TORONTO - Former prime minister Jean Chretien is pointing the finger at his successor, Paul Martin, for Canada's failure to meet its Kyoto obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Chretien says Kyoto wasn't implemented by the Liberal government after he left office, even though he was close to reaching an agreement with Canada's oil producers. But he doesn't blame current Liberal Leader Stephane Dion, who was environment minister under Martin and also served in Chretien's cabinet.
Chretien ratified Kyoto, and then did NOTHING for a five full years. If fairness is your guide, at least you could argue that Martin gave the issue a higher priority than his predecessor. I suppose Chretien is trying to protect his legacy, but he clearly shares a large part of the blame, which makes his comments patently ridiculous.
Within that frame, although right, these words are quite hollow, given the source:
Mr. Chretien, who ratified the Kyoto protocol while prime minister in 1998, said Canada should be a world leader on climate change, just as it led on other international issues such as the elimination of land mines and the creation of peacekeeping forces.
"I think [climate change] is an urgent problem and we should have been at the forefront," he said. "That we're leading the charge against an agreement on climate change, using all sort of reason not to proceed, does not make me feel very good as a Canadian."
I'm pre-disposed to agree, but even I almost laugh at the above. The problem for Chretien, he lacks any moral authority to criticize, and for that reason, I think it better to just shut up and go away. Let's call a spade a spade.