Thursday, August 09, 2007

Harper Offers The Absurd

I wonder if Harper's head started spinning, when he made the following comment today:
More research is needed to help northern Canada cope with serious challenges caused by global warming, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday.

In the middle of a three-day trip to the North, Harper acknowledged that northern communities are being affected by climate change more than other parts of Canada. He said his government has already set aside funding to help the territories with climate adaptation and intends to look for other solutions in the future.

"We're certainly well aware that climate change creates a range of both challenges and opportunities," Harper told reporters in Yellowknife. "I suspect the International Polar Year [research from international experts] will give us more data on that and over time we'll work with the territorial governments."

More research? You think we need more research to understand the effects of global warming? What an amazing statement, from a man who slashed the climate change research funding by 40% in his first budget, including:
"Included in the cuts is the Canadian Climate Impacts and Adaptation Research Network (C-CIARN), a national network that provides funding for targeted research and activities that will contribute to a better understanding of Canada’s vulnerabilities to climate change and provide information necessary for the development of adaptation strategies." Apr 2006

Standing right beside Harper, John Baird:

"Canadian scientists would like to increase their understanding of climate change, but the federal government has been scaling back support for climate science and adaptation programs.

Baird suggested last week there's little time left for more reports and studies in the wake of the UN report.

"One of the biggest findings (of the UN report) is that these (impacts) can be mitigated, can be reduced, can be delayed by action to reduce greenhouse gases, and that's got to be the first, the second, and the third priority," Baird said in an interview with CanWest News Service.

"At some point, it's sort of like the planet's on fire, we've got to throw water on it. We don't need to research it, we need to act."

McBean said Monday "that is a sadly misinformed argument and I'd be happy to set him straight."

He adds other senior scientists would also welcome a meeting with Baird, who he says has steered clear of the climate research community since becoming minister in January.

McBean says Baird seems to be taking a short-term view of a long-term problem: "The only question he seems to be asking is: 'Do we have enough science to justify reducing emissions' ...and the science been clear on that for 15 years."

Emissions reductions are needed and long overdue, says McBean.

The key question Baird doesn't seem to be asking, McBean says, is whether there is enough science to address climate change in Canada for the rest of this century in terms of adaptation and emissions reductions. The answer, says McBean, is no.

His non-profit foundation has received $110 million in federal grants in the last seven years - $60 million in 2000 and $50 million in 2003 - to finance peer-reviewed climate studies at Canadian universities.

A request made last year for $250 million over 10 years to expand the foundation's work has been meet with silence from the Conservative government, says McBean.

He says his repeated requests to meet with the minister have been declined. The foundation has committed all its research money and cannot take on any new projects.

Where do Harper and Baird get off, standing on a stage, arguing that we need more research, given the horrible track record? Astounding. Every move this government has made has been objectively anti-research, as evidenced by their own, less than shy commentary. Harper's comments today are both bizarre and insulting.


Robert McClelland said...

Where do Harper and Baird get off, standing on a stage, arguing that we need more research

Actually both of them aren't saying that. Harper is saying we need more research but Baird is saying we don't need more research. The Cons have been doing this a lot lately. Harper will say one thing--presumably speaking to the left--and one of his cabinet drones will say another--presumably speaking to the right.

Steve V said...

Robert, you are correct. I should clarify that Baird was merely on the stage, with Harper contradicting everything his Minister has said, which is effectively what he himself has argued :)

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I don't think we need more research to know whether global warming exists or not. Research maybe to calculate its extent so we can figure out how to cope with it as well as research may help make selling the idea we need to do more easier to the public. While I think most Canadians want to do something about global warming, I am not sure most Canadians understand the price that needs to be paid or are willing to make the proper sacrifices.

Anonymous said...

I just wish one or the other would push one of them off the cliff. Then Canada may get just one voice speaking for the current government instead of all the double-speak and bafflegab.

Anonymous said...

Problem is - Harper hasn't admitted that they are the current government. I couldn't believe it when he made his speech that he still referred to his government as Canada's New Government.

Maybe if we threatened that every time he uses this childish phrase he loses 10 votes - might work because all he cares about is votes.

Anonymous said...

Want honesty? Nothing Canada does will stop, hinder or slow down Global Warming. You all preach, you all chirp from the sidelines, but, why dont you guys be honest for a change. No matter what Harper says, does or impliments will slow down Global Warming. Nothing Mr Dion says or does or impliments will slow down Global Warming. If we are to believe the rate of CO2 emmissions that Canada emmits, and if we are to believe what China and India and Russia all emmitt, than, nothing Canada does will matter. So, other than partisan chirping, which is fair, you guys be honest...without the usuall rhetoric about Canada being a model blah blah honest..what can Canada do to stop, hinder or slow down Global Warming. Is Harper playing a game with GW? Yep. So was Chretien, so was Martin, and, funny, you didnt hear the same knashing of teeth 5 years ago. Just sayin.

Steve V said...


What a completely irresponsible perspective. Just saying.

KC said...

In all fairness to Harper there is a huge difference between a) research on whether climate change exists, b) what (more precisely speaking) will be the effects on certain regions and c) how to handle that change. While I think the first is more or less settled there is more research that can be done on the other two, particularly the last. We still dont really know what will happen in the North once the permafrost melts.

Steve V said...


I'm not sure where fairness comes in, considering the government cut exactly what you think remains important.

KC said...

Touche. Thats why you dont comment on posts before you have your morning coffee while you still feel tired and combative.

Steve V said...


:) Caffeine good.

Anonymous said...

Steve V. Thanks for the smack down, where's the answer? You cant answer that, no one can, because it would require total honesty, it would require you to admit that the GW sniping isnt about saving our planet, because thats not in our hands to decide, its about partisanship. And, one more question, how is being totally honest an irresponsible perspective? I would suggest to you that the Harperites who praise our leader understanding GW are irresponsible, because, anyone with a brain can see Mr Harper is using catch phrases and photo ops to convince people that he's something he isnt. I would also suggest to you that the Left in this country who would have us believe that a change in government is the only way to save our planet are also irresponsible, either that or plain dumb. Total honesty sucks...because it doesnt help the left or the right..its just the truth.

Steve V said...


I didn't think your defeatist, take no responsibility blather, was worth anymore of my time. Sorry. By you pathetic logic, Ontario should forget about closing the coal plants, because the American EPA has eased restrictions, which means more pollution coming across the border. Why bother, partisanship aside.

Anonymous said...

And there it is. Why answer an honest question when you can call someone pathetic! You've responded 3 times and never once even bothered to address my question. I never said not to shut the coal plants, I never said not to address pollution, I'd love for all money thats going to be pissed away on GHG's and GW to be put into sewage treatment plants, scrubbers for every smokestack and tailpipe in Canada....high intensity plasma burners instead of burrying our garbage...but we cant...and we cant because very few want to be honest about GWing, and that is that there's very little Canada can do. But when there's an election to be fought and won..why bother worrying about whats best for the Country. Your a partisan shill...and like the mindless sheep on the right you refuse to answer the most basic of questions.

Steve V said...

"Your a partisan shill...and like the mindless sheep on the right you refuse to answer the most basic of questions."