This entire Kyoto debate is frustrating in one sense, the former Liberal government's utter failure continues to absolve the current Conservative government and their now SIX year abysmal reign on the environment. The Kyoto Protocol has been a friendly ally for these Conservatives, it runs cover for their complete inaction, people forever lay blame elsewhere and in so doing utterly miss the plot. Yes, the Liberals signed Kyoto and did little else, we can all agree on their record, I will never defend it, nor did I support it in the ballot booth. It is also true this Conservative government was "saddled" with the commitments, it was pretty clear Canada would face a herculean effort because of past inaction, so again, YES, we all digest the chronology, we all realize the 2006 starting point, we get it in relation to the Liberals, we do, we do, we do, ENOUGH already.
I would love for the discussion to begin with this Conservative government, because the blame game on Kyoto doesn't adequately incorporate the last SIX years. These Conservatives were always Kyoto sceptics, a "socialist scheme", there was a philosophical resistance, which is reasonable and worthy of some merit. Kyoto is flawed, Kyoto isn't necessarily "fair", people can disagree, people can suggest alternate plans, it is not the holy grail and we can debate the contents in this democracy. However, what is required within this Kyoto discussion, an acceptance of the problem, and within that any rejection must be accompanied by an ALTERNATIVE, otherwise motivations are dubious, true intent suspect.
I find it a bit hilarious that people can vividly remember the Chretien years, and yet they seemly can't recall the more recent past. I remember Rona Ambrose failing badly to bring forth a credible climate change plan, I remember it was so bad public relations wise this government pulled the hook on the Minister. I also have memory of John Baird taking up the Conservative "fight" against global warming with the catchy "Made In Canada" action plan, with much hype, THIS plan was the counter that would show a seriousness on global warming. Unfortunately, even though the 2008 election was PRIMARILY about environmental issues, Baird announced that the Conservative plan would be delayed in light of said election and produced at a later date. The Conservatives won that election, attacking the Liberal carbon plan, while simultaneously producing NOTHING to counter, then summarily SHELVED their PROMISED "Made in Canada" plan after the vote. After Baird's reign, Jim Prentice took up the lead role, so bad it was now referred to as a "career killer", people openly wondered if Harper gave him this post to hobble future leadership aspirations. Prentice spoke of intensity targets, hitched his wagon to America, in essence we gave up environmental sovereignty, and decisions for Canada would be made in America (an amazing development given the former "Made in Canada" thrust). Little in the way of noteworthy policy followed, band aids and not much else, Prentice left an objective failure, like his Conservative predecessors. Fast forward to Kent, more inaction, little effort, more "pariah" talk, rhetoric without real world applications.
This government has CUT climate change research, this government actually diverts "green" money to carbon producing ventures, this government has left a void that some provinces have tried to fill, leaving a patchwork effort, so BAD even the carbon puking industry itself wants MORE clarity. The last six years provide a very coherent strategy, this government will attach itself to anything that can lessen primary blame. The Conservatives will blame past governments, other nations, "special" requirements unique to Canada, anything that provides distraction, that creates a fog to shield the true shape of their actions. In essence, six years of propaganda, smoke and mirrors, moving goalposts, evolving excuses, hiding behind other countries.
If you review Harper's commentary on global warming just prior to taking office, you see a consistent thread, Harper was very much a sceptic, he reads like a global warming denier. Only when the issue rose to the top of public opinion, only when Harper became PM, did he suddenly start to sound committed to the idea of man made global warming, when challenged ONCE, he spewed out some flat language meant to end any suggestion he actually questioned the entire premise. However, if you take Harper at his word prior to taking office, then review the Conservative "commitments" on global warming, how we've acted on the international stage, there is really nothing to suggest that Harper has changed his beliefs, in FACT, there is a perfect symmetry.
If you're a climate change denier, massive odds you're a Conservative supporter, read some of their supporters and you can literally hear the knuckles dragging. That fact in and of itself begs some questions as to why the attraction, given public pronouncements. As well, just last week Harper's former guru Tom Flanagan took to the CBC airwaves to declare himself a proud denier, even encouraging others to come out of the woodwork. Harper was quite clear prior to becoming PM, one wonders has he really changed his mind, or does the nature of the job demand more nuanced public language? Given the record, given the public commentary history, given where we sit today- still long on massaged propaganda and public appeasement, short on actual ACTION- it is fair game to wonder if we have a climate change denier for Prime Minister? Maybe when everyone is done chasing Chretien's ghost we can get down to it, once and for all....