Sunday, October 20, 2013

Consider The Record

Last week's throne speech made mention of "polluter pays" legislation. It appears that the Harperites will offer Barack Obama a carrot, if he approves the Keystone XL Pipeline. Unfortunately, the pending legislation is a little late and, simply put, only a little.

Two weeks ago Michael Harris wrote a column questioning the competence of Mr. Harper's new Minister of State for Science, Greg Rickford. Rickford responded to the column, claiming that he wanted to "set the record straight."

Harris sets out that record, and it illustrates just how fraudulent the Harper government is when it makes promises.  Harper once declared that "the fundamental challenge of our time is to make real progress on environmental protection while preserving jobs and standards of living." It's interesting to compare that statement to Harper's record on science and environmental protection. Harris directed Mr. Rickford to very recent history:

Consider that atmospheric and climate research in Canada is now funded at 70 per cent of the level it was when you came to power in 2006.
  • Your government walked away from Kyoto and still hasn’t bothered to come up with a plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector.
  • Your boss dumped the Office of National Science Advisor in 2008 — but we did get an Office of Religious Freedom.
  • Your government cut the foundation that funded Canada’s Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) in 2011. Peter Kent came up with a great defence: The Harper government hadn’t shut down PEARL, just the funding programs that paid for it.
  • Point by point, Kent’s public statements about PEARL were called “factually incorrect” by one of the co-founders of the research facility. Or when a minister says it, does it become a fact?
  • Your government made the decision to close the Mersey Biodiversity Centre in Nova Scotia as of 2014.
  • Your government axed the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences.
  • Your government closed seven of nine marine science libraries in Canada.
  • Your government closed the Ocean Contaminants Program, lock, stock, and barrel and fired Dr. Peter Ross, a leading world expert on the effect of pollution on marine mammals.
  • Your government close the Habitat Management Program at Fisheries and Oceans Canada — but why not, since under the new gutted Fisheries Act there was no habitat to protect anyway?
  • Your government fired 136 scientists from Environment Canada and cut its budget by $200 million in 2011 and $53 million more in 2012.
  • Your government fired 436 scientists and professional staff at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
  • Your government would rather appoint David Suzuki to the Senate than bring in a carbon tax.

The record shows that the Harperites are masters of misrepresentation. But you already knew that, didn't you?


Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The Conservatives record on the environment and climate change is truly aweful. I think it is criminal.Neglect is a crime against humanity, our grandchildren and great grandchildren and generations on into the future will pay a dreadful price.

Sadly, no other party has an adequate platform on the environment and climate change. It is way past due when a party should say, the environment must come first not the economy. We must protect the water air and land before expanding the economy. It needs to be radical enough that it hurts and cost each of us discomfort in our lives. The Harper years have been a dead loss we could not affair to lose on protecting the environment.

I also believe their is money to be made saving the environment. How about a rapid transit railroad system connecting all major cities and towns. How about massive investment in alternative energy. How about changing the building code so that all building must have roof with solar collector and/or green roofs etc etc etc.

Owen Gray said...

Indeed, Philip, there is money to be made in protecting the environment. We need not chose between the two.

Unfortunately, these folks see all problems as either/or choices.

the salamander said...

.. the attack on Canada's environment alone could be Stephen Harper's everlasting historical legacy. The stooges, trolls, MP's that bought into the assault deserve their place as well, in the history of Canada..

That aside.. the attacks on democracy, our parliament, accountability & honesty bring even more levels of atrocity into question..

These actions reflect election promises ? Conservative policy ?
Tom Flanagan's flawed American spoutings
The dreams, needs and wishes of Canadians?

On what asteroid, adrift in the cosmos is Stephen Harper's shallow thinking floating ? And why should Canada begin to or even consider resembling his distorted version of the land?

Owen Gray said...

I notice, salamander, that commentators like Chantal Hebert are beginning to write about Harper's legacy -- the assumption being that he has made some kind of positive contribution to the nation.

But I suspect that, when historians look at the Harper years, they will find little to praise and much to mourn.

the salamander said...

.. your blog title says it all for me..
.. portrays how Harper et al
fail Canada and Canadians ..

"There is no greatness where simplicity,
goodness and truth are absent."

Leo Tolstoy

Owen Gray said...

Tolstoy was not without his faults, salamander. But he understood the true test of greatness.