Environment Minister John Baird was asked about the controversy Sunday, but did not specifically comment on the U.S. position. He said he saw Canada acting as a “bridge” between the divergent opinions.
“We need a genuine effort to get the United States, China, India to join with Canada and other European countries on worldwide efforts to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions,” Baird said in Toronto.
“But we’ve got to take action at home. Talk is cheap. Canadians have seen too much talk and not enough action, and we’re committed to the action side.”
Baird also said Canada supports the European-backed idea of a 50 per cent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, although he uses a much different base year for the reduction: 2006 versus 1990.
What does "bridge" mean?:
Louise Comeau of the Sage Centre’s climate project interpreted Baird’s remarks about Canada acting as a bridge as meaning the Conservative government will inevitably help water down G8 declaration by insisting Washington’s views be included.
“There’s nothing unreasonable in the German proposals and Canada should be supporting them,” said Comeau. “If that means Canada isolating the U.S. this time around, then that’s what we have to do.”
I take the above as an accurate interpretation, Canada as intermediary, helping to massage language to get the Americans to agree. Hard to follow Baird's logic, today he also praised the Americans for doing more on climate change than Canada, even though the Bush administration has been an objective environmental nightmare. It would appear that Baird will try to paint Canada as consensus builder, which will conveniently allow Canada to sign on to something less than required.
Again, if Canada is leading the world as Baird suggests, then we should have no trouble siding with the Europeans, which effectively puts more pressure on Washington, through isolation. Instead, Canada is prepared to help the Americans find a way out to save credibility, which speaks VOLUMES about our true intentions. Baird also mentions China, which is adopting its own regime, as though Canada can have influence, despite the fact the Harper government has badly damaged relations with China, through its diplomatically challenged, bumbling approach. I'm sure the Chinese are all ears. John Baird, leading the world, while simultaneously working behind the scenes to appease the biggest polluter. The sense of pride we should all feel.