A Canadian Public Relations Strategy

Nearly five years ago Jim Prentice, then Minister of the Environment in the Federal Cabinet, made it clear to the power industry that Canada’s 2020 emission target required a move away from coal. The next year the Federal Government banned construction of new generating plants fired by coal unless equipped with Carbon Capture and Storage. …

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Hypocrisy?  You be the judge.

So what did Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of the Environment say when she spoke to the recent United Nations Climate Summit?

As predicted Ms. Aglukkaq referred to recent draft regulations governing emissions from motor vehicles.  These regulations, promised two years ago, align Canada with similar US regulations.

The Minister also referred to the regulation of coal-fired electricity generating plants.  Nothing new there:  these regulations have been around for some time, and won’t  result in reduced emissions for many years.

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A misguided policy

The Canadian Government has used a number of catch phrases to legitimize its support of fossil fuels.  The Government described its environmental monitoring and regulation of the tar sands as “world-class”, also referring to Canada in this context as “a world leader”.  Although the international community recognized these words as meaningless hype, many Canadians were re-assured that environmental risks were under control.

The value of Canadian dollar, also known as our petrodollar, soared.  Most Canadians considered that this development validated the goal of Canada as “an energy super-power”.

The Canadian Government countered criticism that an inflated dollar was detrimental to Canada’s manufacturing base. Supported by the Alberta Government and the fossil fuel industry, it emphasized that the exploitation of the tar sands resulted in substantial purchases of goods and services from suppliers in other Provinces.

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A Ray of Hope

Three years ago For Our Grandchildren (4RG) submitted a petition requesting the Federal Government to cooperate with the Provinces to develop a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014.

In January 2012 we received a response from the Honourable Joe Oliver. He said nothing whatsoever about a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014 or any other year!    See our blogFederal Government short-changes Renewable Energy”.

At the 2007 a meeting of the Council of the Federation, the Provincial Premiers explored the prospects for a national policy.  They did not anticipate the indifference of the Federal Government, which was too busy selling the tar sands internationally to be concerned about renewables.

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In Danger of failing. 

Many many decades ago, this language appeared on school report cards. A check mark warned parents that their child might not advance to the next grade.  Judging by the recent conclusions of Gordon Miller (Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner), “In danger of failing” could refer to Ontario.

His 2014 report  to the Ontario Legislature on Ontario’s performance questions whether the present Government is committed to programs that will result in Ontario meeting its 2020 GHG reduction target.

Read moreIn Danger of failing.