What Just Happened | by Stephen Whitworth

Hugh Nerlien Tells It Like It Is

After a busy summer of smearing the Federal Liberals with a partisan and failed effort to get their friends, Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives, elected to government, Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party returned to the Legislature last week for another session of deflecting criticism with insults and inanity.

And no one exemplified the arrogant and entitled government’s smug self-assuredness better than Hugh Nerlien, Sask. Party backbencher and member for Kelvington-Wadena, who gave a speech for the ages.

Posting on Facebook, Opposition MLA Cathy Sproule expressed alarm over comments Nerlien made in the Legislature.

“In what was supposed to be a response to the Saskatchewan government’s Throne Speech, Nerlien stood up and proudly denied climate change, using words like “ad nauseam” and “delusional” while openly mocking climate change science and scientists,” wrote Sproule.

Sproule added Nerlien’s “shocking spectacle” also included controversial remarks on immigration and Trump-like condemnation of so-called “political correctness.

Sproule included a link to the Oct. 28 Hansard, where Nerlien’s comments are recorded. It turns out they are indeed quite the read. Using common pro-oil talking points, Nerlien criticized “the end-of-the-world crowd” for their concern over global warming. He mocked the impact of greenhouse gasses by calling CO2 “plant food”. He suggested Canada’s carbon emissions — which are in the top 10 by country and top two measured per capita — were inconsequential (this is also known as the “Suzy didn’t clean her room so why should I have to?” argument).

Nerlien also boldly rejected the scientific consensus on climate change by suggesting scientific certainty is impossible:

“Mr. Speaker, for anybody with any intelligence to say the science is settled, well let’s say that they can go back to the Flat Earth Society and live in the world where they will fall off the earth if they reach beyond what they can see,” he said. “If the science is settled, let’s just send all those scientists home because their work is clearly done.”

It’s hard to not admire the boldness of a climate change skeptic comparing supporters of science to people who believe the earth is a disk. It’s likely Nerlien’s comments will find broad support in Saskatchewan, a province with Canada’s highest percentage of climate change deniers. Fortunately, ignorance is usually a curable malady, although it takes a lot of work, patience and aspirin.

Hit The Panic Button

It’s no Hugh Nerlien monologue, but on Nov. 5, roughly 11,000 scientists called for immediate action on climate change.

“Scientists have a moral obligation to clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat and to “tell it like it is.”,” opened the statement, published in the journal Bioscience. “On the basis of this obligation and the graphical indicators presented below, we declare, with more than 11,000 scientist signatories from around the world, clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.”

The statement, titled “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency”, can be found online.

Planet S readers may want to e-mail the link to Nerlien at nerlien.mla@sasktel.net