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The Conservatives are hypocrites on the Environment.

Whenever Kyoto and the Environment gets brought up, all you hear from the Conservatives and their blogging Tory supporters is whining about how the Liberals didn’t do anything, which somehow is a justification for “so why should we do any better?”

Let’s look at some facts though about how environmentally hostile the Conservatives really are:

First, you often see and hear Harper and Baird (and their Blogging Tory supporters) bleating on TV and on blogs about how Greenhouse Gases rose under the Liberal Government – it increased 27% between 1990 and 2004 (which includes part of the Mulroney years, but I’ll skip that part). There’s no denying the numbers – the Liberals could have and should have done better.

However, what Baird and Harper fail to tell people is that if the Liberals had used “intensity-based targets” as the Conservatives keep yammering on about on what needs to be used (rather then hard caps), Canada’s greenhouse gas intensity decreased by 14 per cent between 1990 and 2004, which should tell you how useless intensity-based targets are in the fight to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Want some more evidence of how useless intensity-based targets are? Check out Alberta’s “climate change plan” which is discussed here:

Emissions intensity targets were used by the Alberta government in its 2002 position on climate change…So while Alberta’s intensity targets are a reduction of 16 per cent bt 2010 and 28 per cent by 2020, these targets would actually allow absolute increases of 34 per cent in 2010 and 38 per cent in 2020

As Greenpeace said, “Intensity-based targets are simply a way of deflecting attention from the real absolute increases in emission levels.” (By the way, if you’re a member of the Flat-Earth society, and think Greenpeace is “biased” with this conclusion, they used the Government of Canada’s own figures from their own website to point all this out.

So, according to the logic they are currently using to try and justify intensity-based targets, Baird and Harper should be praising Chretien and Martin and Dion for that matter for having reduced Canada’s GHG intensity levels during that time period – which they wont do of course, because it calls into question their own credibility on using it as a measuring stick for reducing GHG.

Let’s go to a 2nd point to show the Conservatives hostility to the Environment, a point already brought up by Accidental Deliberations, but worth re-quoting. We’ve got a climate change study from the G8 which places Canada dead last among members of the G8 industrialized countries when it comes to keeping a pledge made last year to fight climate change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions”.

And why are we ranked dead last?

Canada has “no plan” to cut its emissions in the short or long term, and could have rising output of the gases blamed for global warming under the Conservatives’ Clean Air Act because the legislation doesn’t cap releases, the report said…..”Canada received the lowest score because of the Harper government’s change in policy and attitude towards the Kyoto Protocol,” said Brian Kolenda, co-director of the compliance unit on the U of T’s G8 research group.

To be exact, this is the Conservatives and Harper’s baby. He cant blame the Liberals for this. This is on his government’s head.

Lastly, and probably the most infuriating, we again point to Accidental Deliberations, who points to a report that “Canada sided with the U.S. and India during international talks in Nairobi this week. The trio was among a minority of countries that blocked immediate progress of an enforceable system to curb mercury use, including a glut of noxious exports to the developing world.”

Why did they block it? Was it because there wasn’t any proof that Mercury is bad for you? 🙄 This is the reason given:

Canada conceded in documents submitted to the UN Environment Program that “there is sufficient evidence of significant global adverse impacts from mercury … to warrant further international action to reduce the risks to human health and the environment.” Still, Ottawa favours voluntary reduction efforts while binding rules are discussed for the next two years.

This is code-speak for “they just cant find it in themselves to place restriction on their corporate Big Business friends”

This is what is happening with Kyoto, and this is what has now apparently happened with mercury. Canada’s “new” Conservative government has a new approach to environmental issues; we want nothing to do with international efforts that place mandatory restrictions or caps on substances that can harm the environment. This government has allied itself to the laissez-faire do-nothing-to-hurt-the profits-of-big-business that the Republicans and the Bush Administration have adopted. Harper’s so-called “muscular foreign policy” is apparently another word for “screw what the rest of the world thinks”. He’s managed to accomplish a remarkable feat of basically isolating us and making us look like a willing vassal of the US’s equally distasteful environmental stance.

So, Conservatives, please spare me the whining about the Liberals and their environmental record. You’ve managed to accomplish even worse in 1 year of power. Your record is downright pathetic, and another reason to remove you from office (and there are many). 👿


15 comments to The Conservatives are hypocrites on the Environment.

  • It is political reality that opposition was very strong in certain industrial sectors (and the corresponding public too), and that the Conservatives gave those opposed a political voice, making it difficult politically to do much without losing support. Even majority governments have to grapple with the reality that if they lose the next election, their work could be rolled back. Look at the scare tactics in use now: THE ECONOMY WILL FAIL!!! JOBS WILL BE LOST!!! If the Conservatives manage to use those tactics to gain support and win the next election, then it was quite possible for the Liberals to lose a previous election at least in part due to this issue.

