Peter Kent signaled this week that he expects to be demoted or dismissed by Stephen Harper. Rick Smith, the Executive Director of the Broadbent Institute, suggests that Kent's tenure as Minister of the Environment can't come to an end soon enough:
Since the advent of Canada’s first federal Environment Minister in 1971, there have been many bumps-on-a-log, do-nothings, and disappointments. Many governments of the past have ignored the nation’s environmental protection needs, resulting in years of stalled progress. But only Mr. Kent has stepped up to the plate, Orwell-style, to re-make the Ministry of the Environment into a green rubber stamp for destructive, ill-considered, industrial behaviour, all while glibly blaming “foreign interests” for meddling with Canada’s overwhelmingly foreign-owned oil and gas sector. Only Mr. Kent has actually spearheaded the wholesale abolition of key elements of Canada’s already threadbare federal environmental protection architecture.
Smith then goes on to list what he believes were Kent's greatest hits (to the environment):
1. Turning the environmental assessment process into a sideshow .
2. Walking away from the Kyoto climate change agreement .
3. Giving the hook to the Federal Fisheries Act and Navigable Waters Protection Act .
4. Telling the National Round Table of the Environment and Economy (NRTEE) where it could take its advice .
5. Deny, deny, deny that the tar sands have any more environmental impact than your dog .
Kent, of course, did not develop his own policy. He was merely a willing puppet:
Mr. Kent was simply the messenger for a government that is convinced, deep in its bones, that – contrary to any evidence and common sense – environmental protection and economic growth are incompatible.
And, for that reason, he is an embarrassment to a profession he once claimed to practice.