If there’s one person the Canadian government would perhaps rather not hear from right now, it’s Tim Flannery, the vocal Australian climate change campaigner. Canada, which over the last 20 years or so has largely preferred to let economic development trump environmental concerns, is trying to keep a low profile in the run-up to the Copenhagen meeting in December charged with producing a successor to the Kyoto accord. Canada’s Conservative government — following the lead of former U.S. President George W. Bush — walked away from Kyoto on the grounds that it would damage the economy. Canada has made an enormous amount of money shipping oil to the United States, much of it from the tar sands in the western province of Alberta. Developing those sands burns up a huge amount of carbon and Canadian emissions are rising steadily, so it’s no coincidence that Canada says it is for action on climate change while allowing responsible economic development. Environment Minister Jim Prentice told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp on Wednesday that Canada would bring “a reasonable constructive approach” to Copenhagen. This is a message which wins few friends among environmentalists.