Owning Up

“The previous government signed an international climate-change agreement and decided they wouldn’t implement it.” So said Mr. Harper in New York.

Kyoto came into effect in February 2005. Within two months, in April 2005, the Liberal government introduced Project Green, culminating a series of progressively ambitious global warming initiatives implemented since signing the accord in 1998. Project Green was a comprehensive plan for meeting our Kyoto commitments.

According to the Pembina Institute, Project Green would have taken Canada 80% of the way toward its goals by 2010.

In January, 2006, with Kyoto less than a year in effect, with Project Green eight months old and more on the way, we handed-off the responsibility to build on these important achievements, and to honour the commitments Canada had made to the world, to Mr. Harper.

Mr. Harper immediately set about to destroy them. He spent his entire first year in office dismantling important climate-change and environmental initiatives. In his first budget he cut the entire budget for Project Green, eliminating over 100 climate change programs.

At the same time he set about to undermine and sabotage the process globally. He entrusted this important file to an Environment Minister (Rona Ambrose) who repeatedly missed or showed up late for international Kyoto meetings, and his second Environment Minister (John Baird) was no better; the Bali Conference was a walk of shame for Canada.

Mr. Harper was always a shrill denier of climate change, even as late as December 2006 referring to “so-called” greenhouse gases. He worked hard and long to defeat and unravel our efforts. While we did achieve a great deal, that we hadn’t achieved even more, and that there’s little left, is in no small measure Mr. Harper’s own doing.

Frankly, if such is indeed his belief, while regrettable, it is laudably consistent that he would follow-through in this manner. But any virtue there might be in this is obliterated by his abject denial of our achievements and compulsive evasion of his own responsibility for Canada’s dismal performance here.

Far from “deciding not to implement it” the previous Liberal government proceeded in full good faith and commitment and achieved a great deal. It is an abhorrent abuse of the truth to say otherwise, which is even more egregious coming from the one man most responsible for Canada’s embarrassment and loss, and for betraying the great responsibility entrusted in him by Canadians.

It’s time to own up, Mr. Harper. It’s time to go.

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