Common Sense and Green
For some reason, the left gets all the credit about environmental progress in our country.
Stephane Dion, the newly elected Liberal leader waltzes in a green agenda that he couldn’t advance when he was actually the Environment Minister and now most of the media are acting like Canada will be saved from our mess of emissions and air pollution.
Let’s not forget that Canada has some of the worst air pollution in the OECD and some of the highest emissions of greenhouse gasses. We have all sorts of excuses, but the fact remains we need to do better.
You are right in thinking that this isn’t news, but we didn’t exactly see a lot of concrete action under the last Liberal government, even when it was propped up by Jack Layton’s NDP.
The fact remains that a significant amount of practical environmental legislation has been brought in by conservative governments, rather than ones on the other side of the fence.
It was John Fraser and Brian Mulroney who were able to leverage well-developed relations with the US into a successful bi-lateral acid rain treaty. A key issue of the 80s, emissions causing acid rain were responsible for devastation of Eastern and Central Canadian lakes and forests. While recovery has been slow, it took decisive action to end the degradation and begin the clean up.
The last conservative government in Canada also brought in the Environmental Protection Act, a thoroughly practical and common sense piece of legislation aimed to protect Canada from environmental problems like chemical dumping and water pollution.
History has shown that large, international environmental treaties are not effective in combating major pollution and environmental problems. One could argue they don’t accomplish much in the realms of child poverty, peace or disease either. They do make for interesting travel schedules for Environment Ministers, though.
The Kyoto Treaty is a very good example. While well-meaning, it has had to address so many competing agendas and various national development levels that it isn’t going to solve anything. It just isn’t practical.
The Federal Liberals, with Dion at the cabinet table, wasted over a decade and untold millions trying to make this treaty work when instead they should have just strapped on some guts and tried to improve Canada’s dismal performance in practical ways that wouldn’t hamstring industry job creation.
Perhaps the difference is in approach. The Liberals want the big-ego boosting bang that comes with pats of the back from around the world, even if it doesn’t actually fix anything for average Canadians and our precious environment.
The Conservatives don’t care so much about the glory or gratuitous pandering to voters around environment issues, they just want to get the job done in a common sense fashion.