Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trim The Fat Mr. Harper!

In the spirit of belt tightening, in the age of uncertainty, I have a suggestion for the Conservatives. Why not just fire all the "experts" at Environment Canada, which could result in some timely cost savings? I mean, here we are on the brink of recession, deficits looming, and we have all these trained professionals offering opinions time after time, wasting valuable resources assembling important data and such, advice which is continually ignored. We see these "experts" and their useless input in all departments within this government, but Environment Canada seems particularly top heavy with busy bodies, piping in with their factual assertions. Since the government never listens to these "experts", why not just turf the dead weight and let the ideological laymen do what they want, they do anyways:
OTTAWA - The Harper government was warned by its own experts at Environment Canada two years ago that a multibillion-dollar plan to boost production of green fuels could cause more problems than benefits, Canwest News Service has learned.

The warnings, in briefing notes sent to former environment minister Rona Ambrose, suggested there were too many risks involved from increasing production of ethanol which, in Canada, is largely produced from corn and wheat crops.

"Feedstocks and biofuel production consume large amounts of water, natural gas, biomass, electricity and fertilizers," said one of the briefing notes, drafted on May 16, 2006, by a technology strategies and climate change division at Environment Canada.

The government offered $1.5 billion in subsidies to support farmers, agricultural and energy companies which produce ethanol from corn or wheat last spring.

The documents were released to Canwest News Service under the Access to Information Act.

"Based on global Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) of biofuel production, impacts on acidification, land degradation, waste generation, water use and human and environmental impacts were found more often to be unfavourable than favourable."

Environment Canada's research suggested that ethanol produced from waste products is much more sustainable, but the government created a smaller fund of $500 million, specifically to support this type of "next generation" ethanol.

Given the looming crisis, can Canada really afford to have all these educated bureaucrats on board, with their informed analysis and good guidance? Seems to me, on every occasion, this government develops policy in an isolated fashion, never using the reservoir of talent to get it right, more content with photo-ops and pre-determined points of view. So, what's the point? I say, send a signal to the Canadian public, not only ignore but CAN, get spending under control and do away with pesky suggestions, that make total sense. The last thing Canadians need is people with true knowledge, wasting weeks and months, compiling these nice proposals, only for all the effort to be ignored. I say, just do away with the whole process, the peer reviews, the roundtables, the analysis, the implications, all the nonsense that never finds a voice, cut it off at the knees and save a bundle in the process. The end result is the same, seems like a no brainer from here.


Constant Vigilance said...

A modest proposal indeed.

Unfortunately, given the cretins in charge these days I am concerned that irony will fly over their heads and there might actually be some redundancies as a result.

I recommend your post, therefore, with some trepidation.

Beijing York said...

Luckily we still have unions or else Harper would have sacked them. Instead he is appointing idealogues like Preston Manning to advisory panels and boards.

As for the ethanol fuel production funding, that is exactly the same route that the Bush administration took. No surprise there.

Deb Prothero said...

Geez, Steve, don't give Harper any room to manoeuver in this direction, it's exactly what he'd love to do anyway. If he'd had a majority, half the civil service would be gone in six months.

Irony does have a way of getting people's attention though!

Steve V said...

Look at it this way, if these people are forced into the private sector, at least their "expertise" could be put too use, rather than spinning their wheels with an anti-intellectual government ;)

In all seriousness, how many times have we read in the past two years about expert analysis being ignored or buried? It's amazing, when you think about it.

burlivespipe said...

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to get the square inch count of something like, oh, "Dion ignored party voices"... Yeah, I guess when Harper tunes out people, it's the act of a f###ing genius. How did that coyote never catch that roadrunner, anyways?

CousinBen said...

Your points are valid Steve, but ignoring the experts and governing by doctrine is hardly specific to this Conservative government.

Sadly, most Canadian governments whether Lib or Con, federal or provincial, are all guilty of this.

I could cite you several examples of reports and advice paid for and then ignored by McGuinty and the Ontario Liberals, for instance.

I think it is symptomatic of the structure of our system which puts way to much power in the offices of Premiers and the Prime Minister. So many weighty decisions are made by ideological youth who fill policy advisory roles.

Steve V said...

True enough, every government is guilty, but if you look at the sheer volume, I suspect you would see unprecedented suppression of opinion with this government, particularly on the environment file.

Anonymous said...


Just when Harper has an ally in Obama to work on a continental GHG plan you want him to gut his Environemtn Department. Sheesh.

I thought you wanted good stuff to happen. It looks like you would prefer to embarrass Harper.

Life's full of choices.