The Commons: Convictions without courage

The Conservatives want to withdraw from Kyoto. If only they would say so.


Fred Chartrand/Canadian Press

The Scene.“Kyoto is in the past,” Peter Kent intoned today at an announcement about something else. Not that he was confirming his government’s intention to withdraw from it. But not that he was denying it either. “This isn’t the day,” he explained.

Doing stuff is easy. It’s justifying the doing that’s hard. And so Mr. Kent is not yet ready to say for sure that the government is willing to do something about what it now only implies. The correct day for that is apparently scheduled to be a month from now, just before Christmas. But then someone who knew as much went and told the evening news. Only now Mr. Kent is insisting on pretending that didn’t happen. “I won?t comment on a speculative report,” he said this morning.

He will say that the previous Liberal government’s decision to commit to the protocol was “one of the biggest blunders they made.” And the Prime Minister did once dismiss the whole thing as a “socialist scheme.” And the Conservative platform in 2006 didn’t even mention it. And successive governments have now spent more than a decade successfully ignoring it. And the current government has said it won’t extend past next year its commitment to it. But let it not be said that the government is prepared to actually withdraw from it. At least not yet. At least not that Mr. Kent is willing to say.

Not that the government’s unwillingness to announce a decision stops the opposition from lamenting that decision.

“Mr. Speaker, Canadians are flabbergasted to find out the Conservatives want to break our solemn commitment on the Kyoto protocol,” Peter Julian ventured off the top this afternoon, his face scrunched up, his left arm pleading for reason. “Canada’s obligations under this agreement are legally binding. Canada’s obligations to fight climate change are morally binding. Canada’s obligations to future generations should be clear to all. How can the Conservatives justify abandoning Canada’s legal and moral obligations to fight climate change? How can they betray future generations so irresponsibly?”

The government side could not justify it. Or would not. Or some combination thereof. But the Industry Minister, leading the government cause this afternoon, had arrived with a few points his side wished to enter into the record. “Mr. Speaker, our government is balancing the need for a cleaner and healthier environment with protecting jobs and economic growth,” Christian Paradis explained. “We need an effective agreement. Effective means it must include large emitters. The Kyoto protocol does not include major emitters like China and the United States and therefore will not work.”

Not that its not working means the government is prepared to withdraw, but not that its not does not mean they might soon enough.

Megan Leslie was moved to mockery. “By withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, Canada is isolated from the rest of the world,” she ventured. “Conservatives prefer to play alone in their tar sandbox.”

Without a direct response to offer right now, Mr. Kent took the opportunity to practice his French. “Au contraire,” he declared. He ventured that a “good number” of countries were coming around to Canada’s position—though not the position to which Ms. Leslie was referring because that position has not yet been assumed (even if everyone now assumes it to be so).

Ms. Leslie returned the condescension in kind. “Au contraire,” she sighed. “That was not an answer. The truth is Conservative inaction on environment is killing Canadian jobs. Now they are trying to change the channel by re-announcing their failed clean air agenda. The irresponsible government is making us a laughingstock internationally. Why will Conservatives not come clean with the world, why will Conservatives not come clean with Canadians, and why will they not admit that Canada is pulling out of Kyoto?”

Mr. Kent took Ms. Leslie’s reference to re-announcing as an excuse to re-re-announce what he’d been trying to announce today before reporters insisted on asking him about what he might be announcing a month from now. “We will provide $600 million over the next five years in scientific research, monitoring, modelling, regulation, and enforcement required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other toxic pollutants,” he responded to a question that no one, not even one of his government’s dutiful backbenchers, had bothered to ask.

Bob Rae stood here and attempted to broker clarity. “Mr. Speaker, I am sure the government wants to be honest, straightforward and transparent, and that is what leads me to ask a very simple question,” he prefaced, but in fact he had four questions. “If it is the intention of the Government of Canada to renege on a treaty that was ratified by the Parliament of Canada, why would the Government of Canada not say so now? Why would it not just bring it forward for debate in Parliament now? Why not do it before it goes through the charade of participating in the conference in Durban? Why such a double standard?”

