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Canadian geopolitical culture: Climate change and sustainability

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Canadian nationalist rhetoric is still premised on resource extraction despite discussions of climate change by the Liberal government since 2015. Taking earth system science seriously requires rethinking national identity and the conventional geopolitical premises on which it is based. Meeting Paris Agreement on Climate Change commitments requires much more fundamental changes than Canadian Federal government rhetoric so far acknowledges. Considering recent formulations of geopolitical culture in combination with concerns that environmental change be included in contemporary geopolitical analysis, this paper examines the implicit geopolitical formulations in recent Canadian federal political discourse both in Stephen Harper's Conservative government and the subsequent Liberal administration. Contrasting earth system science ideas about global transformations with Canadian nationalist rhetoric concerning petroleum production and notions of unlimited resource extraction as parts of national identity sharply highlights the contours of Canadian identity. If sustainability is to be taken seriously, the official nationalist formulation will have to be drastically changed, but as the widespread rejection of the LEAP manifesto suggests, such ideas of a sustainable mode of globalization have yet to substantially influence Canadian political discourse, despite the rhetorical support offered to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change by the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau.

French
Compte tenu des formulations récentes de la culture géopolitique en combinaison avec les préoccupations voulant que les changements environnementaux soient inclus dans l'analyse géopolitique contemporaine, cet article examine les formulations géopolitiques implicites dans le discours politique fédéral canadien récent sous le gouvernement conservateur de Stephen Harper ainsi que l'administration libérale subséquente. Les idées contrastées de la science du système terrestre au sujet des transformations mondiales avec la rhétorique nationaliste canadienne concernant la production de pétrole et les notions d'extraction de ressources illimitées comme éléments de l'identité nationale soulignent très clairement les contours de l'identité canadienne. Si la durabilité doit être prise au sérieux, la formulation officielle du nationalisme devra être radicalement modifiée, mais comme le rejet généralisé du manifeste « Un bond vers l'avant » en particulier le suggère, de telles idées de modalités durables de la mondialisation doivent encore influencer considérablement le discours politique canadien, malgré le soutien rhétorique offert à l'Accord de Paris sur le climat par le gouvernement libéral de Justin Trudeau.
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Keywords: Canada; changements climatiques; climate change; earth system; geopolitics; géopolitique; nationalism; nationalisme; système terrestre

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2019

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