    Such a shitstorm is what the Liberals were likely afraid of. They tried, I happen to know, to deal with industrial interests to water down regulatory requirements. For example, the plan to fund GHG-reduction programs abroad was actually a deal made with the oil industry in Alberta. You’d never guess, but it was a bone thrown their way at their request so that they could take advantage of capital deferment. The industry realized that it could get even more politically, so it actually publically rejected the plan.

    Indeed, with the Conservatives trying to remove the power of the minister of the environment from being able to affect GHG output levels using regulations, the point is proven: Lose an election, and you can lose good laws made even when you were a majority government.

    I think it misleading (or at least a misunderstanding) to argue that a majority government has no reasonable fear of using its majority status to do anything it wants.

    As for defending the Liberals, I can do so to an extent. Worldwide, Kyoto actually only came into force two years ago. I can see the Libs avoiding full implementation because they could have found itself the only country with a full-fledged reduction program to meet Kyoto targets, but with Kyoto not in place. So, in that sense, the Libs were only obligated to push for a complete program as of Feb 2005. In actual fact, they did start pushing harder when Kyoto came into effect.

    What Mike says in msg 13 is also quite correct.

    Now, as a green, I advocate dramatically reducing our GHG emissions regardless, but I can see where the Libs were coming from in being cautious. Had the Conservatives been onside instead of fighting in trenches on this most important matter, I’m certain the Libs would have accomplished far more.

    This is not a time to be lax, or compromising. This is a very important issue which will severely affect our lives, those of our children, and all those people yet to be, unless we act with determination and unity now to solve the problem.

  • Of course, what Aaron, wilson and the other CPC apologists here are missing is the real Conservative hypocrisy. Hell, many of them repeated it.

    ‘The Liberals did nothing for 13 years’ they scream ‘GHG emissions rose by 27% during that time’
    ‘We we will come up with a better plan based on intensity targets that will be successful’

    Of course, never mind that during that time the Conservative were quite happy that the Libs did nothing. Never mind that it was never even close to ’13 years’ – Kyoto wasn’t even negotiated until 1997, and wasn’t ratified until 2002. So really its a MAX of 10 years and more like 5 years. Oh, the Liberals certainly dropped the ball, but the OLO was happy to let them. How many times did the CPC even raise the issue in QP? None.

    Now we have Baird refusing market solutions and suggesting ‘intensity targets’. Funny, if the Libs record was measured based on the Conservative’s own proposed solution, that ’13 years’ of ‘doing nothing’ was a resounding success – our intensity dropped by 14%.

    So I find it quite hypocritical that the cons are using one measure to attack their opponents and a completely different one as their solution. That isn’t a mistake, its simply dishonest. Its just another indication that they aren’t really serious about the environment, but are trying to use statistical smoke and mirrors in order to give favour to their benefactors in the most polluting industries while appearing to “do something.”

    Mark Francis is absolutely right – if the Cons were really serious, the could enact regulations immediately without going through Parliament (or at least do both). That they don’t and are in fact trying to change the law so this is no longer possible speaks volumes as to their real stance on the environment.

    Oh and BTW, before you use that particular canard, please be prepared to post a link to show that ‘the Liberals admit they can’t reach Kyoto targets’.

  • Nobody in Particular

    I used to be able to cadge some mercury from out school’s science class, so much that I had half a beaker full. No one noticed, or cared. Back then most thermometers held mercury, thermostats, etc. If I saw it I’d get it for my own. Me and mercury were like Gollum and his ring.
    I’d set up hotwheels tracks and let’er rip. It was loads of fun. Scooped it all back up in mercury’s little balls it likes to break apart in into one big ball and I’d do it again.
    Years later I’m working for some scientists… yeah, they turned green when I told them how much I loved that quicksilver.
    Today, I am suffering the effects of my love affair with mercury. With all the science that Baird and Harper now allude to, why on earth would they vote to supply other people with mercury poisoning, unregulated use and casual disposal into the environment?
    If I had a $100 I’d bet that people with money had their mercury fillings yanked 15 years ago.

  • Boy, Philanthropist, you’ve convinced me :em26: That response must have taken you a full hour to compile. :em41:

  • Philanthropist

    Liberals are hypocrites on the environment. That’s obvious.

  • Mark…..The Conservatives fought tooth and nail during the relevant years of Liberal rule …

    C’mon Mark, during which of the majority Liberal governments were the Bloc, NDP, and Liberal parties unable to pass a bill. If the Liberals HAD in fact tried to do something, there is no way the NDP and Bloc would have voted against it.

    To say someone doesn’t care about the environment is like asking a smoker if he knows it’s bad for him. We know climate change IS happening, and we agree that we need to curb pollution. I’m not impressed with the Conservatives Clean Air Act either, but here’s an idea……why not pass the bill with reservations to rectify it? Get started and then put the governments feet to the coals. All this partisan bullshit is exactly that…..bullshit. How about we all let our respective MPs know that we are tired of all the game playing and ask for results instead.

  • BBS

    My dad’s better than your dad! Politics at it’s best

  • The conservatives have made moving forward on GHG cuts difficult by supporting and spreading lies like the ones Wilson61 is pushing. Has the Conservatives instead spent all those years pushing the liberals, more progress would have been made.

