Prime Minister Stephen Harper seems quite pleased with himself after almost single-handedly leading the drive to water down a proposed action plan by Commonwealth countries to seriously tackle global warming. Instead of an aggressive statement by the 52-member organization at its meeting in Uganda that would have called for binding targets for greenhouse gas emissions on major developed countries, the group issued a tepid communiqué that simply urged all nations to work toward undefined goals of reducing such emissions.This weekend seemed to showcase the worst in Harper, principally his know it all arrogance that does not flatter him at all. For a leader who is failing to gain traction with the Canadian public, it's incomprehensible to hear his unilateral bravado as on full display in his closing news conference.
Commonwealth officials pointed the finger of blame for blocking the original plan straight at Harper.
But the Canadian leader scoffed at the criticism, saying at the close of the three-day meeting that the leaders should be proud of their work.
"I believe we have much to be pleased of from the work that we have done here," Harper said. "We have delivered a substantive statement on climate change, consistent with those of a number of other international organizations and one which builds momentum towards next month's important United Nations conference" in Bali.
Canadians should not be surprised by Harper's attitude. Since taking office, he has consistently fought against tough emissions rules. His current plan has been dismissed as grossly inadequate. It is based largely on reduced intensity targets, or cutting the amount of greenhouse gases emitted per unit of economic activity.
Unfortunately, his Uganda performance may be a bad omen for how Canada will act when world leaders gather in Bali starting next Monday to open negotiations on a new climate-change treaty to go into effect when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.
And by the way, favourite moment from a CTV report last night...the Ugandan leader shaking Harper's hand and telling him he can now relax...very telling.