guardian.co.uk, Monday 30 November 2009 19.30 GMT
Syncrude Oil Sands, Mine and Refinery, the world's largest oil sand operation producing crude oil at Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, October 20, 2001. Photograph: Greg Smith/Corbis
Canada's image lies in tatters. It is now to climate what Japan is to whaling.
The tar barons have held the nation to ransom. This thuggish petro-state is today the greatest obstacle to a deal in Copenhagen.
When you think of Canada, which qualities come to mind? The world's peacekeeper, the friendly nation, a liberal counterweight to the harsher pieties of its southern neighbour, decent, civilised, fair, well-governed? Think again. This country's government is now behaving with all the sophistication of a chimpanzee's tea party. So amazingly destructive has Canada become, and so insistent have my Canadian friends been that I weigh into this fight, that I've broken my self-imposed ban on flying and come to Toronto.
So here I am, watching the astonishing spectacle of a beautiful, cultured nation turning itself into a corrupt petro-state. Canada is slipping down the development ladder, retreating from a complex, diverse economy towards dependence on a single primary resource, which happens to be the dirtiest commodity known to man. The price of this transition is the brutalisation of the country, and a government campaign against multilateralism as savage as any waged by George Bush.
Rest of the article is located at: