But like it or not, we here in Quebec also display a reckless disregard for the environment, perhaps not on the Chinese scale, but reckless just the same.
Yes, a smog alert was issued Tuesday for Montreal and southern Quebec, something that happens up to 20 times throughout the winter when the weather gets cold and Quebecers, even in big population centres like Montreal, crank up their wood-burning stoves to heat their homes, a practice that can best be described as environmentally barbaric.
On top of this, most of the wood-burning devices aren't even up to standard, thus producing up to ten times more pollution than those stoves built to modern standards.
Montreal has been slow to implement changes, preferring to impose the implementation of higher standards until after the next municipal election.
But those standards will still allow for devices, albeit cleaner, something that strikes me as absurd.
Here in Quebec, environmentalists and indeed regular citizens preach about global warming and the dangers of pipelines and fossil fuels.
Yet we blindly allow for wood-burning stoves, a totally unnecessary and destructive force on the environment, where the clean alternative readily available is electricity, something Quebec is awash in surplus capacity.
Let me ask you, how you'd feel stuck in one of Montreal's proverbial traffic jams, right behind some jalopy that was belching out thick black smoke from its exhaust continuously.
What might go through your mind?
That the driver of this vehicle is an irresponsible and selfish jerk?
That the police should ticket the offender and that the vehicle should be pulled from the road?
Probably and rightfully so.
If the driver of that vehicle explained that he couldn't afford a new car or even to fix the pollution problem, would you accept his defense and excuse his behaviour?
Like me, I think you wouldn't, there can be no excuse for such reckless disregard.
So why any difference with wood-burning stoves?
While Mayor Coderre blathers on about going green with electric cars, he wilfully closes his eyes to reality of wood-burning stoves for the sake of expediency.
We as citizens are no better, we are in fact collective hypocrites.
Quebecers are the highest per capita users of wood-burning stoves and have the highest level of car ownership.
We don't need new, glitzy and expensive projects to combat global warming, we need to clean up our mess where it is easiest.
And here is a messages to Justin Trudeau, Denis Coderre and the Premier of Quebec....
How about imposing a carbon tax on wood-burning stoves before penalizing companies.
Perhaps a $3,000 a year carbon tax on wood-burnnig stoves would seriously reduce the use of these pollution engines, a carbon tax which would be effective and one that wouldn't cost jobs.
But can this makes-sense approach happen when the hundreds of thousands of owners of wood-burning devices have a vote, unlike companies where the imposition of a carbon tax can have no effect in the voting booth?
We Quebecers are loud in our denunciation of corporate polluters and pipeline projects, but when it comes to sacrificing and pulling our weight we are nowhere to be seen and neither are our politicians.
Hypocrisy, thy name is Quebec!