Friday, February 16, 2007

Tories Drop the Ball on the Environment…Again

The Tories’ environmental record has been so marked with dark spots, and far too many shortcomings, that one might characterize them as the proverbial black hole of environmental inactivity.

Rona Ambrose’s plans for the environment were anything but rosy and John Baird has so far been rhetorical but ineffective. Which is why Stephen Harper’s two-speak on reducing climate change while abandoning the minimum Kyoto targets for greenhouse gas emissions is almost comical if not just plain sad.

Harper didn’t even show up when the Senate voted on Bill C-288, despite his strong words of opposition to the Bill.

Ironically, it seems the Conservatives could have used Harper’s support, as the Bill passed and the clock is now ticking.

The Bill promises to put some ‘teeth’ into the Kyoto targets, forcing the minority government to come up with a solid plan to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 60 days.

This whole situation made me a little nostalgic.

Paul Martin’s Liberal government may not have done much in terms of lowering Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. Nevertheless, I always got the impression that, at least on the surface, the Liberals cared about the environment.

Jean Chrétien ratified the Kyoto Protocol, perhaps a legacy-making move on his part. And Martin promised to fund Ontario’s transition to coal-free power generation (see page five here).

What strikes me about the Tories is that they don’t even pretend to like environmentalists or the climate-saving banner of the Kyoto Protocol.

Instead, they seem to scoff at legislation that would help to speed along Canada’s recovery from smog-infested cities to cleaner airspace and more environmentally-friendly modes of production.

Whether Harper likes it or not, Canadians, and the majority of the Senate, do care about Canada’s inactivity on meeting Kyoto targets.

Environmental problems won’t be going away any time soon; and, the Conservatives can expect to feel even more pressure on the issue of climate change as the temperature heats up.

Perhaps another scorching-hot-and-humid summer in Ottawa will be enough to melt Harper’s icy-blue heart.

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