Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
Oh, for heaven’s sake. If the President of the United States is going to lecture people about the science of climate change, could someone on his staff do a bit of homework beforehand?
The fact that snow is conspicuously absent from some of the venues at the Vancouver winter Olympics was held up by President Obama yesterday as evidence that global warming is, in fact, occurring. Responding to a question, the President declared:
I want to just be clear that the science of climate change doesn’t mean that every place is getting warmer…But…Vancouver, which is supposed to be getting snow during the Olympics, suddenly is at 55 degrees… [bold added]
Excuse me, but I happen to not only live here in Canada, but to have had family and friends who resided for years in or near the breathtakingly gorgeous (not to mention murderously expensive) city of Vancouver.
I know, therefore, that they don’t own many winter coats in that part of our vast country – and that mowing their lawns is a perfectly ordinary February activity. Vancouver’s weather is much like Seattle’s and, as a friend of mine who lives in the American city mentioned this week, her daffodils have begun to bloom.
Online advice aimed at those planning to travel to Canada correctly points out that February in Vancouver “is especially mild,” which means one should be “prepared for rain on any given day in Vancouver in February.” [bold added]
Furthermore, a 2003 article from the Vancouver Sun plucked from the archives demonstrates that everyone knew back on the day Vancouver was awarded the Olympics that snow would be in short supply:
…no city with a climate as mild as Vancouver’s has ever hosted the Winter Games…sports fans who turn on their TVs in 2010 will probably see the kind of winter Vancouverites know all too well: a cloudy, rainy city full of people carrying umbrellas…
“The typical view of a Winter Games is snow,” said Alex Carre…a member of the Canadian Olympic Committee…People will come here and say, ‘Gosh, where is the snow?‘”… While there are likely to be at least a couple of nice, sunny days during the two-week event, there could also be plenty of days of driving rain… [bold added]
We Canadians are often accused of having a bit of an inferiority complex. We live next door to the economic powerhouse of the world and benefit from this fact immensely. But because our population is only one tenth the size, we aren’t in the same league and therefore can’t expect the President of the United States to pay us much attention.
Nevertheless, did he really need to misrepresent our weather?