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Monday, June 04, 2007

Harper at the G8 is Not Being Honest Nor is He Being a Broker.

Prime Minister Harper is off to the G8 and positioning Canada as the “honest broker” to bridge the gap between the climate change approaches between Europe and the Americans. Our Prime Minister has yet to clarify his own position on these issues so it is hard to see him as having any significant moral, legal or even intellectual authority to mediate between some pretty significant superpowers.

Our national economy and security is so tied to the USA that it is stretching credibility to believe the Europeans will see Harper as anything more than a shill for President Bush’s position on climate change.

It is not as if our record in Canada on GHG emissions cutting has been exemplary either. So there is no lever for persuasion or brokerage by Harper on that front. In fact we are doing a worse job than the Americans who never said they were to be bound by Kyoto in the first place. Harper’s own anaemic and hesitant policies on climate change offer nothing to add to his stature as an honest broker between Europe and American interests either.

He even misrepresents the India and China position on climate change. They have signed on to Kyoto but starting in the post-2012 period. According to the World Wildlife Fund, India currently contributes 2% of world GHG emissions with a billion people and China spews 5% with 1.3 billion people. Canada sources 2% of the worlds GHG emissions with only 35 million citizens.

The trends in all cases are not encouraging. In the time frame 1999-2004 Canada increased emissions 27%, India was up 57.5% and China increased by 73%. That only proves we are all in serious trouble. Canada obviously needs to do more at home and not just preach to China and India, as temping as that seems to be to Bush and Harper. As for an honest broker we are not in the best position be making the case to others now are we?

We have hardly anything to teach them, except perhaps not to waste the lead up time they have and to start early to create the changes necessary to comply with Kyoto. In Canada we have definitely squandered that lead time from when we signed on.

Yes Steve, it is not easy being green. It is even harder to be credible by pretending that you are. Harper’s Cons are spending big bucks in the pre-writ pre-election period that they don't have to account for when an inevitable election is called. Their message is focused on trying to convince us Dion is not a leader. Ironically Harper is spending lots of his personal political capital right now too. He is posing and posturing as a greenie and proving too all of us in the process that he is definitely not a leader.