"Tories get the lead out; critics agog at sponsorship of gas guzzlers
OTTAWA (CP) - Government critics were agog Monday that the supposedly green-hued Conservative party is sponsoring a sport that burns leaded gasoline by the barrel.
The Canadian fuel exemption for competitive racing expires next January, and Environment Canada put out a discussion paper last month asking for submissions on whether it should be extended. Up to 40 per cent of the leaded fuel sold in Canada is used in stock cars, while another 40 to 50 per cent is burned by dragsters.
NDP environment critic Nathan Cullen noted that NASCAR vehicles get about two miles to the gallon. "In a 250-mile race, that means they go through 125 gallons of leaded fuel, per car," he said. "It's a stunt that could go very bad for (the Conservatives) if they don't think through what they're putting money into."
Green party leader Elizabeth May dryly noted that her party won't be entering a vehicle in NASCAR. "It reflects the fact there is more money than sense in the Conservative party right now," she said. "We would never be associated with the conspicuous consumption of leaded gas for the purpose of electioneering."
The Brown Plan?:
"Critics takes shine off new Tory car"
The latest advertising vehicle for the Conservative Party gets about five miles a gallon, a fact the opposition parties jumped on Monday to ridicule the governing party's decision to sponsor a Canadian stock car.
“Given all their talk of green, why weren't they supporting one of the bicycle competitions going on around the country? It might have presented a somewhat more legitimate message,” New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton said.
“They'll now have their name on some of the [greenhouse-gas] emissions here in Canada, and I'm not sure that was necessarily the wisest decision,” Mr. Layton said.
Follow the logic. The Tory braintrust cooks up this idea to reach out to a targeted audience. Apparently, no one notices the apparent hypocrisy of claiming to "set an example" on GHG reduction, while simultaneously supporting frivilous emissions.
I actually think the inability to see the contradiction tells us a great deal. When I read the story, it took me about a nano second to see the appearance problem. The fact no one saw the issue, or choose to ignore it, is a testament to how seriously these people actually take GHG emissions. A genuine concern would see the obvious, a manufactured commitment for political consideration might miss it. This small item is actually a glaring example of how these people just don't get it.
It looks like the Conservatives are already running away:
Four Conservative cabinet ministers helped launch the unusual ad at a racetrack east of Toronto this weekend, but Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon said "there's a difference" between the government and the political party.
"I don't think it's something that is related directly with the government of Canada," Cannon said. "It's a party initiative and I think that the officials from the party are the ones that should answer."
The Tories were criticized for the high-speed ad in the only North American racing league to have resisted the switch to green technology. NASCAR is only this year switching from leaded to unleaded fuel.
The party is different from the government, yet the government ministers rolled out the sponsorship. I understand completely. Damage control?