Mr. Paradis opted not to answer any of these, choosing instead to blame the previous Liberal governments for failing to live up to the protocol that Mr. Paradis’ government dismisses entirely (but remains technically obligated to). “The Kyoto protocol does not include major emitters, like China and the United States,” the minister repeated, “and therefore will not work.”

Not that that necessarily justifies withdrawing from it, but not that it might not.

The Stats. The environment, eight questions. The health care and the military, four questions each. Employment, firearms and infrastructure, three questions each. The economy, national security, crime, firearms and bilingualism, two questions each. Canadian Wheat Board, aboriginal affairs, immigration, transportation, Egypt and Lebanon, one question each.

Christian Paradis, seven answers. Peter Kent and John Baird, four answers. Denis Lebel, Candice Hoeppner and Leona Aglukkaq, three answers each. Rob Nicholson, Denis Lebel, Peter MacKay, Jim Flaherty and Ted Menzies, two answers each. Gerald Keddy, Gerry Ritz, John Duncan, Rick Dykstra and Diane Ablonczy, one answer each.


The Commons: Convictions without courage

  1. If Mr Kent isn’t going to do anything about the environment, then there is no further reason for his ministry to exist.

  2. It would be perfectly Grinch-like for the Cons to announce their withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol just before Christmas – and somehow very fitting, coming from this government.

    • KYOTO IS DEAD…..There I made the announcement and you did not have to wait for Christmas. Now move on and find another topic to b.tch about.

      • “KYOTO IS DEAD”

        You hoping to for a spot on the Sun News network? Are you LinkedIn with Ezra Levant? Tell us about “Ethical Asbestos”.

        • No…none of that. I just wanted to make sure my fellow commentator understood what is happening. He seemed to be wanting an official announcment and I thought I could assist :-)

          Of course then you really have to throw in something that is not analogous at all. Typical leftie.

          • “He seemed to be wanting an official announcment and I thought I could assist”

            So by this statement are you confirming that you are on the government payroll?

          • Far from it. Unfortunately I am just an ordinary senior citizen.

            However, the commentator was so desparate to hear that the government had officially pulled out of Kyoto I thought I would give him his answer as an early Xmas present. Anybody who can’t read the tea leaves needs all the help he can get.

        • SO if Kyotot is dead,how do you explain that France, Germany, Japan and the UK have all reduced their CO2 emissions by MORE than 20% compared to 1990 levels.  The ONLY signatory to Kyoto that increased CO@ emissions compared to their 1990 levels was Canada, but the Harper government’s inability to understand the science doesn’t make the accord dead.  . 

          • It’s easy when they don’t have our immigration levels, our climate, a growing resource sector and a pre-existing acceptance of high density low-space living.

            I’m not saying that we’re right not to reduce GHGs.  But the Europeans have it a lot easier than we do. I’ll believe that Canadians care about GHGs when most Canadians start favouring high-density condos over McMansion sub-divisions.

      • So, are you happy Kyoto is dead because it wasn’t working (i.e. it didn’t actually lower emissions) or because you don’t believe that global warming is happening?

        • I think there are things we can do to be more environmentally sustainable.However, I do not think that we single handledly make our own economy uncompetitive with the world economy and say look at us aren’t we great. Meanwhile the middle class is burdened with horrendous taxes and our economy goes in the shitter.
          If its true and the environmentalists say the science is clear (Iam not so sure) then it should be a concern for all the major emitters in the world i.e. U.S.  China, Brazil, India etc.
          Chretien did a real disservice to Canada by signing onto a vague agreement with substantially higher emission reductions despite the U.S. refusing to sign on. Harper has corrected that mistake.

          • The science is clear, but that is beside the point.  We definitely need buy-in from the major emitters.  I hope that’s the attitude our government is taking at Durban.  Chretien’s government certainly did us no favours on this front.

          • Durban will be the biggest failure of all of the climate summits. Say good-bye Kyoto.


