Let's have a look at what some Conservative cabinet ministers have been saying about the environment these days:
Under the former Liberal government we could have seen up to $600 per Canadian family in taxpayer money shipped overseas to countries like Russia and China with no accountability to the environment here at home.First off, let's clear up one thing: this "shipping money overseas" thing that our esteemed ministers are so hot under the collar about is nothing more and nothing less than an acknowledgement that our environment doesn't stop at our national borders. Each country that signed the Kyoto agreement has promised to limit their country's emissions to the levels described in the protocol. Realizing that countries don't always manage to keep their promises, though, the agreement also has a provision for those countries, like Canada, who screw up: they can buy "credits" from countries that managed to keep their word. The Conservatives don't like this idea. They'd rather demarcate the air over our heads along our land borders and claim responsibility for keeping only that portion of the atmosphere clean. It's a good thing we've got border guards up in the sky, working hard at keeping the riff-raff pollution out.
The Liberals were going to buy billions of dollars in international credits from Russia and China when we have our own air and water pollution problems right here at home.
- -- Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, May 8th Question Period
Not only does the old Liberal Party want to spend billions of dollars buying hot air credits in Russia, to add insult to injury it wants to impose a new carbon tax on Canadians to pay for Russia's hot air.
- -- Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment, June 8th Question Period
- -- Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources, June 12th Question Period
Now, the text of these statements is merely a bit lacking in the logic department, but the subtext is downright retro. Most developed countries have managed to meet their Kyoto targets, so there are plenty of other places that could have been held up as examples of who could buy Canada's emissions credits. The United Kingdom, for example, has already surpassed its target by 12.5%. Germany and France have overshot their targets as well, as have Iceland and New Zealand. Sweden has not only easily met its targets, but has committed itself to being entirely free of fossil fuels by 2020. Poorer countries that have managed to meet their targets include Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and the Ukraine.
Why not mention any one of those countries, instead of always demonizing China and Russia? Apparently the Conservatives not only want Canada to horde its own air, but they'd also like to take us back to the good old days of the Cold War.