Monday, January 14, 2008

Flaherty Acknowledges Federal Government Failure

Flaherty's latest pitch argues that Canada needs a "common" carbon tax regime, environmental strategy. Flaherty sees problems for industry, with a unilateral, disjointed approach, individual provinces with differing regulations. What Flaherty essentially acknowledges, Canada has a leadership vacuum on the issue, which has lead to a piecemeal approach:
A patchwork of carbon taxes and greenhouse gas rules across the country isn't a good solution to Canada's environmental woes, the federal finance minister says.

Jim Flaherty said Monday the country needs to work toward a common set of regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Generally speaking, the consensus I would say is that it is desirable in Canada not to have multiple regulators in various areas of the economy,'' the minister said.

Flaherty said the auto sector in particular is concerned that multiple regulators would mean different environmental standards on imports in different areas of the country or for vehicles manufactured in Canada.

"All that does is drive up costs to the consumer, ultimately, without any overall benefit. So what we need to do is co-ordinate and co-operate within the federation, within the Canadian economic union to work toward a common set of regulations,'' he said.

Flaherty laments the circumstance which his government created. Historical revision aside, people will remember that Quebec and British Columbia devised targets and plans, in the absence of any leadership from the federal government. As it became apparent that the government wasn't willing to act, provinces decided to act, on their own, to try and tackle the problem.

If industry is confused, if we have uneven regulations which confuse the auto sector, the blame rests squarely with the federal government for abandoning its responsibility to show national leadership and mandate national standards. If Flaherty wants cohesion, then maybe he can tell Minister Baird to quit blowing smoke and give the provinces some guidance.


Anonymous said...

I just find this entire statement by Flaherty bizarre.

Does he recognize that he's actually part of the Federal Government? Maybe he should chat with that Baird guy, and ,heck, maybe some of the provincial dudes who are forging ahead in the vacuum. Maybe together with King Harper they could hammer out a national policy.

Nah, that sounds too much like governing. Best to issue talking points and forge ahead with the election campaign slogans. No sense getting stuck in this messy day-to-day stuff.

Steve V said...

"Does he recognize that he's actually part of the Federal Government?"

Joseph, what I find remarkable, the way Flaherty takes these passive stances lately. It's as though he sees himself as an outsider.