      • I always figured you were a shameless shill for the Cons…didn’t realize you were on the payroll.

        Does that make you a troll?

        • Yup he’s a troll on the payroll the cons. Just like you’re a troll on the payroll of the libs.

          • Hollinm’s affiliation with the cons would be a surprise to nobody; my association with the libs would definitely be news to them, especially if I presumed to make announcements on their behalf, as hollinm is apparently now doing for the CPC.

        • No I am just an ordinary citizen. However, the anti Harper crowd on this board seem to have themselves tied in knots because the government is not making the announcement until just before Xmas. I was helping to aleviate their angst. That’s all.

          Funny how that works that whenever somebody talks in favour of the government either he is a troll or on the payroll.

          • Not “funny”, just a logical conclusion. I only suggested you were a troll because you were deigning to make announcements on their behalf. If you’re not comfortable with the inference, then maybe you shouldn’t act as their mouthpiece.

          • Maybe you shouldn’t be so arrogant and tell me what I should or should not be doing.

      • I agree Kyoto is dead.

        And next year hopefully the EUs corrupt carbon trading disaster ‘European Climate Exchange” will collapse like the Chicago Climate Exchange.


    • Is it Friday afternoon yet?

  3. Megan Leslie was moved to mockery. “By withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol, Canada is isolated from the rest of the world,” she ventured. “Conservatives prefer to play alone in their tar sandbox.”

    2 signators to Kyoto refuse to renew in 2012, US refuses to sign up at all,
    EU wobbling on Kyoto committment….
    The sandbox has some big players in it, Canada is not alone, but perhaps can be given credit for leading in the right direction,
    to actually reducing ghg’s instead of reducing other nation’s wealth by eco-scam.

    Nov 14, 2011
    Russia’s chief climate negotiator said the country will “never” sign up to extend the Kyoto Protocol for a second implementation period, casting further doubt on chances of a deal at the international climate conference in South Africa at the end of this month.Japan repeated its determination Friday not to join a new round of carbon emissions cut obligations under the Kyoto Protocol after the 2012 end of the current reduction period 

    • Kyoto is dead and the oilsands are going to be expanded to become the single largest fossil fuel deposit on earth.

      BTW, fossil fuels are now being found in huge quantities everywhere. If you thought the fossil fuel industry was gigantic up to now, it may be that all we’ve seen so far is the fossil fuel industry in its infancy.

      • I guess someone let Ezra off his leash for an hour or so? 

  4. News alert to Leslie – U.K. supports Canada on oilsands

    The EU must be just sick after having spent over $200 billion on carbon credits (CDM) with little to no reduction in CO2 emissions. 

    And all those green jobs that are being killed……..

    “Dutch fall out of love with windmills

    But five years later the green future looks a long way off. Faced with the need to cut its budget deficit, the Dutch government says offshore wind power is too expensive and that it cannot afford to subsidize the entire cost of 18 cents per kilowatt hour — some 4.5 billion euros last year.

    The government now plans to transfer the financial burden to households and industrial consumers in order to secure the funds for wind power and try to attract private sector investment.


  5. I know it has been proven that the Acid rain Agreement of 1991 has been effective in reducing the acidity of the waters in both Canada and US.

    I have not seen anything that shows the signatories to the Kyoto Agreement have caused the CO2 emissions to be reduced.

    • Well you see, countries would actually have to adhere to the protocol to do that.

      And obviously Mr Kent, who is even unaware of what the ozone layer is,  doesn’t intend doing so.

      • And thank God for Mr. Kent.

        • When all the bills start coming in, you won’t be thanking gawd for him, you’ll be damning him to hell.

  6. Anybody who takes Question Period seriously needs to have their heads read. I tape it and then fast forward through the crap…both opposition and government questions and answers. Its a farce. There is nothing to be gained by watching the charade.

    • Really so you don’t think they were saving the Kyoto News for just before a prorogation to avoid the scrutiny of our MP’s?

