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Dion aims to put Harper and the Tories on the public record with his Kyoto motion.

I think this motion tabled by Dion today in the House is a clever and good strategy move by the Liberals:

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has tabled an opposition motion calling on the prime minister to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. Coming after a five-year-old letter surfaced in which Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the protocol a money-sucking socialist scheme, Dion’s motion calls on the House of Commons to declare that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence” that climate change is the result of human activity.. The motion demands Harper’s Conservative minority reconfirm Canada’s commitment to “honour the principles and targets of the Kyoto Protocol in their entirety.”

I see some conservative supporters are complaining about this, but Jay Currie, though he is an anti-Kyoto and anti-Liberal blogger, and though I disagree with his rationale on Kyoto being bad, makes a good point why this is a good move on Dion’s part:

…they have been bobbing and weaving on any moves to actually implement it. But because they see the polls going the other way, and because they lack any stomach to actually lead, they have been rushing to green up their image. Dion, legitimately, has called them on it.

I will add further then that it forces Harper, (who has had his own words used against him this week by that 2002 letter he wrote blasting Kyoto and calling Co2 “essential to life on Earth”) as well as the Tories to publicly put their votes and views on Kyoto out there for the Canadian public to see.

Dion can read the same Decima poll we all did that showed by a massive margin of 64% to 17%, Canadians thought the Tories were going green out of political expediency, not due to conviction or belief, which is why he said in the Commons today in introducing this motion thatCanadians are not fooled…they know that this prime minister has no commitment to fight climate change. His only motive is to prepare for an election”.

If the Tories vote against the motion, they can be called hypocrites on their recent green death-bed conversion, and their vote will be used with good effect to re-affirm that to the Canadian public, who are already sceptical of Conservative motives on the environment. If they vote for it, the Liberals can proclaim victory on getting the Tories to publicly change their minds on Kyoto, and using that vote as a basis to push that any Clean Air Act revisions sought by the Opposition go forward in trying to meet Canada’s Kyoto Protocol goals. If the Tories vote to support Dion’s motion, they can’t really go back and oppose those types of amendments to their act without again looking like hypocrites.

So, between the release of Harper’s letter (and whoever dug that up should be given the Order of Canada) and now this motion, the Liberals and Dion have been doing good strategy this week on forcing Harper’s hand on the environment.


11 comments to Dion aims to put Harper and the Tories on the public record with his Kyoto motion.

  • Thanks for the link Scott.

    I suspect that it is possible to be a climate change agnostic and anti-Kyoto while still wanting to see the debate take place. At least I hope it is.

    The problem I have at the moment is that the CPC seems to be in denial of its own long held Kyoto skepticism. They have read the polls and that seems to be all that matters.

    I think this is deeply sad and also, potentially, destructive. The anti Kyoto case needs to be made and there is a desperate need to examine the costs and benefits of various actions (and inactions) regarding climate change. That needs to be a reasoned debate and one which looks at the policy alternatives presented by various climate change projections. For example: it makes a great deal of difference whether sea levels are projected to rise a few inches rather than a few feet or, as Al gore would have us believe 20 feet or more. And it makes a huge difference in our policy response if we consider the implications of China bringing one new coal fired power station online a week for the next five years. It may make more sense to impose a 50% tariff on Chinese goods (make them $1.50 stores), than it does to shut down the tar sands.

    Simple mindedly using Kyoto support as a litmus test ignores the huge flaws in that treaty, the uncertainty of the science’s implications for policy, the uncertainty of the underlying science itself and, most importantly, the costs and benefits of any proposed course of action.

    We need to debate that rather than treating global warming as a secular religion and demanding punishment for heretics.

  • Lorraine

    There has to be a better plan for the planet than a flawed Kyoto protocol conceived ten years ago that does nothing whatsoever to clean up the greenhouse gas emisions or stop CO2 and water vapour from getting trapped in the atmosphere. If it worked and if it was a feasible plan instead of a transfer of wealth ponzi scheme it would have to include China, India and the United States; it would have to be equal as in not penalizing some countries while enriching others. With all of the alarmists out there one would think a better plan could be worked out – one where technology sharing benefits ALL countries. Why just Kyoto? It is flawed. It is not working and it does nothing to address the future for the largest emitters. Plus, it does nothing whatsoever for air quality and pollution. 400,000 chinese already die prematurely because of their air pollution – and China is only starting to be industrialized. Their pollution affects the whole world and we share the arctic with them. Kyoto is a dud. We can do better and pointing out Kyoto is a dud does not make one a “denier” of the global problems – it makes one a realist.

