Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Canada Needs an Environmental Minister. Not Another Environmental Spinner

I was reading Julian Fantino's campaign literature, and when I came to the section on the environment, I laughed out loud. He says, and I quote:

"Canada now has tough new regulations against toxic chemicals and one of the most aggressive plans on earth to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

What is he smoking? Canada has NO plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in fact we recently won another colossal fossil award for trying to sabotage climate change talks. That's the only aggressive plan this government has ever had.

The Toronto Star got it right. Peter Kent's appointment as our new, not so much an environmental minister as an environmental spinner, is nothing to celebrate.
Another day, another minister of the environment -- the fifth in five years for Prime Minister Stephen Harper. His latest choice for the embattled portfolio, Peter Kent, is unlikely to have any more impact than his predecessors. Indeed, Harper made it clear in the press conference following his Tuesday mini-shuffle that he wants his government to “stay the course.” In the case of the environment, that course has been to do the minimum possible while spinning to the max, especially on the climate change file.

Harper himself was spinning madly at the post-shuffle press conference. Asked whether Canada would be following the lead of the United States with stricter regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, he replied: “I notice the Obama administration is now talking about moving toward tougher standards on the electricity sector. In that particular case, they have a long way to go to catch up to us.” Strictly speaking, that’s true, when it comes to electricity. That’s because about half of the American power supply comes from coal-fired plants, whereas more than half of ours comes from emission-free sources like hydro and nuclear. What Harper didn’t say is that we have an emissions problem in another sector: Alberta’s tar sands, where development continues apace and greenhouse gas emissions are still growing.
And Impolitical reveals that Quebec, a province committed to the environment, is not impressed that Harper chose a minister who cannot speak French.

Jeffrey Simpson in the Globe believes that Peter Kent's only challenge will be the ability to lie with a straight face:
With serious action ruled out in advance, the Harper government’s environment minister must be a smooth talker. He must be prepared to repeat things that are demonstrably false – as in Canada will reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 17 per cent by 2020 from 2005 levels – with a straight face while all those around you are cracking up in derision. When necessary, the minister must bluster.
I don't think he'll have a problem with it. He came from CanWest Global. It's what they do best.

But if he has a problem with making lies convincing, he can just call on Julian Fantino. He's got it down to a science.

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