Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Okay Dalton

Ontario Premier McGuinty is upset that Rona Ambrose intends to unfairly focus on Ontario's auto sector in the Conservatives upcoming "Green Plan II". McGuinty is right to point out that oil and gas effectively gets off the hook:
Ambrose told CanWest columnist Don Martin that the federal government will avoid an enforced limit on greenhouse emissions from Alberta's oil and gas sector.

When Martin suggested in the interview that this "soft cap" approach...

Environmentalists were also upset about Ambrose's comments. Allowing a soft cap would allow total emissions to grow provided there was improvement in "energy intensity."

Energy intensity refers to the amount of energy used per unit of output. If a target is set for intensity, total emissions can still rise as new projects come onstream.

"This is basically the Bush approach to greenhouse gases," said Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute.

"(President George W.) Bush has adopted an intensity target for the U.S. which translates into a considerable increase in actual emissions."

However, Dalton need not worry, Ambrose's "plan" for the auto industry appears to be mostly bluster as well:
They were told the government will introduce legislation to regulate emissions standards in the automaking sector by 2011, when a voluntary agreement signed with the previous government expires. A lengthy series of consultations would then kick in.

Five more years of nothingness, then let's talk about where we go. Wow, I'm impressed now. I knew when I saw a big auto executive leaving the meeting today, with a shit kicking grin, that this new legislation was hardly progressive. Given the fact that the public is now demanding more fuel efficiency and environmental options, the auto industry will naturally gravitate in the next few years anyway, before the big "consultations" start. These meetings with the auto sector, as well as the earlier ones with oil and gas, were nothing more than an attempt to allay fears that this government might actually enact something with teeth. Working together, how quaint.

Exhale Dalton, nothing to see here.


CfSR said...

But there is something to see here.

Ontario has every right to be concerned.

The oil sands, major polluters on their own, even before the impact of their product is considered, get an effective pass.

The auto industry gets to be the whipping boy.

One of these things is not like the other.

And in this government's books, Ontario industry loses; Alberta industry wins.

Playing favourites like that is bad public policy and bad for Canada.

Steve V said...


If I read this right, the auto sector has another five years of "voluntary" operation and then something might come to pass. Ambrose keeps talking about "working with" industry, which might mean she tells the auto sector what they already know. I think market forces are the real thrust behind the Tory plan, and they will take credit for the natural change in the industry.

If you are asking me if this government would favor Alberta's needs over Ontario's, most certainly. However, the fact the finance minister sat in on the meetings today should speak to the true nature of these hard, tough talks. Big industry and this government are natural allies. Flaherty's narrow focus would simply reject anything that could harm revenues.

Miles Lunn said...

I actually think of the Tories cared more about partisan politics they would go after Alberta as opposed to Ontario. The reason for this is Alberta will go Conservative no matter what, so it won't cost them votes there, but Ontario is not a rock solid conservative province. With Conservative hopes fading in Quebec, they will need to gain seats in Ontario to even win a stronger minority government, let alone a majority.

I personally think they should regulate both the oil and gas sectors as well as auto sectors. However, I support using the tax system to give tax breaks to those who reduce pollution and increase those who increase it. This would create market incentives to reduce it, much along the lines of Michael Ignatieff's revenue neutral carbon tax.

Anonymous said...

Maybe McGuinty should pay attention to the MoE and MNR files outside of the 416 and 905 area codes.

Its worse than goddamned Harris in terms of what the MNR is able to do.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think (and I don't want to seem paranoid here) that given her focus on the auto industry and her comments that Quebec doesn't matter that they are trying to make the "west" the Canadian government?

A little dumb don't you think given that Ontario and Quebec hold the most seats in the House???