Gen X at 40

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Hans -

It is interesting to watch Harper zag on the environment issue. I think you are right, Al. The environment is an issue most people genuinely say they care, like health care, about but what will ultimately motivate them to take appropriate actions? This is where government leadership for the common good comes into play, I think.

Paul of Kingston -

Wow. Where to begin. There are so many easy wins for the environmetnal file that only have business interests in their way. Things like mandatory packaging takeback, taxation geared to waste and CO2 emmission, an energy policy that favours lower impact generation. Those kind of things would get my vote.

Jay Currie -

Alternatively Harper could take the high road and actually talk about the doubtful science and horrid economics which haunt the environmental file. He might speak to the costs of carbon reduction against a) the uncertainty of the benefits, b) the fact that even if all the signatories to Kyoto hit their targets (as if) the total CO2 emissions reduction would be overwhelmed by one year of China's increasing emissions.

His current position - if that is not an overstatement - seems to be that he will neither do anything substantive nor explain why doing anything substantive is a throughly bad idea. While this mimics the Liberal Party's many gifts to the environment, (six billion dollars and all we got was a dog named Kyoto), it is hardly likely to garner any actual votes.

As in many things, Harper seems unwilling to challenge the prevailing Liberal orthodoxy while remaining unwilling to actually implement it.

Harper's position now seems to be that he may have been mistaken in his analysis of the electoral importance of the environment and the necessity of being seen to kiss the holy tablets of the Kyoto Accord. He appears to view this as an error of political judgment rather a substantive mistake. I think he's right about that but lacks the courage of his convictions and will therefor make assorted green noises between now and the election. Stand by for windmills and consultations.

In a perfect electoral world Harper would nail Dion, Smilin' Jack and Ms. May on the doubtful science and the actual, real, economic trade offs implicit in Kyoto. "Clean water for everyone or carbon trading to benefit assorted third world oligarchs?" "Decent housing for Canada's Indians or CO2 targets which will not make any difference?" should be his line but will, in fact, be buried under a haze of "me tooism". Sigh.

There is no question that a particular spin on the environment has risen to the top of the agenda. What Harper seems to be positioning himself to do is align with that spin rather than asking the serious questions which are seemingly too inconvenient to discuss.

Alan -

This is gold! GOLD!!!<blockquote class="smalltext"><i>"His current position - if that is not an overstatement - seems to be that he will neither do anything substantive nor explain why doing anything substantive is a throughly bad idea"</i></blockquote>I would...could only amend it to read: <blockquote class="smalltext"><i>"His current position - if that is not an overstatement - seems to be that he will neither do <b>or not do</b> anything substantive nor explain why doing anything substantive is <b>or is not</b> a throughly bad idea"</i></blockquote>

Hans -

Speaking as someone whose opinion (based on some scientific research) is that there is a global warming trend that humans are contributing to and that a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions may reduce this trend, even I would welcome something from Harper on the environment other than what Jay has observed and predicted from him.

Paul of Kingston -

Harper can't deliver without being chucked out of Oilberta on his arse. He knows in which provice hisbread gets buttered.