Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Blast from the past

Former U.S. ambassador to Canada David Wilkins pours more cold water on the Harper plan to wait on the U.S. for climate change guidance:
"There's no question the political sands are shifting again in our country, from health care and cap-and-trade, for example, to the economy and jobs," he added.

"But as far as a cap and trade bill, per se, I think it's dead for the foreseeable future."
Dead! Now that doesn't sound very good. Although to be fair, the word "slim" was also used by Wilkins to describe a bill's likelihood of success. A sliver of optimism, perhaps. But Wilkins is a Republican guy with an agenda, maybe we should look to the current ambassador, Jacobson, for a better indication. He too is pessimistic but he does not use the word "dead." He likes "divisive" and "difficult" to describe the legislative prospects. At least they're all on the "d" page.

At a think-tank gathering in Ottawa on Monday, a former Canadian diplomat urged a different course in light of the obvious problems in the Harper/Prentice strategy:
With the political battle lines being firmly drawn in the U.S., the Harper government should be more proactive than ever in pushing its own proposals with the Obama administration rather than taking a wait-and-see attitude, said Colin Robertson, the retired diplomat with extensive experience at the Canadian embassy in Washington who hosted Jacobson's Ottawa speech.

"It's a permanent campaign. You never stop. You always have to be out making the case for Canada."
You know who that sounds like a job for...the "green adviser" who may yet save us all! Well, maybe not.

Fascinating to watch this one develop, with various American politicos weighing in to indicate our fate.

Update: Speaking of American politicos, Jeffrey Simpson today has a column on Senator Maria Cantwell's "cap and dividend" proposal.