Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Who Should Rewrite Clean Air Act?

I got up this morning and wondered who had left the light on. When I cleared the sleep out of my eyes, I saw it wasn't artificial light, it was the sun beaming happiness and warmth into the room, lighting up my house for the first time in many days. Of all the things we have done to our planet, turning down the sun's high beam is the one that saddens me the most. Canada's winters may have been cold, but they were bright. And our cars sitting out there amongst the snow drifts were always warm from the sun baking their roofs. No more.

I don't know why Canadians slept through the Chretien government's speak-fine-do-nothing approach to the environment, but the Conservatives must've thought our complacence meant that they could finesse that approach and get away with it. Else why the joke of an environmental plan? Like the Liberals, they too said fine words, words of action, words to make a difference and to make Kyoto irrelevant by the boldness of their action. What we got were the Liberals' old plan spelled out. The Liberals were craftier in not actually putting down to paper what they were going to do (or rather not going to do) or at least in a way anyone was going to hold them to account and take notice. And so when The Toronto Star in a recent editorial on November 16th called for all opposition parties to band together and rewrite the Conservative government's Clean Air Act, I choked on my oatmeal. The Liberals have zero credibility on this issue. They don't have a leader. They've proven to be actionless in all areas of governing since 1993, when their only real action was to get rid of the deficit. They are incapable of constructing a Clean Air Act that will truly help Canada and her citizens breathe easily again and once again see the sun. They will only hinder the NDP in their efforts.

Let Jack Layton lead the charge, I say. I always viewed that man with derision until he was banished into the political wilderness and returned a changed man, one more practical, less ideological. Hopefully with Elizabeth May bringing a higher profile to the Green Party, he could have the smarts to confer with her on a plan. But that would work better only if they had an MP in the house; Garth Turner lost that opportunity of doing to the Conservatives what the Reform Party did to them by joining the Green Party, giving them that one seat in the House. All the party needs is a foot in the door, and they too can take off. But I digress.

As long as the Green Party, the only party one knows means it when they say they will make changes to help our environment, we must rely on the NDP. The Liberals are the Gliberals. And the BQ, in my mind, do not work for our country, being a Quebec-only party.

2 comments:

Mark Dowling said...

If buzz hargrove wasn't persona non grata in the ndp these days and Elizabeth May hadn't brought a bigger GP profile (especially if she does well in London) I think Jack wouldn't run too far towards the environment - especially as with the possible exception of Honda (who I don't think are unionised anyway) Canada's auto industry doesn't really build very economical cars, tending more to SUVs, vans and sports cars.

talk talk talk said...

Even though Layton comes from Toronto, I thought the national NDP party was more rural in focus, having blossomed from the old CCF party with its roots in Saskatchewan. (Mind you Saskatchewan is pretty high up on the polluting list.) But you raise a good point. Auto workers, just like Liberals, are not interested in doing things like slapping a hefty fee on SUVs for the privilege of driving into London UK while allowing hybrids and electric cars in for free. This situation goes to show what a pragmatist Layton has become.