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conservatives fail on clean air act October 19, 2006

Posted by Brad Richert in politics.

Bill C-30 sucks. I do not think I am alone in this belief. Bill C-30 is also known as Canada’s Clean Air Act. Within a twenty-four hour period, one Conservative MP was sacked, Bill C-30 was presented in Parliment, and every opposition party and environmentalist group railed against the contents. This all comes as no surprise as just over a week ago PM Harper rejected the advice of environmental experts, stating that he would forward long-term legislation full of Royal Commissions… I mean, consultations, so that the Conservatives do not actually have to spend any money on it while they are in office.

Prior events to today’s reading of the Bill have been a carnivale of speculation and partisan politics, of course, including the Canadian media circus. Check out my sources as the bottom of the page just for the headlines from different media outlets. A week ago, 24 Hours, an internet news site owned by Sun Media attacked Green Party leader Elizabeth May for playing partisan politics by not giving Harper’s upcoming act any credit. Granted, Sun Media is owned by media giant Quebecor, on which ex-Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney is a chairman. Partisan politics, not us. A couple days later, Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, delivered a speech that was to be a precurser to the First Reading of Bill C-30. As the aforementioned link points out, the Green Party spent no time at all ripping apart the fallacies included in the speech that makes Ms. Ambrose look like a she was giving an elementary school report on the environment.

It was not until yesterday that things started getting really interesting. MP Garth Turner was suspended, later expelled, from the Conservative Party due to his ideas he expouts over his blog. Mr. Turner has been critical of Prime Minister’s take on issues from same-sex marriage to the budget to finally this Clean Air Act. Of course Mr. Harper has always been the ‘champion’ of free votes within his party so he has been accused of breaches in party secrecy. Mr. Turner doesn’t feel the need to respond to accusations, simply stating that he is responsible first to his constituents and then to the party line: a man that actually sounds like the old Progressive Conservatives. Halton, ON, residents should be proud.

Back to Bill C-30. The first thing you will notice upon looking at the Bill is that there is no short-term goals. Conservatives plan to cut emissions in half – by 2050. Not exactly a Kyoto target. But Kyoto is unrealistic right? So we’ll just ignore that pact and join another one with looser terms (or loser terms). I mean, what is Kyoto going to do if we do not make our 2012 targets -which we won’t- make our goals harder? Canada has basically joined the United States and Australia in its rejection of the whole agreement, meanwhile, Canada and the United States are the worst perpetrators of releasing carbon emissions. The best thing about the Conservatives’ green platform is that, unlike the Liberals, they promise to make promises.

The plan includes the promise to develop new regulations for vehicle fuel consumption by 2011 (not 2007, 2011) – just in time for the next elections. By 2025, when the Conservatives are re-rebuilding up their party, they promise to develop national targets for smog and ozone levels. The only significant goal that they don’t have a preliminary meeting set up for is the promise to reduce gas emissions 45%-65% of their 2003 levels by 2050 – how, we do not really know, I think they think they have an on/off switch for that. The most positive goals, albeit insignificant, are what I call the “American Harmony Goals”, or “The War on Smog”. These including “harmonization” with the United States on vehicle emission standards over the next year, and place regulation on volatile organic compound emissions – it is good to know that we are following the country who has a President that denies the reality of  global warming.  For the Conservatives, environmental issues are non-issues, despite the fact that 77% of Canadians support the Kyoto Protocol.

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