      • The fact is Kyoto has been dead since the Conservatives came to power in 06. You would have to be slow on the uptake not to realize that. Big deal the official announcement is being done on the government’s timing. There will be no prorogation. Its just a figment of your imagination as well as the opposition and media who have nothing else to talk about.

        • DId you have to wait for Ibbitson to post his piece of bootlick at the Globe and Mail for you to be “allowed to post”?

          Prorogue or not, why does a “strong, stable, conservative, majority need to hide the details of our internationaly binding agreements?

          Could it be that Canada has become a petrol state?

          • First of all I have not read Ibbitson’s column. I assume it is today’s. What’s to hide? If you did not know that Harper had no intention of participating in Kyoto since 2006 then you have not been living in Canada. So you won’t be happy until you see an announcement. How anti climatic. Its done, dead, finito.

            You better be damn happy we have oil and other natural resources. That is what is providing Canada with its standard of living and paying millions to so called have not provinces.

            It just boggles the mind to think that we can be so uppity and implement policies which make our businesses uncompetitive in the world economy and virtually wipe out the middle class with draconian taxes (real or hidden) and just ignore these facts.

            Can you imagine where our economy would be today if Dion had had an opportunity to implement the Green Shift.

          • “uppity”

            Huh. Would you describe yourself as arrogant? Condescending? Ignorant? All of the above?

            Amazing that you think we’re being “uppity” for supporting a policy which might not drive the economy above all else. Like we should kiss the ass of any business that turns a profit, and remember that business is more important than citizens.

            “implement policies which make our businesses uncompetitive in the world
            economy and virtually wipe out the middle class with draconian taxes
            (real or hidden)”

            Perhaps paranoid is the right description.

          • TJ Cook….call it what you will but I have a long way to go to catch up to you lefties when it comes to being uppity.

            You guys can’t take the facts.

            It is business that supplies the jobs which employ Canadians and give us our standard of living. You may hate corporate Canada but I am glad they hire Canadians to do the work so they can earn a paycheque. Like some I don’t expect the government to support me and my family.

  7. mmm… when liberals ignore kyoto that’s not getting the job done…when cons ignore kyoto [ after actively underminingit for a dozen years while in opposition and 5 years in power] that’s looking out for the economy.

    Orwell would know exactly what to call these clowns.

    • the Liberals signed the Kyoto accord, committing Canada to ghg reduction targets the Liberals made no effort to reach. all talk no action

      the Conservatives have ALWAYS considered Kyoto a socialist wealth redistribution scam that was never going to reduce ghg’s.
      So why, once in government, PMSH keep alive Chretien’s legacy, when even he didn’t try to?

      the Conservatives were right. 


      • And the Liberals were left.

  8. Kyoto was nothing but a con game to transfer jobs and wealth from developed Nations.

    I am proud Mr. Kent is calling this Kyoto charade for the ponzi scheme it always was.

    Consider this.

    Here are the facts on the accelerating CO2 emissions.
    Check the data in this bbc link.


    China is putting out 26.5% of the world’s total CO2 emissions.
    China is increasing emissions by 10%/year.
    Canada is putting out 1.5% of the world’s CO2 emmissions.
    China’s annual increase in emmissions is 150% of Canada’s total annual emmissions.

    To suggest Canada reduce its CO2 emmissions and transfer funds to China, while China continues this expansion of dirty industries and emmissions, with UN agreement, is outrageous.

    This is what the UN. GreenPeace and Kyoto advocate.

    If anything China should be transfering funds to Canada.

    As for that ridiculous argument that Canada has to pay China because of its’ past emmissions.
    In the last 10 years China’s total emmissions exceed Canada’s total for the last century.
    By this logic Canada should look to China for reparations.

    The earth’s atmosphere does not care how many people live in your country.
    It is the total emmissions into the atmosphere that count. Not the per capita emmissions.
    The “per capita emmission” argument is a technicality used to allow over populated countries like China to continue expanding their dirty industries and continue increasing pollution.

    Time to end this charade and attempt to rob the west.

    Kyoto begone…..

