrateful media hordes. The difference between us and them, we were reminded, is that other nations are hypocrites and we’re not. We’re upfront about it — the environment is not our issue. Other leaders may say they care; but they don’t.
Well, actually, some do care. But not Canada or Australia. Why should we? Just because Oz is burning up and beset with drought. Just because two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70. Just because Canada was the only country of 27 studied by the Centre for Global Development whose record on the environment actually got worse last year. Just because the tarsands are synonymous with greed, environmental degradation and, in Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s word, “filth.”
A friend in Australia, a female religious wrote me about Abbott in these terms:
We have the most disgusting prime minister – Catholic, arch conservative and without a heart or empathy. Tony Abbott – went to Jesuit school. Recently the whole of the senior class wrote him an open letter bewailing his betrayal of Jesuit ideals and principles. Made no difference as I think he believes he is chosen by God and so infallible (sound familiar?)
One would ask how does a man Jesuit-educated escape with his moral compass awry? What happened on the way to the top job? Did money corrupt him? What well is he drinking from?
There is room for differences of opinion among Christians but guys like this and the Ayn Rand loving Paul Ryan the Republican VP candidate in the last US election seem lost and disconnected from a sacramental orientation.
The beautiful thing about both Abbott and Ryan is that both men’s views were repudiated very forcefully by their Catholic contemporaries.