Friday, November 05, 2010

Beyond the Prentice plaudits, the elephant in the room

My how we have fallen as a nation when our federal Environment Minister decides to pack it in because really, nothing will be doing on his file for the next two years. In the wake of the U.S. election, the change in control of the House of Representatives signals little to no action on climate change from the U.S.. Meaning that Harper's tied-to-the-U.S. environmental policy will similarly be stunted.
Privately, he had been telling people that he didn't expect to be very busy for the next two years.
In this era, that's remarkable. Is that what Canada wants? An environment portfolio that's not very busy?

While one can respect the sentiment that seems to be widespread about Prentice's conduct and decency, this resignation is shining a bright light once again on this government's environmental record. We're talking about it thanks to his resignation. That record includes obstinacy on the world stage and is widely believed to be one of the factors behind our Security Council loss.

And despite his playing a central role as Minister in contributing to a poor showing, Prentice seems to skate away, with leaks of his discontent with that environmental performance following him out the door. Skilled politically, as was how quiet he kept his departure, but he does bear his share of the responsibility as Minister.

Now we'll see Harper's perennial fave, John Baird, guest starring once again in the Environment Minister's role. With the next United Nations Climate Change Conference to take place starting at the end of this month, it's awfully short notice for a fill-in there. But I guess since we're unlikely to have much of a leadership role to play under this government, it probably doesn't matter. Baird is familiar with such events and how to handle them according to the Conservative playbook after all: