One of my major beefs with those who hold government reins in our political system is that they cannot see beyond the next election or two. It is impossible, it seems, for them to put in place now measures that may only be seen to bear results for their children or grandchildren.
The most obvious case in point is the Conservatives’ fraudulently-named Clean Air Act which, of course, will do nothing but prolong our dismal environmental record. My ears perked up when I heard NDP leader Jack Layton stand up and put this to the Prime Minister during today’s Question Period.
Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP) :
Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister’s clean air act is dead in the water. We
have watched for 13 years as the Liberals and the Conservatives dithered and
bickered over climate change while the air that Canadians are breathing is
getting dirtier and dirtier.
Climate change is the number one threat to Canadians and to the planet
and yet, we have a government that has no workable plan to get things done.
It is not acceptable. We have to do better than this. Is the Prime Minister
ready to meet with the NDP in the next 24 hours to construct a plan to deal
with climate change that would pass this House?
Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC) :
I would not do it in the hotel room in Toronto, Mr. Speaker. The
Leader of the NDP began this Parliament by saying that the number one air
quality concern of Canadians was smog. Now he says it is greenhouse gases.
We believe it is both which is why the clean air act covers both. The government
is determined to move ahead with a long term plan to reduce emissions of both
these gases but if the NDP wanted to sit down and discuss how we could do that
better, I am certainly willing to do that with him.
Layton’s request to meet with the government forthwith on the issue was greeted by a chorus of groans from Conservative benches, as if Layton was Chicken Little himself. Perhaps they didn’t read the papers (I checked and it was even in the National Post) or listen to the news today.
These oil industry-backed bunch of Conservative dinosaurs joke about the last government making deals with the NDP in a hotel room? The Harpercrites are more concerned about the already record-breaking profits of the oil and gas industries (who, as people, ought to have environmental and climate change concerns of their own) than they are about the health of our planet which, take it from someone who knows, already has the environmental equivalent of AIDS.
Rona Ambrose and her rapture-longing Chief of Staff are completely unfit for their jobs. Tony Blair, and I’m no fan of him either, at least has Al Gore on retainer as the U.K. is well on course to meet, even exceed, its Kyoto targets.
On our government benches, and from the Liberals who bungled this file for years, too, we’ve got nothing.