Resisting the pull of cynicism since 1969.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Tories 1, environment 0

Just last week, Environment Minister Rona Ambrose made the announcement that it was going to be "impossible" for Canada to meet its Kyoto targets. At the time, her words only sounded defeatist. Today, in light of a leaked Cabinet document, that statement looks far more sinister:

The new Conservative government has decided to slash spending on Environment Canada programs designed to fight global warming by 80 per cent, and wants cuts of 40 per cent in the budgets devoted to climate change at other ministries, according to cabinet documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The documents also say that the Conservatives' campaign promise of tax breaks for transit passes would cost up to $2-billion over five years, but would result in an insignificant cut in greenhouse-gas emissions because the incentives are expected to spur only a small increase in the number of people willing to trade using cars for buses and subways.

Federal funding for wind power, considered by environmentalists to be one of the cleanest new energy sources, "is also uncertain," the documents said.
Apparently, the federal Tories are taking a page from the slacker's playbook. If something is too hard to do perfectly the first time, then why try doing it at all? But when a government's only real goal--that elusive majority--is far more important than actually accomplishing anything of benefit to Canadians, the easiest way to get there is to cut spending to programs that nobody's going to miss until years down the road anyway.

Ms. Ambrose, by the way, had no comment. Hardly surprising, given that the Tory plans for the environment aren't among the things the Minister of the Environment is allowed to talk about to the media.

[Update: democraticspace points out that the programmes being cut are quite efficient and cost-effective, while the transit pass programme they are being cut to fund will be costly and won't cut greenhouse gas emissions at all.]


Mark Richard Francis said...

They are then going to keep Kyoto in place while gutting the related programs.

What a bunch of $#$#$%%%%!!!s

It's looking like the transit money would be better spent on transit itself.

It's been noted that an increase in ridership in Toronto would be a problem as Toronto's TTC is lacking buses to tend to increased ridership, and the funds from increased ridership are not enough.

Thanks for finding this for me. This is major news fora green like me.

Anonymous said...

As a hardcore recycler and emission evader, I was furious to learn of this. Awareness programmes designed to combat wasteful living are essential. So few people even think it's an issue (ie. my parents, who throw absolutely everything in the garbage).

I'm even more sad at the thought that I will no longer seeing our good friend Rick Mercer doing the One Ton Challenge danse ;(

D said...

After I read a post like this I have to ask myself, "Is it really worthwhile to submit my outrage in the form of a comment?" The answer is, yes.

I would hope that anyone with a pulse who lives on this planet should not even have to comment their outrage simply because it is implicit with hearing this kind of news. But in reality we have a political party that doesn't care about anything but themselves attaining a majority government.

Neo-Cons everywhere trumpeted the absolute power of transit subsidies as the BEST way to reduce green house gas emissions. It is safe to say that those people, are idiots.

What made the Progressive Conservative party different from their so-called "counter part" the Canadian Alliance? Beyond the obvious levels of IQ was also the PC comittment to the Kyoto Protocol and the Canadian environment.

Should transit users get subsidies from the government? Yes! Should we keep the Kyoto protocol? Yes! Should we uphold our environment today and reduce the price our children, and their children will have to pay because of the industrialization of our forefathers? Yes!

It is time for CPC supporters to recognize that this planet is not a toilet that we can flush our aligators down into... I'll stop my rant here.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the very, very eye-opening info, IP. I'm passing it along my channels.

May I be the first to say, "Fuck"?

Québécoise ambulante said...

The way Tories are cutting environmental programs is outrageous, but Harper's policy of silence, as you evoked at the end of your commentary, is perhaps even more disgusting.

In this weekend's Le Devoir, I read that Harper is literally threatening his cabinet. The ones that are too talkative - and especially those who contradicts Mr. Harper - could be forbidden from travel, be publicly humiliated, or fired. Apparently, all members of his party are constantly reminded to behave along the party lines or else they will have to "dire à tout le monde que vous êtes un pauvre idiot ayant commis une gaffe." :ox

Idealistic Pragmatist said...


Yeah, that appalls me, too. On the one hand I know where it's coming from--Harper knows that he's one of the more reasonable members of his own caucus, and he wants people to forget about the crazies that occupy his back bench, if at all possible. But this is a pretty appalling way to keep control. It's not just his caucus, either--it's the media, and even novelists.

What's your impression of how Quebec is reacting to this sort of tight control? The word on the streets here is that they don't really think it's a big deal.

Declan said...

A semantic point, but I think you got your title backwards.

From a certain perspective, global warming could be seen as nature's way of getting rid of us. Clearly, given that we need to make big changes just to maintain the status quo, it is humanity which is playing defense on this issue.

So if the Tories have decided to pull the goalie while mother nature comes in on a 2 on 1, I'd say the score is headed for Environment 1, Conservative Government 0.