Canadians clamor for climate action while their leader ducks the issue

Canadians are more concerned about the earth than at any time in the last 15 years, says a new poll. Some 26 percent feel the environment is more deserving of government attention than any other issue, and more than half of those polled would welcome a carbon tax. British Columbia and, oddly enough, oil-rich Alberta were the provinces most in support of fossil-fuel taxes. “I think it’s a reflection of people wanting to hear somebody try to do something, some specific policy initiatives that they can support,” says Darrell Bricker of Ipsos Reid, which conducted the poll. So they don’t want leaders to avoid the issue? Funny, because Prime Minister Stephen Harper just called off a planned summit with the E.U. in Finland, where he would have been chastised for abandoning the Kyoto Protocol. Claiming he was needed at home, Harper nevertheless plans to be in Latvia, a short flight from Finland, mere days after the scheduled summit. European officials are, understandably, miffed.