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Be wary of the whitewash… er… the greenwash.

David Olive has a good snippet in the Star today – he questions whether the Conservatives really have converted to green principles, or whether its all a big show, designed to make it appear they’ve gone green, but really haven’t:

Stunning, really, how a mere change in faces – in this case, trading the hapless Rona Ambrose for the undeniably effective cabinet presence of Baird – has the chattering classes convinced a Harper humbled by his D.O.A. environmental policy statement of last year is now presumably willing to confront the nation’s biggest emitters, largely congregated in Harper’s oilpatch backyard. We’ll take it all back if Baird unveils a comprehensive environmental reform package, including a BTU tax to discourage gasoline consumption…

Harper and Baird were on ‘Question Period’ on Sunday trying to convince people that the amendments the NDP has proposed to their Clean Air Act/contained in Layton’s private members bill really arent that far off what the Conservatives have in their Clean Air Act bill, but when you look at what the NDP has asked for, I count 12 amendments and 3 additional measures the NDP wants. Included in those amendments are eliminating key tax incentives to the oil and gas sector (particularly one that is geared towards oil-sand development), legislating targets that meet Kyoto Protocol 2008-2012 Targets, and bringing in earlier deadlines for regulating the industrial sector…none of these I’m sure the Conservatives would be particularly happy in having to include in the revision to their original bill.

We did a Blogger’s Hotstove on Sunday (link to that later when the audio is put up), where Stephen Taylor said this would be the year that Jack Layton defines himself and the NDP. I agreed, and why I agree is it will be interesting to see if Jack and the NDP are willing to take a partially amended Clean Air Act that only does half-measures, for the sake of the NDP saying we at least got it a little better (and trying to use it politically to counter the Liberals and Greens), or whether they stick to their principles and tell the Conservatives that a mediocre bill is no better then a bad bill if the Conservatives are not willing to implement a large majority of the NDP’s proposed amendments – something I think Jack Layton needs to have, or his “base” wont be very happy.. nor will a lot of “green” Canadians for that matter.

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3 comments to Be wary of the whitewash… er… the greenwash.

  • It’s not better, unless the reductions are intensive and make it into law (ha!); otherwise, it is worth waiting to overturn the government. That way, even a minority government could change the regulations without having to worry about an uncertain parliament. Also, problems found in the law, including loopholes are easier to deal with from a regulation POV.

    If the Conservatives really were serious, they would just use the regulatory powers of the minister, and announce them with great fanfare and take all the credit. The way they are doing things looks to be just a lot of greenwash, with Parliament’s approval.

    Bad idea.

    Junk the proposed changes to the act. Dare the Conservatives to use the regulatory powers they already have. That way, the public would have a chance at understanding that the COnservatives truly are dragging their feet.

  • Mark: The reason for Layton’s demands is precisely because the NDP rightly doesn’t trust the Cons’ ministers. Better to enshrine the standards in the statute to make sure that they can’t be changed except by another act of Parliament, rather than settling for a structure which can be modified or demolished by ministerial fiat.

  • Given that current _LAW_ enables the minister to make up all the regulations he needs to regulate greehouse gas emissions, I’m even more cynical about Layton’s politicking.

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