Today, on his road trip through China, Stephen Harper took another swipe at those "radical" environmentalists:
Our government is committed to ensuring that Canada has the infrastructure necessary to move our energy resources to those diversified markets,” Harper said. “We will uphold our responsibility to put the interests of Canadians ahead of foreign money and influence that seek to obstruct development in Canada.
It's always interesting to compare what Harper says today to what he said yesterday -- particularly when he was running for election. David Boyd, from Simon Fraser University, writes that:
In 2006, Prime Minister Harper said, “Poor air quality isn’t just a minor irritant to be endured. It is a serious problem that poses an increasing risk to the health and well-being of Canadians.”
In 2007, Harper said, "climate change is the greatest threat to the future of humanity." During his five years in minority government, he blamed Canada's environmental failings on previous Liberal governments. But, Boyd writes:
Five years later, the Conservatives have continued the Liberal tradition of addressing climate change through grand pronouncements, ineffective policies, and counterproductive actions. The federal home energy retrofit program has been canceled, reinstated, and canceled again. Canada allocated a smaller proportion of the recession-induced federal stimulus to green infrastructure and renewable energy than any other nation. After years of surreptitiously undermining climate change negotiations, Canada brazenly joined the US as the only countries in the world to renounce their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, using false arguments to do so.
And consider what has happened to our standing in the world during that time:
That Canada has become an international laggard in environmental policy and practice is now an incontrovertible fact. In 2009, the Conference Board of Canada ranked Canada 15th out of 17 wealthy industrialized nations on environmental performance. In 2010, researchers at Simon Fraser University ranked Canada 24th out of 25 OECD nations on environmental performance.
Yale and Columbia ranked Canada 37th in their 2012 Environmental Performance Index, far behind green leaders such as Sweden, Norway, and Costa Rica, and trailing major industrial economies including Germany, France, Japan, and Brazil. Worse yet, our performance is deteriorating, as we rank 52nd in terms of progress over the 2000-2010 period.
The hypocrisy is stunning.