Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Baird Misleads

It's funny how two unrelated news items come together to paint a picture. To nobody's surprise, the government plans on ignoring the Kyoto bill when parliament reconvenes:
The Conservative government has thumbed its nose at the opposition's legislative attempts to force compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, simply republishing its own greenhouse-gas reduction plan as an official response.

The reaction is likely to spur a fresh political and even legal battle over what the government is required to do.

The "plan" it published Tuesday repeats the argument that trying to meet Kyoto by 2012 would wreak economic disaster on the Canadian economy. It estimates astronomical gas-price hikes and catastrophic job losses.

The government is still trying to sell the apocalypse scenario outlined by Baird last spring. Talk about bad timing, just as the government continues with the doom and gloom, a news piece released on the same day illustrates Baird's exaggerations:

A newly released federal analysis of the impact of Canada's international climate change obligations suggests senior government experts were at odds with Environment Minister John Baird's doom and gloom warnings that the Kyoto Protocol would provoke an economic disaster.

The four-page briefing note for the minister, a clause-by-clause analysis of legislation introduced by Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez, said that the Kyoto Implementation Act would be a "major challenge" that could also force massive federal investments overseas. But it said nothing to support Baird's warnings that the law could lead to massive job losses, rising energy prices and a recession.

John Bennett, an environmentalist and spokesperson for ClimateforChange.ca, said the analysis demonstrates that the government may have forced its bureaucrats to help Baird produce a report to demolish the Kyoto agreement with statistics that were "made to order."

"They ordered the work done to prove their point," Bennett said in a phone interview on Tuesday. "Still, this government continued to ridicule this bill after they had received it, [when] they definitely could have worked with it."

Ouch. The government is justifying their snub of parliamentary will, by arguing that Kyoto obligations would ruin our economy. Too bad "analysis" doesn't support the alarmist rhetoric, "federal analysis" at that. The contradictions are striking, and the timing is pure kharma.

7 comments:

Scotian said...

Sweet.

Harper is making a critical mistake if he goes this route and then loses in court as he likely would on this refusal to obey Parliament despite not being above it. Harper and his government still do not appear to grasp that they are not above the law of the land because they are the government, this is always the case but especially in a minority situation such thinking is dangerous delusional and dangerous to the very premises and foundations of how our society/government works. What a gift to the Liberals if he is stupid enough to continue this fight, especially if this is the best federal evidence he can come up with that was not obviously rigged to produce doomsday scenarios as the second article exposes.

Harper and his party have made one fundamental misjudgment above all the rest and appear to still be making it, this belief that essentially there is little difference between Canadians and Americans and therefore the political approaches that work on Americans, especially the movement conservatives for so long will work here as well. Leaving aside the timing given the collapse of that power in America these days this was still a fundamental error, because there are many fundamental differences in how each culture and its members see themselves and their relationship to each other and through the government/social contract which binds us all as a nation. We are a far more collectively caring society even if we still haven't managed to fully live up to it, we still keep trying though. Hard core jingoism, nationalism, and bloody shirt tactics along with the politics of personal destruction simply trigger too much revulsion outside of the hard core CPC base, which is much smaller a percentage of the voting population in Canada than it is in the US. This kind of brutal approach is antithetical to the consensus and compromise model Canada was founded on and has developed from ever since.

Nice catch Steve V, and have a good night.

Susan said...

Maybe that's why the senior people in Environment were shunted into other jobs a while ago - they wouldn't lie for Baird.

wilson said...

Well, now we have seen the Government's plan,
I am anxious to see the oppositions costed out Kyoto.... the one that will not cause 'astronomical gas-price hikes and catastrophic job losses.'
(even tho Libs/media have admitted Kyoto targets can't be met)

Buzz said that Dion's Kyoto would devastate the auto industry and applauded Baird's plan.

And I look forward to Dion telling $35 hr workers that there are new $15 hr 'green' jobs to replace their brown jobs, in a McGuinty election year.

Or is it just Albertans who have to fear the rath of Dion's Kyoto?

Miles Lunn said...

I certainly don't think that trying to meet Kyoto would be an unmitigated disaster. The only leg the Conservatives could stand on here is make the claim they won't send one Canadian cent overseas and then argue we cannot meet Kyoto. I too would rather the money stay here in Canada, but I do believe we should at least try to get as close as possible to meeting Kyoto and the government should at the very least commit to make up for however much we miss our targets by in the second phase. I believe Kyoto does allow countries to miss their targets if they pay a penalty and agree to more aggressive targets in the second phase.

Miles Lunn said...

Scotian - I agree Canadians and Americans do have noticeable differences in terms of political culture although I wouldn't say Americans are less caring, but rather more individualistic. They have a very strong distrust of government while Canadians tend to place the collective interest over individual and are willing to tolerate some government intervention provided it delivers results and is not overly excessive.

Scotian said...

Miles Lunn:

"...although I wouldn't say Americans are less caring, but rather more individualistic." My point though is in terms of the underlying motivation behind our more collective society than their more individualistic one, and the fact is also that the end result is also a much more compassionate and caring society, just look at medical care, how the disabled are treated, various minorities that have been historically persecuted (aside from our aboriginals, our worst failing in this respect IMHO) as opposed in America. The fact that it may be rooted in a preference for individualism does not change the fact that that same drive also means less caring for those not close to one, it alas comes with the territory.

This by no means is meant to say that I think they are cruel or anything, simply that the model they chose to govern themselves has as one of its drawbacks (as all societies do, including of course our own) being a less caring one for those less fortunate and/or with little to no power within society. It is very hard to have a highly individualistic society while at the same time looking out for the weakest ones. For a time religion and the associated infrastructures of churches and community groups filled that need to a varying extent but that has not been true for many decades now.

Sorry, I am half asleep at the moment, I checked in just as I was about to log off, and it is late on the east coast and I had an early morning and a long day to boot. I hope I managed to make my point without adding insult to the American culture, that truly was not the intent in this assessment, simply an acknowledgement of fundamental differences which are as much a result of the differences as at the core of them.

And this really is good night all...I mean it this time *weary chuckle*

Jeff said...

13 years of inaction. Liberals admit they didn't do anything to meet Kyoto - see leadership debates - Liberals admit we can't meet Kyoto - Dion refuses to say how many jobs will be lost and how much it would cost the economy - Dion spent 6.5 billion tax dollars and produced nothing in reduction of GHG. I know because I've sent emails asking Mr. Dion to show me how much he reduced GHG and guess what - No answer. Apparently he doesn't like having to prove what he says. So logic states that if he doesn't want to backup what he says, there is a good chance he can't.

So, Mr. Dion,

How much is your Kyoto plan going to cost.

Hopw many jobs will be lost?

How much will consumers have to pay extra to support your plan?

What companies are going to provide these green jobs, how much will these jobs pay and are they long term fulltime jobs?

Why didn't you do anything when you had the chance?

I am disgusted that a man who says he has integrity and is so honest he never lies, would mislead Canadians the way he does.

If you are a honourable man, Mr. Dion be straight with Canadians and answer the questions with hard facts and figures not bullsh*t.