November 15, 2006
Unfortunately, my computer has given out on me so I have had limited opportunities for sending a blog since computers available to the public are limited here and the wait can be long.
Over the past couple days, there has been a great deal of activity around what Canada is up to. Minister Ambrose arrived just as her statements of Canada meeting its Kyoto commitments, just not the targets, was being picked up by the press around the world and reaching the ears of the international community present here.
Minister Bechard of Quebec, and Opposition MPs John Godfrey and Bernard Bigras, held a press conference with Sierra Club of Canada and Greenpeace in order to let the world know that Canadians and a majority of Members of Parliament are united in their support for the Kyoto protocol. A recent poll has shown that 71% of Canadians disagree with the current government’s stance on the environment.
Yesterday, Minister Ambrose embarrassed Canada on a world stage by blatantly misleading this international conference and dragging dirty domestic partisan politics to an international forum that is searching for solutions on addressing climate change.
Minister Ambrose was misleading on many points.
First she began her speech by blaming the former government, and implying there was no plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is incorrect. The former government had a plan which certainly could have achieved significant emissions reductions if the current government had not scrapped it. It certainly was embarrassing to see the Canadian government behave like an opposition party on an international stage, instead of taking responsibility for Canadian emissions and coming up with a plan that truly and urgently addresses the matter. Countries have come together to negotiate in good faith in order to achieve deeper reductions after 2012.
Minister Ambrose also spoke about urgency. She failed to mention that her clean air act only delays action that could be implemented today. Under the clean air act, regulations could only come into force by 2011.
During an interview with the press today, Minister Ambrose stated she would be happy to meet with environmental groups. This is a strange and contradictory statement since two requests for a meeting by environmental groups have to date not been answered, and environmental groups seem to be the only ones not invited to the reception being held by the Canadian high commissioner.
Canada is losing a great deal of international credibility as countries wonder why domestic, partisan politics were dragged into this forum. Negotiations are going late into the night tonight, and tomorrow is the last day of the conference. It could likely also go late tomorrow.
Emilie Moorhouse is Sierra Club of Canada's Atmosphere and Energy