“Kent touts Canada’s climate record”: this is the headline from the Ottawa Citizen that carried the story of Peter Kent’s address at Doha.
A McMillan Dictionary definition of “tout” is:
“to try to persuade people to buy something by telling them about it, especially loudly and in public”.
Kent’s speech to the approximately 1200 delegates in a plenary COP18 Session took approximately six minutes, in which he said just about everything positive that could be said about Canada’s performance on climate change. At the end of his remarks there was polite, sporadic clapping – not limited to the other members of the Canadian delegation – but it was over in a few seconds, even before he could leave the podium. Nobody in that plenary session was buying his remarks.
Other phrases of Kent’s speech: “. . . real and pragmatic action . . .” – “ . . . balance between the environment and the economy . . .” – “. . . private finance and innovation . . .”
One compliment that has got nothing to do with climate change: Kent delivered a reasonable part of his speech in good French considering that he is an Anglophone.
The Windsor Star was gentler with Kent: it used the headline “Kent praises Canada’s Climate Record.”
Whether “touts” or “praises” is the word to describe what Kent was doing is beside the point. Whatever the Minister is doing, his Department is doing a minimum on climate change. Given the policy of the Government a minimum is about all the Department could do.
Perhaps it is the budget cuts. Perhaps it is the good sense of keeping your head down on a controversial program.
Now let’s see how Minister Kent answers the over seven hundred questions submitted to him at Doha!