With due respect to the Bloc, NDP and Liberals, this is wrong. Whether they like it or not, the Tories are the government of Canada, duly elected. To send delegations to an international body to undermine the legally elected government of our country is misguided and insulting to all voters.
They should stay home and pass legislation to ensure different policies are made the law of the land.
No question, it could set a dangerous precedent having the elected federal government challenged on the international stage. Seldom will we see unanimous support by all parties for any government initiative. Could this development mean that everytime we have an internal dispute, it festers into an embarrassing international spectacle? How can the government of Canada hope to speak with clarity, if their actions are constantly undercut?
First and foremost, we live in a democracy that allows for dissent and freedom of speech. In that sense, these MP's are free to express themselves, much in the same way we allow domestic protest at G8 summits and other international meetings. Contrary points of view manifest everywhere in our system, why do we demand a unilateral voice on the greater stage? No one had a problem during the last round of talks in Bonn, when Canadian environmentalists spoke out against the Conservatives.
The argument that we insult the process by upstaging the legally elected government falls short when you consider the actual vote. Two thirds of Canadians cast votes for these opposition parties, why should a flaw in the parliamentary system disenfranchise the majority? Canadians overwhelming support Kyoto, should this sentiment not be reflected, or do we resign ourselves to the minority speaking with impunity? If our government was a majority then the question becomes more complicated, but in a fragile minority situation, the government doesn't dictate the debate, nor does it have leverage to ignore the opposition view.
Canada has signed on to a legally binding treaty. Kyoto flaws aside, we have an obligation to work within and try our best to reach our targets (whether we do or don't is irrelevant to the spirit). You could argue that our legally elected government is ignoring international law, and in so doing relinquishes any moral argument about jurisdiction. If the opposition wishes to inform the international community that Canada remains committed to our Kyoto obligations, then it allays any perceptions that Canada shirks its responsibilities.
I would argue that this situation is unique, and doesn't necessarily set an easily used precedent. There are many stories out today about the Tories preparing to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on climate change. While the propaganda argues that this group is meant to compliment Kyoto, the nature of the proposals are in direct contrast to the Kyoto approach, in fact it is the rival group. A vast majority of experts have concluded the partnership is nothing more than a scheme to blunt criticism, while emissions go unchecked and greed is king. Given the Conservative duplicity, given the fact that Ambrose has overtly worked to undermine the Kyoto talks, given our international obligation, not only is the opposition justified, Canadians should demand that we have another voice to express our true desires.
I understand why there is hesitation about undermining the government. However, on this issue, with the stake so high, I am willing to turn a blind eye, in the hopes that whatever damage is done is counter-balanced by the longterm gain of calling out our shameful, disingenious government.