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In Abrupt About-Face, Harper Government Says It Won’t Follow U.S. Lead on Climate Change, As Obama Administration Moves to Curb Emissions

2010/11/29

For years now, the Harper government has been justifying its woeful lack of action on this century’s most pressing crisis on the grounds that it is waiting for the United States to take the lead on climate change policy for North America. Since coming into power 4 years ago, Harper and his so-called Environment Ministers, Prentice and Baird, have abdicated responsibility for crafting a made-in-Canada response to climate change, repeating the mantra “we’ll do what the U.S. does”. Only nine months ago, former Environment Minister Prentice went on record, saying:

“We now have formalized that Canada and the United States have the same level of ambition and that we will be moving forward in concert with an identical base year and an identical target.”

However, now that the United States is moving ahead on curbing greenhouse gas emissions through EPA regulation, it seems that Harper et al have had a change of heart. John Baird, our bombastic Environment Minister, under whose guidance Canada was embarrassed internationally when South Africa lead 77 other countries out of the room in protest when Canada addressed the 2007  Bali climate conference, now says that American plan is “patchwork”, although he confessed he hadn’t even heard about the new rules before being contacted by the press. An interesting admission for an federal minister who is heading to international talks on climate change this week, and whose government is basing their entire policy on what the Americans are doing. Especially because the EPA began the process to regulate greenhouse gas emissions way back in April of 2009.

All of this begs the question – if Canada’s policy is to do what the U.S. is doing to address climate change, and our government isn’t even aware of what the Americans are doing, who have Harper and his minions been consulting about climate change strategy?  I think Canadians got their answer last week, in a new report, Tar Sands Long Shadow, released by Climate Action Network Canada. The report demonstrates that the Harper government has systematically tried to kill clean energy and climate change policies in other countries in order to promote the interests of oil companies.

There’s no doubt – Prime Minister Harper consistently represents the interest of Big Oil, not of Canadians, particularly not the youngest of Canadians whose future depends on action on this issue now. Is this really how Canadians want our country to be governed, as a petro-state? I know I don’t, and – for starters – I am sitting down to write Mr. Harper and Mr. Baird a letter to tell them so.  If you are in the Toronto area today, please consider joining the “Die In For Change” being organized today at Dundas Square (Yonge and Dundas) at 12:10 – 12:45. There will be a flash mob die in followed by a flash mob event. Don’t forget to wear “350”.

Harper crafts his climate change policies

More links:

Canada Won’t Follow U.S. Plan to Slash Greenhouse Gases: Baird (November 28, 2010)

Canada Ties New Emissions-Cuts Targets to U.S. Goals (February, 2010)

Canada Trying to “Kill” Global Warming Laws

Even the uber-conservative CD Howe Institute went on record this past week as supporting federal action on pricing carbon:

Carbon Pricing Won’t Hurt Alberta and Saskatchewan

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