Liberal leader Bill Graham said it was an “embarrassment” that Environment Minister Rona Ambrose will chair a UN summit on climate change this week in Kenya, after admitting Canada won't meet its Kyoto targets.
“To be chairing a process you aren't committed to is an embarrassment,” Mr. Graham said, during a joint press conference with Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe Thursday in Ottawa...
Noticeably absent from the press conference was NDP leader Jack Layton. A spokesman for Mr. Layton said the NDP's stance on Kyoto is well known, and that Mr. Layton didn't feel the need join the other leaders at the press conference on Thursday.
Mr. Layton has been pushing environmental issues in the House as of late, including during a meeting with Stephen Harper that resulted in the Prime Minister agreeing to send the Clean Air Act before an all-party parliamentary committee.
I read another piece that said New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen was also in attendance, but the Layton angle is disturbing. Why not join the other parties in a co-ordinated response? The fact Layton "didn't feel the need" forces me to think that Layton doesn't want to share the stage and is playing politics with this issue.
I applauded Layton's recent moves, and resisted the cynicism that Layton was playing games. However, I call bullshit now, because Layton's no show looks transparent and dangerous to the process. Crafting a real environmental bill isn't an exercise in who comes out smelling like a rose. Layton's freelancing, and resistence to join a coalition makes me question the entire motivation for his discussions with Harper. Harper would be quite happy to peel away one of the parties and confront a divided opposition. Layton sends exactly this message, by choosing to not attend such a basic show of unity.
If the environment is such a central thesis to Layton, if the planet's needs are paramount, then he should go to great pains to eliminate any political motivations. What we learned today, Layton should be watched carefully and the events of recent days may just be more typical grandstanding, wherein personal ambition trumps any sense of moral obligation, despite the pointed rhetoric. I now wear my cynical hat. Is this exercise "making parliament work" as Layton argues, or "making parliament work for my self interest" as today clearly infers?