Yesterday, the editiorial board met with the candidates from Ottawa West-Nepean, including the Conservative incumbent, John Baird, former environment minister. We asked all the candidates about their parties' positions on a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions.No small matter. Just our national environmental policy being casually stickhandled by Baird there. Did you ever support cap and trade? Baird: "No." Then you check the record and uh, yeah, they did.
Baird said, categorically, that his government did not support cap-and-trade. (The video is here: watch for yourself. He starts talking about this topic at about the 49-minute mark.)
Baird: "Barack Obama has said the United States is not going to a cap and trade system, even when he had overwhelming majorities in the senate and the house they would not adopt any legislation on the cap and trade, not even for fossil fuel, electricity generation, etc. I think our approach is mirrored with what President Obama's doing. It's to use regulation, so we're not supporting a cap and trade system."
I asked him: "Just to make sure -- I think my memory might be faulty, but didn't your party use to support cap and trade?"
Baird: "We didn't support a hard cap. It was large final emitters, when I was, in the last election it was large final emitters but there was no hard cap. The strength of regulations would see absolute reductions but there was no hard cap."
Well, in the 2008 speech from the throne, the government said this: "We will work with the provincial governments and our partners to develop and implement a North America-wide cap and trade system for greenhouse gases and an effective international protocol for the post-2012 period."
And in a 2009 speech, environment minister Jim Prentice said, "Those who desire deeper and faster greenhouse gas emission reductions, at any and all cost, criticized our target and our decision to commence our regulatory regime with an intensity-based performance standard, rather than a so-called hard cap and trade regime. I emphasize commence because it has been our stated intent, from the outset, to eventually move to a hard cap and trade regime as we gained more experience, and in light of international developments. And so it has always been our intention to evolve from intensity-based targets to a cap and trade system and this is stated in the 2007 policy itself. "
Prentice went on to say, "Now whichever way forward is selected, it is our view that a key objective should be a common cap and trade system that would allay competitiveness concerns in both countries." And "This is where we think a bilateral agreement should begin, with shared targets and shared timetables, a common carbon market and a price and standards and mandates that are based on science and upon common sense."
Now would you trust them even if they told us what their plan is now, in their platform? They don't, for what it's worth. They're still mouthing about tagging along with the U.S. but they don't say anything about a plan for Canada, how they'll move to reduce GHGs for Canada.
Slippery, slippery. No trust. And if you can't trust what they say, when they're so easily exposed like this...
(Also: Dr Dawg)