Tuesday, August 05, 2008

They Really Don't Have a Plan

We've read plenty of stories of about the Green Shift and it's certainly been all over the air waves and that's good . People know that the Liberals have a real plan.

While the usual suspects have attacked the plan as I wrote about yesterday, it's still in the news everyday.

What's not in the news is the Conservative plan. In fact it really never has been except of course when they first announced it through Rona, then had to change Ministers and actually develop something else to announce. That too went over like a lead balloon. Environmentalists panned it and some industry didn't like it either. There was minimal coverage of that and even less coverage of this.

A committee of seemingly competing interests is reworking part of the Harper government's green plan after conflicting complaints from industry and environmentalists.

The panel of environmental groups, industry lobbyists and federal and provincial officials must report to cabinet by mid-September on ways to improve the Conservatives' air-quality plan.

Its recommendations are likely to be seriously weighed by the Tories as they prepare to publish regulations on air quality and greenhouse-gas emissions.

While its moniker, "Fred," may be facetious - committee member Gordon Lloyd of the Canadian Chemical Producers Association says it doesn't actually stand for anything - the group is a powder keg of rival interests

Fred? As in Flintstone maybe?

The committee was struck after widespread discontent with the federal regulatory framework for air emissions announced by the Conservatives in April 2007.

Industry and environmental lobbyists complained they were left out of the consultation process.

Way to develop a plan. Leave out the stake holders.

Cabinet eventually authorized the committee to come up with other options for the air-quality plan. A steering committee was created this past May and it has met several times so far this summer.

Now this isn't a surprise to those of us who have been watching this, but how many have been? I mean do Canadians really understand that the Conservatives don't have a plan? They can scream, Turning the Corner all they like but if there is a group undertaking to rewrite it, it's fair to say they've got nothing.

The article suggests that the Conservatives will take the report seriously, but I have my doubts and to be honest, I can't see how you can reconcile these disparate factions unless you come up with a plan resembling the Green Shift, though perhaps still rooted in the Cap and Trade model. The reality is, this group that should have been convened over 2 years ago could fail given who is at the table. In which case of course the government would stick to it's current non-plan.

Unlike the Conservatives, the Liberals did consult with stake holders and were therefore able to develop a plan with balance. This isn't a political game for Dion. That's precisely what it is for Harper and Baird.

The Con's have gotten away with murder here. They've done nothing since taking office yet are covered wall to wall by media when they attack the Liberals. No one is looking at what they bring to the discussion.

So I'm happy to see this article finally exposing them, but just how long do you think this will stay in the news?

Yeah, that's what I thought too.


penlan said...

Wow - this is the 1st I've heard of this committee/group. And they've been meeting since May? How nice to keep it so hush-hush. So transparent.

Thanks for this, knb.

knb said...

It's astonishing really penlan, that this hasn't been written about more.

I have a vague memory of when the group was formed, but there has been no media attention since then and therefore little means to gain anything useful.

Kudo's to Steve Rennie.

Kady if you're reading, send me an e-mail address so I can thank this man.

It's time to encourage this kind of reporting on this subject.

Frankly Canadian said...

Well I find it about time we see some real stories in our news that portrays the facts. However I think that will all be short lived and things will go back to the status quo tomorrow all because of the following. Who are the biggest contributors to the American Republicans and who are the biggest supporters of the Conservatives. I'm sorry the fact remains that a 11.6 billion dollars per quarter buys politicians period! and all the publicity that those politicians need. Americans start a massive war outlasting most all other wars, all for "big oil"and "big business" Canadians are fighting in Afghanistan to protect oil pipelines and interest, When will it stop? Don't get me wrong about the wars and the fighting, I do support are men and women at home and overseas, I'm just thinking that there could be different and better ways of dealing with corrupt governments. I still believe our current democracy has being hi-jacked by big business and we need to regain our control of the system A.S.A.P.

A perfect example of this is portrayed in an argument I had in Steve V's blog earlier tonight, it goes as follows:
Here's a story for you tory@york and this story is about nothing but FACTS and LAWS brought to us by our own Canadian Parliament. So take your bogus reporting and crawl back to the rock you came from and leave my Canada and my fellow Canadians alone!

All parties get in on the Act

In a democracy, politicians from various parties debate to make their vision the one that guides the country. The hope is that when the debate concludes we end up going in a direction that has at least been considered from many different angles.

Although one party’s vision may win out over others, it may be tempered or enhanced by arguments from the opposing parties. When all sides agree unanimously on something, it’s a sign that the issue is serious enough to rise above the daily politicking.

Canada’s Federal Sustainable Development Act, which became law in late June, is a bold step toward ensuring that governments live up to their environmental commitments. And it’s one that all political parties got together to support. It could revolutionize the way the government deals with national environmental issues.

The David Suzuki Foundation has long advocated for such a law, grounded in basic environmental science. The Foundation helped draft the original bill, which was based on our report "Sustainability Within a Generation", written by environmental lawyer and professor David Boyd. The bill was introduced in Parliament by retiring Liberal MP John Godfrey. (You can read our 2006 report on which the new law is based, "Toward a National Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada", at www.davidsuzuki.org/Publications/NSDS.asp.)

