How can any Canadian be proud, as we watch Harper offer watered down nothingness to the world, under the guise of leadership? Reading some of the text of Harper's speech today, it is clear that Canada's role in the climate change debate is that of fox in the henhouse. Offering "flexibility" as solution, Harper is undermining the idea of real progress, in a cynical campaign meant for domestic consumption. The lasting damage of Harper's public relations exercise, he presents a path to the world that offers an out for the disinterested, which in turn leads to disaster:
But on the question of targets for reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, he said the world was gradually shifting to the idea of "flexible" goals that take into account the need for continued economic expansion.
"There is an emerging consensus on the need for a new, effective and flexible climate framework, one that commits all the world's major emitters to real targets and concrete action against global greenhouse gas emissions," Mr. Harper said.
"We are balancing environmental protection with economic growth ..." he said. "We are promoting a balanced international approach to emissions that engages all major emitters while respecting the unique characteristics of their economies.
Harper's line is the same crap spewed at the G8, "unique" is a replacement for "special", which is code for unbirdled economic expansion. I'm tired of watching Harper appear before the world, with his embarrassing, toothless rhetoric, all the while distracting from real achievement. Anyone who has studied the Harper approach has dismissed it, and yet he is given this platform to act the mover and shaker. These comments sum up the pride we should all feel:
Harper drew sharp criticism from two Canadian youths participating in the one-day event. They said the Conservative government's emission targets are way too low.
"I, for one, am sick of being ashamed of my country and its poor behaviour on the world stage," P.J. Partington of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition told a news conference.
"The government keeps saying Canada's playing a bridging role in the negotiations, but with our current plan we're on the road to nowhere."
Catherine Gauthier, who told leaders the future is in their hands and that too many world capitals are "spinning" their positions, was equally scathing.
"Canada needs to step up our action on climate change or get out of the way of progress," said Gauthier, a member of the Quebec-based Environnement Jeunesse.
Get out of the way is right.