Monday, June 02, 2008

Federal Government "Obsolete"

What has essentially happened today, 2/3rds of the country have just rendered the federal government irrelevant on the environmental file. Dragging their heels, playing games with numbers and baselines, creating a leadership vacuum, all are responsible for today's announcement, it really is a conclusion of their own making. A large portion of Canada now has a framework based on real reductions, not the nonsensical "intensity" based copout offered by the Conservatives. The door is open for others to join, and I suspect they will, as these provincial governments look to the future:
"One of the reasons we got together is that we think we can go further, faster," McGuinty told Canada AM Monday. "The feds have failed to put forward a plan in keeping with the ambitions and aspirations of Canadians."

Charest told Canada AM that the two provinces are pushing forward with a carbon cap-and-trade system because that's the way most of the world is going.

Charest noted that Quebec and Ontario use the 1990 carbon benchmark acknowledged by most of the world, whereas the federal government uses a 2006 benchmark.

Emilie Moorhouse, executive director of the Sierra Club, said the federal government is being "left in the dust."

"I think the collaboration that we're seeing between the provinces effectively renders the Harper government's approach to climate change obsolete," Moorhouse told CTV Newsnet...

Their cap-and-trade system trumps the Harper government's climate-change plan, one that has been criticized for not going far enough to combat global warming.

"We are very much open to expanding this and ideally, this would serve as the foundation for a national cap-and-trade program," Mr. McGuinty said.

"This is hardly an exclusive club that we are putting together here. I know that in the past, representatives of B.C. and Manitoba have expressed some interest in this, and Jean and I would want to work hard together with our colleagues to lay down the foundation."

"Left in the dust", "Obsolete", "Trumps", no wonder Hot Air Baird was fuming, there is nowhere to hide.

A very good synopsis.

Looking at the political angle, NDP supporters will be sure to note the endorsement of their approach. Important to remember, Charest already has a carbon tax, proving that no approach is mutually exclusive. I would also add B.C. is cited as a possible future partner to today's initiative, again suggesting the folly in either/or arguments. Where all of this leaves the Liberals, remains to be seen, but I suspect people have already factored this to the policy development, Dalton would hardly leave brother David out in the cold.

What is perfectly clear today, the mirage of "leading the world" has evaporated, more rightly the "obstacle has been removed", or just bypassed, as the case may be.


Anonymous said...

So I guess that if we take your arguement and Stephane Dion becomes Prime Minister, his environmental tax will also be rendered obsolete?

The Mound of Sound said...

I wouldn't be too quick to write off the federal government as obsolete. The Harper government certainly is - old before its time, flush out of ideas, bereft of any real talent - but we very much need a strong federal government to make this country work for all Canadians.

Steve V said...

"but we very much need a strong federal government to make this country work for all Canadians."

I agree, but this is all a reaction to a leadership vacuum.


Are you paying attention here, or are you just on Con auto-pilot??

Anonymous said...

Gosh, the provincial governments taking responsibility for their own areas of jurisdication as intended in our Constitution! Gosh!

Maybe they can now start performing all their other duties without running to the federal government to do their job.

Steve V said...


Wow, is that the best you've got? Hard times in Con spin land.

Today in QP, Baird was reduced to saying he would work with McGuinty to fight Dion. The toothless tiger, such a predictable bore.

Austin said...

Maybe this is the *real* plan of the Harperites: to be so incredibly inane, useless and utterly devoid of one iota of policy, to demonstrate themselves to be an absolutely pointless level of government, that the provinces can't help but take policy initiatives and create a de facto decentralized federation.

Tongue firmly in cheek of course ;)


Gayle said...

"Gosh, the provincial governments taking responsibility for their own areas of jurisdication as intended in our Constitution! Gosh!"

There is this little SCC case called the Friends of Oldman River where the SCC held the FEDS have a responsibility with the environment, what with it being pointless and all to leave it to individual provincial governments since pollution in Alberta will affect BC.

Nice try though.

JimmE said...

... welcome to the community of communities, patch-work federalism, a dog's breakfast of conflicting regulations - pick your metaphor; to quote PET "who speaks for CANADA?"

Anonymous said...

"who speaks for Canada"? Obviously, our current government doesn't.

JimmE said...

Even when the kind of devistating climate change written about in this NYT piece comes to sunny Alberta, Steve & his Ditto Heads will continue to live in the land of Nod:
( )
To all the Daily Telegraph/National Post/Toronto Sun readers, read Jared Diamond's book COLLASPE & tell me you don't see some modern examples.

Greg said...

"Federal Government Obsolete"

That, in a nutshell, has been Harper's goal all along.