Saturday, May 12, 2012

Don't Accept The Premise

Latest Andrew Coyne column details the inaction from all parties on the climate change file. However, the piece begins with a now common assumption, one that really has no basis in fact, apart from platitudes. In other words I simply don't accept the premise:
If there is one thing on which all federal parties and all national political leaders are agreed, it is that they “believe the science” on climate change. They believe that the earth is warming, they believe its effects are on balance malign, and they believe it is caused by human activity. As such they believe it can and should be mitigated by human action, namely by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There isn’t any dispute between them over this. Every party agrees there’s a problem, every party agrees on its cause, and every party agrees on its solution.
I am continually amazed at how we take Harper at his recent word on climate change, particularly when his past is littered with scepticism. Only when Harper assumed the mantle of power did he suddenly evolve on climate change. But even as Prime Minister- in his early days of office- Harper slipped with a public "so called" global warming comment to reporters. The facts are clear, pre-PM Harper thought the science was in question, the notion of human induced global warming controversial, if one were to paint a picture based on commentary, a denier not much of a stretch, logical even. Why then do we assume Harper is on board now with climate change, his recent public comments?

People will recall, that even when these Harper Conservatives talked about action on climate change, it wasn't greenhouse gases that formed the thrust, it was SMOG, it was asthma, an entirely different rationale. Of course smog and global warming overlap, but it was quite insightful how Harper preferred to address the problem from this angle, given his base, it was a safer option. Oh, the Conservative base, that reminds me... Another reason to question commitment, it is true to say not every denier is a Conservative, but if you are a denier you are probably a Conservative. Let's take the online community as a microcosm, look at various boards, you will find Blogging Tories for example, a HUB for deniers, it is no coincidence. Extrapolated further, Harper's former guru Flanagan a denier, his new love the Wildrose a denier's paradise, play THREE degrees of separation with a denier you'll end up with conservative tie every time. Fascinating comment from former Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach, speaking about how the climate change angle brought down Wildrose:
“These are serious matters,” he told reporters following the unveiling of the exhibit, which featured a photo of his wife Marie and 12 other premiers’ wives. “You’re going to go to Europe today and tell them you don’t believe in climate change? And you are going to sell them oil?” Stelmach said that’s the question he heard at the doors while campaigning for Tory candidates during the election.

“You don’t have to believe in it or disbelieve it. That’s not the issue,” he explained. “Your customer is demanding it, so if you are selling black suits and your customer wants white, what are you going to do? Convince them that black is white?”
And there it is, whether you actually believe it or not, it's irrelevant, give them what they want to HEAR! An incredible admission, but one that brings us back to these Conservatives and Coyne's assumption. Let's sift off the rhetoric and approach Stephen Harper's Conservatives with a critical eye. Begin with Harper's comments prior to taking office. Then look at the Harper RECORD since taking office, the inaction, the international "cancer" at climate change talks, the vitriol levelled against environmentalists, PARTICULARLY those associated with climate change issues, the "Made In Canada" plan that never, etc. If I begin with suspicion, then the facts at hand support in almost unequivocal fashion, that Stephen Harper still doesn't believe in global warming, DESPITE more recent WORDS. Why then does everyone in Ottawa just assume these Conservatives "believe", do we just take their word on other files or does scrutiny and analysis chime in? I find it simply bizarre.

Yes, the Liberals did nothing while in office, although if you ask anyone involved with the issue domestically and/or internationally, they know look almost saintly relatively speaking. It is also true, history will show, the Liberals ran on the most ambitious climate change agenda, actually did fight an election on this ground, with bold ideas, if not adequate execution or a responsive audience. Interesting here as well, it was that election, wherein the issue of climate change was a CENTER STAGE that the Conservatives offered NO plan, they DELAYED it, they had nothing, and yet...

I'm not much into conspiracy theories, but there is simply no doubt that these Harper Conservatives are rife with climate change deniers, they talk in their MP's ears at meetings, they write emails, they DONATE, they have memberships, etc. Within this CLIMATE, where is the impetus for action, where is the grassroots thrust to take a serious look at the problem. Posit potential doubters in the government themselves, it starts to make sense why sit here today, international "pariahs", active warfare with environmentalists, NOTHING to show or anything coming for that matter either, just a nuisance issue that is routinely buried. Only when the electorate seemed engaged was their lip service, but now, nada.

It's about time the pundits, journalists, those that cover these Conservatives rethink the premise, because everything I've seen from Stephen Harper, pre-PM musing to post-PM policy, presents a very consistent narrative, one that betrays any assumptions and deserves renewed scrutiny.

1 comment:

karen said...

That quote about black and white suits is great. I have long been astounded at politicians getting elected for something they SAID and then the electorate howling with outrage because they were lied to. If one watches what they DO, you can see that the speech is so much puppetry.