Monday, December 07, 2009

Spin for free

Here it is, the message the Harper people would like you to hear going into Copenhagen: "Harper will push for binding deal at Copenhagen, aides say." That's the rather remarkable headline, based on Harper's surprising and atypical rhetoric over the weekend and that of his advisers whispering in the background. In other words, could be a lot of hot air:
"The world needs a climate-change deal," Harper said in Shanghai on the weekend during his visit to China.

"The world wants a climate-change deal, so I will remain very optimistic that everybody's moving in the right direction and something will come together in Copenhagen. It may not be everything that everybody wants, but it's important that we make progress."
"We have to have a deal. We can't just keep putting it off to the next summit," one of his closest advisers said.
And for good measure, one of Harper's "closest advisers" throws in with the hacking email thieves:
"One or two scientists fudging data doesn't mean the problem doesn't exist. It's real," said one of Harper's closest advisers.
See how he has it both ways there?

So what's going on here? Of course, none of this sudden burst of environmental talking point enthusiasm squares with the Harper record, which gets a brief mention:
The Harper government rejected the Kyoto Protocol and, despite promises to do so since being elected in 2006, has yet to implement regulations to force Canadian polluters to cut greenhouse gases.
For almost four years, Harper has been sitting on his hands and leaving everyone hanging, from businesses who want certainty in order to act, to the Canadian people who want action. The Harper record doesn't bespeak a government impressed with the need for a climate-change deal at all. So who can blame a person for being skeptical about Mr. Harper's sudden rhetoric?

It sounds very much like they've made a political calculation now about the likelihood of a deal being made and they're hedging their bets. If there's a deal, such posturing allows them to minimize the laggard image and go along for the ride. If there's no deal, they sound like they tried.

Update: More here on the Harper record, despite the happy face rhetoric above.