In the previous Federal Parliament, Ed Fast was the member of the Conservative shadow cabinet with responsibility for Environment and Climate Change. In the November Federal election, Fast was re-elected for the riding of Abbottsford. Although the Conservatives elected more members of Parliament, the Liberals won enough seats to form a minority government.
Fast and Andrew Scheer, the Conservative Party Leader, recently discussed the possibility of Fast’s re-appointment to the new “shadow cabinet”. It must have been obvious to both that in the campaign, Climate Change had emerged as the most significant national issue, thus enabling the Liberals to remain in power with a minority of seats.
Given Fast’s indifference to climate change as an issue, it was necessary for Scheer to find a less sensitive portfolio for him. However, whatever portfolio Scheer may have presented, Fast declined the nomination. He publicly explained that Scheer needed members of the Party “who fully supported his leadership in the new shadow cabinet”.
So instead of Fast, Scheer appointed Kerry-Lynne D. Finlay, the newly elected member for Surrey/White Rock, to join the Shadow Cabinet as the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Finlay has had cabinet experience with some minor portfolios in the Harper era but she has no discernable expertise on the subject of climate change.
Scheer surely understands that Canadians are concerned about climate change. Continuing with Fast as the shadow cabinet minister for climate change would not result in the development of effective policies that would address public concerns.
Can a new shadow Cabinet Minister, who – so far as one can judge by her public statements – has little knowledge about climate change be an effective spokesperson for the Conservatives?
As the climate crisis brought on by global warming becomes more threatening, the Conservatives must develop a constructive program to reduce the attendant risks.
It is unfair to burden Ms. Finlay with the responsibility for developing policies to limit Climate change, the most important issue facing Canada and the world today. This should be the task of the entire Conservative hierarchy.