  • Very smart of Dion. Canadians support and ask for Kyoto, and Harper sits there not even believeing in global warmings very existence. It is appalling to sit back and shrug off the research of important scientists, this is not what government is supposed to do, it is to respond to the needs of the people. Canadians will not be fooled by Harper’s plan to clothe himself in the shroud of a green environmentalist and Dion will ensure that we are not fooled. Smart thing to do for dion before an eleciotn,

  • wilson61

    Dejavu…didn’t the Bloc do this ‘gotcha motion’ thing just a few months go??

    Gee, that didn’t work out so well for Gilles.

  • There is a way to lower our emissions that wouldn’t cost a red cent. It would in fact save us a lot of money… cut the tar baby off from the federal teat and let the market drop its chips where it may.

    Propping up the tar sands with incentives at the taxpayers expense is one of the great White Elephants of Canadian politics. It looks like Dion might be willing to take this one but I suspect it’s gone to be gently does it.

    When the tar baby gets asked to pay its own way then you’ll know we’re moving in the right direction. Until then I’m afraid we’re being treated to political kabuki.

  • LrC,

    Well let’s hope that indeed the Cons and the NDP can come to an agreement that does just that. Perhaps even come up with something that even the Libs can support. Kyoto does present some targets to work toward, and some interesting mechanisms to do it. It should at least be explored. Much better than intensity based targets that don’t even take effect for 50 years.


    Uhm, yeah. Whatever there sparky. Here’s a hint for next time – be relevant and try to make sense. And don’t forget your meds.


    Don’t forget to take your meds….


    The 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Phillipines:
    “Scientists estimated that Pinatubo’s eruption added more aerosols (light gases and particles) than all human-caused ‘greenhouse gases’ since the industrial revolution. A reduction of up to 1°C in the Earth’s average temperature was recorded by NASA satellites within a year of the main eruption. This cooling effect persisted for about two years, temporarily more than offsetting any global warming effect.”

    If we could just turn off a few volcanoes we would be laughing . . .

    Or you could put your faith in the UNecessary . . . look what a fine job they have done in Rawanda, Sudan, Somalia and with Oil-for-Food.

  • lrC

    The motion as described is good politics if the aim is to get Liberals back in power, but the marriage of several issues makes it bad policy for the people of Canada and the environment in general. It would be helpful if the politicians could agree separately on (1) let’s do something to reduce emissions; and (2) what should be done. Insisting on the Kyoto protocol is a severe and unfortunate limitation on what might be done.

  • WOW :em51:

    [quote post=”164″]force millions of people to lose their jobs; thousands of businesses to close down and cost taxpayers billions of dollars[/quote]

    And you accuse those of us who know climate change is happening as engaging in fear-mongering? Talk about hyperbole -you’ve just engaged in it.. unless  you got  data to back those claims up, Lorraine? Or are you pulling them out of a hat?

  • Lorraine

    Would it not somehow be illegal or wrong to force a government to do something that will damage the country and possibly force millions of people to lose their jobs; thousands of businesses to close down and cost taxpayers billions of dollars to pay third world countries for “carbon credits” instead of using that money to clean up Canada – not just for greenhouse gases but real air pollution that is making us sick. ? How can an opposition force a government to commit to a treaty that is impossible to meet erspecially since Chretien chose a number out of thin air instead of using science and projections. For example, Norway’s Kyoto target is 14% OVER 1990 GHG emissions and was based on population growth, industrial projections, etc. Can we not just have some saner goals instead of ripping our country to shreds because of a terrible bad unachievable target by an uninformed PM 10 years ago?

  • This is a good move, but at a certain point Dion is going to need to come up with his own environmental “plan” as opposed to just criticizing the lack of a Tory one.

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