The law’s wording puts the environment at the forefront: "The Government of Canada accepts the basic principle that sustainable development is based on an ecologically efficient use of natural, social and economic resources and acknowledges the need to integrate environmental, economic and social factors in the making of all decisions by government."

I’m happy to finally see the government listing the environment right up there with the economy! I felt the same in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio with Agenda 21, a massive plan to get the world onto a sustainable path. Unfortunately, a recession knocked out all that goodwill. Let’s hope this time for courageous political leadership in implementing and enforcing the law.

Under the act, the government must establish a Federal Sustainable Development Strategy with "measurable" targets for protecting Canada’s environment in accordance with the precautionary principle. (The principle states that "Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.") The government must also set out its strategy for meeting the targets, identify the minister responsible for meeting each target, and allow the Environment Commissioner to review the strategy and targets in advance.

The act, which applies to the policies and programs of all departments as well as a number of federal agencies, requires the government to produce a revised strategy every three years. And it establishes an advisory council that includes the provinces, business, First Nations, environmental groups, and labour.

That’s the kind of cooperation we need if we are to solve our many environmental problems. Of course, it doesn’t let the government completely off the hook. We still need more action on global warming, including a stronger commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And we need to ensure that the government takes the law seriously and doesn’t just pay it lip service, as it has with our signing of the Kyoto Protocol.

At least it provides for more accountability and transparency – and includes incentives. For example, some bonuses for senior department bureaucrats will be contingent on how well they meet environmental goals. And the Environment Commissioner will audit and report to Parliament annually on the government’s performance in meeting the environmental targets and the terms of its environmental strategy.

It may be some time before we see how effective the law is, but all parties have at least recognized the need to work together on such crucial issues. It’s something the United Kingdom and Sweden have been doing for years with their own sustainable development strategies. It may take a while to catch up to them, but at least we have a plan to get there.

Parliament often seems like a place for acrimonious argument and name-calling rather than a venue for rational discussion, but in getting together to draft, discuss, and support the passage of this important law, politicians from across the Canadian political spectrum have shown that there is a better way to find solutions.

Take David Suzuki's Nature Challenge and learn more at www.davidsuzuki.org.

The time for debate is over, the time to correct the situation is now. If this current Conservative government continues to wilfully obstruct justice than indeed the perpetrators need to be thrown out of office and replaced by a more respectful and honourable party, like the current Liberal Party of Canada.

penlan said...

The problem is how do we get the MSM to keep this in the forefront? If it were made available to the public on a regular basis then it would, indeed, make the govt., & all parties accountable. People will be questioning, & complaining, if things don't get done/worked on.

The CONs continually hide important issues with "attack, attack, attack" rhetoric (against the Libs) & that obfuscates everything. Discussion is not their forte. It's always "do it my way" followed by a threat of some kind.

You all know what I'm talking about & you are all as frustrated as I am.

I hold the MSM responsible for allowing this to continue. They are the eyes & ears of the people. We get our information from & through them. How else? It's different for us political junkies. We go in search for the truth, but the average Canadian does not. They only receive what they hear/see on T.V. news & possibly read in the newspapers. And again it's just the quick sound byte or the headline which does not always say what the actual truth is in the story. Many times it's twisted to sound like something completely different from the actual content of the matter.

Again, money is the culprit. Big business. The stations & the papers want to sell their product. Salacious headlines sell. And it's the headline/sound byte that remains in the public's mind.

There was a time when reporters actually reported. Without bias. Just the truth. Just the facts.

The 2 politics programmes on T.V., Newman & Duffy, don't do enough. Duffy is hopeless & I can't even watch that show. And Newman, who's a little better, doesn't go deeply enough.

They all need turfing & new, more in-depth coverage needs doing. Real discussion of issues without the continual babble, talking points, over & over, from the CONs.
And the interviews are far too short. Perhaps 2 half-hour segments on 1 issue each would better serve us all.
With REAL discussion & ideas. Not the junk we've been exposed to over & over again ad nauseum.

Kady O'Malleys ITQ is excellent for real reporting & I would love to see her blogging actually printed, weekly, in the print edition of MacLeans Magazine. Maybe that would wake people up.
It would be an interesting feature for the general public to read. To see what's REALLY going on on the Hill & committee's.

As I stated earlier, I hold the MSM responsible for all the misinformation, lack of depth in their reporting, parroting the CONs talking points, not giving equal time to the opposition & wish there were some way to hold them accountable. It's irresponsible of them & perpetuating the game playing is obscene.

Enough already!!!

knb said...

Good points frankly canadian.

I wonder if there is any aboriginal representation on the panel?

knb said...

Well said penlan.

With the change of staff at the PMO, things seem to have changed a wee bit, in that Ministers and MP's seem to be speaking off the cuff.

They are still pretty much on message, but this may have the journalists going after them a bit more.

New blood would be nice, I agree. Newman and Duffy can't hang around for ever. The replacements for Duffy are just like him most of the time though. An exception in my mind would be Tonda McCharles.

It is frustrating, no doubt about it.