Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Gang Who Can't Shoot Straight

Canadian bitumen befouled the Kalamazoo River back in 2010. Now it slurps down the streets of Mayflower, Arkansas. And the Harper government keeps telling Americans that the Keystone XL Pipeline will be a godsend.

That sales pitch rings hollow. After all, it comes from the country which withdrew from the Kyoto Accord and is now the only country to withdraw from the UN Anti-Drought Convention. Tasha Kheiriddin writes that the Harper government has managed to sabotage its path to power:

The pipeline represents not just an economic, but a political lynchpin of their long-term national strategy: displacing the power centre of Canada westward.

If they had built a record of environmental stewardship, they might have succeeded. Certainly, Preston Manning has been saying for years that the road to power for conservatives is as green as grass. However,

This government’s greatest failing — and Achilles heel — may be squandering the opportunity to converge environmentalism and conservatism. Over the past nine years, the Tories could have taken Canadian environmental policy in a whole new direction. They could have championed market-based conservatism in areas from land preservation to fish stocks. They could have encouraged energy conservation through market pricing. They could have initiated consultation processes on projects such as Northern Gateway that were more than just “for show”, to give people the sense that their views were actually being heard.

But true to their Manichean roots -- every issue is a struggle between good and evil -- the Harperites pitted the economy against the environment, painting environmentalists as economic illiterates. Now they are reaping what they have sown -- and proving that they really are the gang who can't shoot straight


thwap said...

This is because harper is a shit-for-brains who actually thinks that the environment is a special interest group that doesn't have wealth or power.

He thinks the environment is like a person on welfare; something to be demonized and abused.

He should eat his own bitumen with a side order of paper money.

Owen Gray said...

If the Keystone Pipeline deal fails, thwap, Harper will have bitumen all over his face.

Michael Taylor said...

Great piece, Owen. What amazes me is that I can find no evidence in Pastor Manning's past writings or speeches (or Kherridin's for that matter) that suggest he has every made the (classic conservative) case for environmental balance in economic development. Of course the CPC should have embraced this years ago but they did not. In fact they produced the most vile approach to the environment ever seen in our history (legitimate environmental organizations labelled as terrorists, the OMNIBUS onslaught upon environmental legislation, etc.) They cannot roll this back. To think that they can now go to Washington and proclaim their environmental record without blowback?! That dilbit sure is a buggar to clean off your suit!

Anonymous said...

I read sometime back. Premier Redford made a deal, to bring American War Vets to build the Keystone pipeline, on both sides of the border. Are Canadian people angry about jobs, that perhaps aren't even there?

Besides which. The American's have a huge oil find of their own. This is 40 miles from Rifle Colorado. This holds more oil than all of OPEC. The U.S. can outsell Saudi.

The U.S. does not need our oil. Tar sands oil, would be for resale. However, with these two recent spills in the U.S. The Keystone could be very iffy with Obama.

Owen Gray said...

I'm including a link which appeared in the Post media papers, Michael:

Manning is reported to have said, "I think if conservatives and private-sector companies and leaders were seen as more positive and proactive on the environmental front they would be dealing with the number one obstacle to developing this infrastructure."

He never recommends any policy prescriptions. So what he really means is open to question.

Owen Gray said...

Obama says he's concerned about the environment, Anon. His new Secretary of State, John Kerry, claims he's worried about our warming planet.

These spills would seem to give them reason to reject Keystone. And, given recent discoveries south of the border, they can argue they don't need our oil.

Lorne said...

I am so deeply cynical, Owen, that despite Obama's words of environmental concern, I believe it would take
a tidal wave of spilled oil to stop his approval of Keystone. I sincerely hope that I am wrong on this, but I don't think that I am.

Owen Gray said...

You may well be right, Lorne. I was speaking to a friend yesterday who said that -- according to what he had heard -- the Gulf Coast refineries have already invested in the changes needed to refine Canadian bitumen.

Perhaps they know something the rest of us don't.