Friday, December 24, 2010

It's All About the Spin Baby. It's All About the Spin.

George Bush had included environmental concerns, as part of his 2000 election campaign, promising aggressive action to roll back carbon emissions.

Not long after being elected into office, his administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Christine Todd Whitman, announced: "This president is very sensitive to the issue of global warming.... There's no question but that global warming is a real phe­nomenon ...." (1)

I could have told the American people then that it was balderdash. Nonsense. Spin.

See, I live in Ontario and following politics, know who Christine Todd Whitman is. I should. She helped to inspire the neoconservative Common Sense Revolution of Mike Harris, that was indeed revolutionary, but totally lacking in sense, common or otherwise. It was just mean and short sighted.

But the Harris team worked with Republican strategist Mike Murphy, who had just come off a successful campaign for Whitman, as she became the freshly minted governor of New Jersey.
Whitman defeated a popular Democratic incumbent, Jim Florio, primarily on the basis of a Murphy-inspired campaign using a "common sense" slogan and pledging a 30 per cent tax cut. Since her victory, the activities of her government in implementing this plan had been carefully charted by Harris aide Bill King. In March 1994, Harris actually travelled to New Jersey to meet Whitman and discuss strategy. Two months later, the "Common Sense Revolution" with its 30 per cent tax cut was unveiled. (2)
You have to look at the big picture of neoconservatism. There are few traditional Republicans in the United States and few traditional Conservatives in Canada. Most are now part of a big tent. They move back and forth across the border, a border that they hope to soon erase, sharing strategy and war stories and feeding off each other.

Harper's Reform Party - Newt Gingrich

Reform Party- Mike Harris

Jason Kenney- Grover Norquist

Pierre Poilievre - Jim Sensenbrenner

Stephen Harper- George Bush, Frank Luntz, Art Finklestein (Nixon's former guru), etc., etc., etc.

There can be no Canadian sovereignty if neoconservatism has any chance of success. And we can have no environmental policy if it does succeed.

The Conservatives talk a good game, but simply using the right language is no guarantee that they will do what they say.

Bush's former treasury secretary, Paul O'Neill, had described ".. the threat of global warming as being equal to that of a nuclear holocaust. In 2001 a report from the nonpartisan National Acad­emy of Sciences concluded that carbon dioxide and other gases spewed from such man-made sources as factories, power plants, and motor vehicle exhaust pipes were indeed being trapped in the atmosphere and beginning to cause global warming. This study warned that global temperatures could rise anywhere from three to ten degrees Fahrenheit over the coming cen­tury, risking catastrophic damage around the globe." (1)

And yet Bush did more to reverse action to fight Global Warming than anyone before him. Stephen Harper now holds that dubious title, as he continues to sabotage any hopes of a binding international agreement.

So when WikiLeaks reveals that former environmental minister Jim Prentice, was "shocked" about how the world views the tar sands, I say"

Balderdash. Nonsense. Spin.

The gravity of Canada’s predicament first came clear to the respected cabinet minister during a trip to Bergen, Norway, where he attended a carbon capture and storage conference in late May, 2009. Norway, then in the run-up to a parliamentary election, was debating the involvement of government-owned Statoil in the Alberta oilsands, which had been deemed a source of “dirty oil.”

“As Prentice relayed it, the public sentiment in Norway shocked him and has heightened his awareness of the negative consequences to Canada’s historically ‘green’ standing on the world stage,” said a U.S. embassy cable that recounts the meeting.

This government knew full well how the world felt about the tar sands, and feigning ignorance just doesn't cut it. So when WikiLeaks also reveals that Prentice was going to "get tough" with the tar sands, I again say:

Balderdash. Nonsense. Spin.
Former environment minister Jim Prentice privately told U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson more than a year ago that he was prepared to impose new regulations on the oil sands if the industry and province did not improve their environmental performance, newly released Wikileaks documents reveal.
The WikiLeaks cable also hinted at "tensions between Prentice and Lisa Raitt. That's where the real story is. When the embarrassing tape of a conversation between Raitt and her aide, was made public, we discovered where Prentice's allegiances were:
Money earmarked to support wind energy producers was diverted to research and development in the oil patch in backroom budget wrangling, the minister of natural resources said in a conversation with an aide in January.Lisa Raitt told aide Jasmine MacDonnell that she suspects Environment Minister Jim Prentice took the money for wind power and redirected it to his Clean Energy Plan – a $1-billion fund for research and development in the oil sands.

The revelation is likely to intensify criticism of the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper as unfriendly to the environment.Mr. Prentice is the MP for Calgary-Centre North, home to much of Canada's oil industry. (3)
Like the Bush Administration, the Harper government says the right things, but then does the polar opposite.

I for one am sick of being played. How about you?


1. The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis) Leads America, By Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN: 0-670-03273-5, Pg. 13-14

2. Hard Right Turn: The New Face of Neo-Conservatism in Canada, Brooke Jeffrey, Harper-Collins, 1999, ISBN: 0-00 255762-2 4, Pg. 166

3. Wind money given to oil producers instead, Raitt tape suggests, By Stephen Maher, Chronicle Herald, June 10, 2009

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