Sunday, November 02, 2008

Looking south

With the media even on the cold side of the 49th parallel also obsessed with Tuesday’s US election, Canadians may have missed the news that we have a new Environment Minister. Industry Minister Jim Prentice, a possible future Harper successor, has been shuffled over to the Environment portfolio.

Ignoring the basic fact that climate change does not belong solely under the jurisdiction of a ministry or department or organization labeled "environment", a mistake that diminishes the scale of the issue and is made far, far too often in Canada and around the world , when you combine the Prentice cabinet re-assignment with the political response to the ongoing economic crisis and the sorry spectacle of a Liberal leadership campaign on the heels of the defeat of Dion and the Green Shift, it is safe to say that we can say goodbye to whatever faint hope there was that the Conservative Party would announce, or be pushed by the opposition into announcing, a real plan for reducing industrial greenhouse gas emissions. It’ll be a surprise if the Conservatives do anything to implement or enforce the vacuous emissions-intensity based plan announced during the last session of Parliament, let alone assemble a plan with any teeth.

Unless, that is, there is pressure from the next US administration. Times sure have changed.


crf said...

Do you want more cynical bad news? Maybe it is better if it comes in bunches.
Garry Goodyear, chiropractic "doctor", is now minister of state for science and technology.

Simon Donner said...

From Paul Wells at Macleans:
There’s one more file that will lead Canada’s foreign policy in the next several months: the environment.

"I keep running into Conservatives who are convinced Jim Prentice’s assignment to Environment is a punishment. It’s a difficult file, the Conservatives can never get credit for managing it, and any action Prentice does take will be felt in the oil patch — where he hopes to finance any future run for the leadership. Plus apparently the distribution of cabinet-committee assignments clips Prentice’s wings considerably. I think there’s probably something to all that. It fits with previous Harper cabinet assignments — MacKay and Bernier to Foreign Affairs.

But Prentice will have an important assignment for all that. Harper’s comments after the cabinet shuffle hinted at what it is when he talked about balancing the economy and the environment. The new U.S. administration will be crucial to both. My suspicion, confirmed by Conservatives I’ve chatted with, is that Prentice’s mandate letter tells him to keep Canada’s policy on greenhouse gases closely harmonized with that of a new Obama administration."