    The title of Official Opposition isn’t just titular, you know.

    Japan created a very efficient steel industry years back by understanding that it was key to use as little energy as possible in a country devoid of fossil fuels. Though eventually hit hard for other reasons, Japanese steel manufacturing was, and still is, immensely productive because of this.

    Full cost economic accounting demonstrates that reducing GHG will save us jobs and money. And, oh yeah, the planet will be better off for it.

    Want to see an economic mess? Just let global warming go ahead…

  • knb

    wilson, if more attack is coming and I’m sure it will be, your guy will lose.

    Slam’s coming out of the blue will not play well, IMO. Conservatives are just coming off as being nasty. We spoke about Baird, but Day and Flaherty have shown the same kind of disdain, again, recorded. Loop all of this with Harper quotes in an ad, (and like you would say, it’s just the truth)…it does not look so nice. Exposure is what the Conservative’s need. You’re all for that right? Transparency?

  • wilson61

    Libs signed and ratified Kyoto under a majority Lib gov’t, until Martin, Martin and Chretien had Bloc & NDP backing on Kyoto, Cons had 99 votes
    against ….So please explain how it is that the Cons stopped the Libs from doing great things on the Kyoto file. They couldn’t stop Kyoto any more then stop SSM.
    Just like they can’t stop the Kyoto motion going into third reading this week, even being the government and with 125 votes.

    Time to get real about the Liberal foolishness of negotiating an economy crippling accord.

    MSM is starting to tell all, like the 450,000 jobs that were reported, before ratification, would be lost if Kyoto was implimented.
    Do a little googling and you will get an insight into the next round of attack ads coming your way.

  • knb

    Mark, voting Green is a good thing IMO. I think May is terrific! However, given the choice of who is going to lead the country on this issue, Lib’s win.

  • knb

    They know that you people talked a good game and did nothing. Why should they fall for the same old tricks only a year or two later?

    Being perpetrated by the conservatives you mean? They shouldn’t of course.

    You are quite right, Canadians are not stupid and therefore will not buy the disingenuous rhetoric coming from the Conservatives.

    You know how you might have had credibility? Had your party been berating the Lib’s for doing nothing in the last Parliament, some may believe your new found religion now. Instead of course, you fought every initiative brought forward. You decried Kyoto then, you decried the science, you thought anything environmental was fluff on the political landscape, your leader appointed a Minister who was hell bent on keeping the file a non-issue and you think that gives you credibility?

    Appointing Baird has only exacerbated the situation, IMO. He has record too you see and it is not good.

    The Lib’s were slow, yes. Not Dion, but the party in general. Dion got down to work right away and too was playing catch-up. We may have been slow, but we wern’t in denial, as all of your party was, (still is imo).

    More Baird as we saw at committee, (which is on tape and I’m sure Canadians will have the treat of seeing his petulance over and over), is going to expose the truth. Mr. Harper made a big mistake here IMO. He wanted an attack dog and got that, he needed a reasonable Minister that could bring the committee together, missed big time.

  • The Conservatives fought tooth and nail during the relevant years of Liberal rule against even signing Kyoto, let alone doing anything after it was signed, so it’s a red herring for the Conservatives to blame the Liberals for the problem. Had the Conservatives advocated progressive GHG-reduction policy during those years, the Liberals likely would have done more on the file. If not, then the Conservatives would have something to gripe about.

    The Conservatives, as amatter of fct, have a far worse record than the Liberals do.

    It is worth noting that there was a lot of research done and some innovative projects started (such as the lake water cooling project in Toronto which had funding and help from Ottawa), and, of course, various programs. The One Tonne challenge served a useful purpose of trying to get us all to reduce our GHG output (yes, yes, one can argue over the merits of the spending there).

    Dion made a great change to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA): under the toxic substances section, he added GHG, which enables — to this day — ministerial regulations to handle GHG reduction plans. So, right now, without going through Parliament, Baird can setup GHG restrictions. The proposed changes to CEPA will eliminate this power.

    Baird has nixed a carbon cap and trade system, which is too bad. Using markets forces to limit GHG would be a good thing.

    So I don’t see the Conservatives doing better. They will likely do worse.

    Of course, I have my doubts about both parties, which is why I vote Green.

  • “So, Conservatives, please spare me the whining about the Liberals and their environmental record. You’ve managed to accomplish even worse in 1 year of power.”

    Not really. Our problem is that we are no struggling with the mess left over by 13 years of Liberal negligence.

    It’s fine and dandy for some G8 person to give Canada a bad score because the current government isn’t putting together an emissions reduction program fast enough for their liking. But the point missed by your bolded text is that the urgency associated with putting together such a plan results from the Liberals’ unwillingness to even try to address the issue while in power. If you people hadn’t so cynically shirked your own responsibilities while in power, we wouldn’t be in such a tight bind now.

    Which is why I’m not sure why Liberals think the environment is such a winning issue for them. Canadians aren’t stupid. They know that you people talked a good game and did nothing. Why should they fall for the same old tricks only a year or two later?

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