Friday, November 23, 2007

John Baird's Canada: we're all talk and now an environmental international pariah

A report that should outrage all Canadians: "Canada holding up climate-change deal at Commonwealth: sources." In the wake of the UN report this week calling for immediate and strong action, the Harper government's actions continue to speak louder than their words. As correctly called out by a British official, Canada continues to take the shameful "You first" position.
The Commonwealth summit in Uganda is close to a resolution calling for international climate-change targets - but Canada is being accused of blocking a deal.

Sources say Canada will not support an agreement unless it specifically demands the participation of major emitters, like India, China, and the United States, who have so far resisted binding targets.

Several foreign diplomats said almost every country in the 52-member Commonwealth supports an agreement, and they described Canada as a rare holdout.

A deal among Commonwealth members could provide a major breakthrough on the eve of global climate-change negotiations in Bali, Indonesia.

A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper did not mention any country by name but said the world's biggest polluters will need to be part of any agreement.

"We would not support a binding target only for some emitters - especially if that excludes major emitters," Harper spokeswoman Sandra Buckler said in an email.
Here's that British official:
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband avoided pointing the finger at Canada directly.

"I'm too much of a politician and a diplomat to be drawn into comments - positive or negative," he told The Canadian Press in an interview.

He said no country denies the science of climate change or the need for an international deal - including Canada.

And again without mentioning Canada, he described some countries' you-first attitude that is holding up progress at climate talks: "(It's), 'I will if you will,' on the one hand. And, 'you first,' on the other."
This talking point the Conservatives have sown and are inculcating into the Canadian public's collective mind that somehow it is OK for Canada to hold off on serious action because the U.S. and other large emitters are not fully on board any climate agreement needs to be roundly called out. We need to be leading by example and doing everything in our power to get those renegade nations to follow our lead. Then they become the pariahs. Why must the Harper government continue to place us in league with such deniers and continue to do the cowardly thing?

No wonder they don't want the opposition at Bali.