    • Why yes,that makes perfect sense rrain.

      Our Industrial Age began in 1750.  China’s began around 1990.

      We started studying climate change a century ago, this is not a new science…and if you’d been in England when they were using coal you’d know why.  You couldn’t see across the street.

      But we merrily went on our way believing that tossing tonnes of C02 into the air everyday wouldn’t make any difference to our atmosphere.  Maybe we thought it would go into endless space.

      All this time later, after literally setting rivers on fire with our pollution, we know better.

      Yet here you have it worked out in your mind that somehow this is a Chinese plot, and that we are supposed to pay them money when nobody has ever said that. And that this is somehow connected to socialism or communism….when Mao didn’t even come to power until after WWII, and he wasn’t big on capitalist factories anyway. He was agrarian.

      But now you think somehow that the Chinese owe us ‘reparations’, for 20 years of doing what we’ve been doing for 2 1/2 centuries all over the west.

      Like I said….perfect sense. 

      ‘Rolls eyes’.

      • Hmm, you know what, I like the idea of China paying us reparations for all of their filthy coal fired pollution. They should pay us in advance for the gazillions of tons of carbon they are going to release over the next 100 years, far more than we have released over the last 200. Besides, we have so many trees in canada, if you consider the carbon consumption by our trees over last 200 years we might already be carbon neutral, we might even be carbon negative.

        I’m liking this ‘China should pay us’ idea. Thanks rrain!

        • How do we plan to stop China putting out all that pollution? By arguing we wont lift a finger until they do – sure that’ll work genius; and just how do you plan to make them pay us reparations – should we sue them? Or set a better example and shame them. All Harper’s managed to accomplish so far is to shame us.

        • Whatever you’re smoking….put it down.

          You are delerious.

  9. The problem with Kyoto is not that its onerous on Canada.  Any serious agreement would be.  The problem is that it effectively penalizes us for being a northern country with a resource based economy.

    The Liberals signed the deal without really considering all the ramifications (like the resource economy taking off).  And then ignored the deal when it became obvious that compliance would probably cost tens or even hundreds of billions over the coming decades and entail significantly lifestyle changes.

    The problem I have with the Conservatives, is not that they have an issue with Kyoto (which was a horrible deal for Canada), it’s that they don’t take climate change seriously.  But sadly, neither do most Canadians. 

    How many Canadians are willing to live in smaller homes, take public transit, eat less meat and pay more for gasoline?  All those things are needed for Canada to make any real dent in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.  And I have seen no evidence among most of my family and friends, for any real desire to make real changes.  They all say they care about global warming and climate change though.  Sadly, the Conservatives may not actually be outline with true public opinion on this one.

    • I cannot disagree with what you said. However, we are being naive to think that we can change from fossil fuels to green energy without significant hardship.

      Canadians are struggling to maintain their standard of living as recent stats have shown that their after tax income is not keeping pace even with inflation. So to expect them to grab on to the environment and embrace reducing their standard of living even further is not realistic.

      We are living in the 21st century. Windmills and solar panels are not going to do it in Canada nor electric cars which will gobble up power and reduce much of the savings.

      I am afraid those that are advocating the environment are living in a fantasy world where it would be nice but it ain’t going to happen.

      Harper has known this since he came to power in 06 and despite the pressure he has stuck to his guns. The Libs should be embarassed even talking about the environment.

  10. We are all downwind of one another, as what goes around comes around. 25% of LA’s air pollution comes from the Asian Brown Cloud, as California and the mid US share the same latitude and fall on the same path of the prevailing winds.

    The same goes for our oceans, as currents carry to great distances the effluent of one another. In some cases, it accumulates in large patches, like the plastic garbage patch the size of Texas in the South Pacific gyre .

    Fossil fuels, their exploitation, combustion and transformations are the scourge of this planet. They have served us too well, but now we need to accept that the time to shift away from these sources to ones that are sustainable, is now. We will likely always have oil in use but should seriously curtail its need.

    When I can afford to put up solar panels and a wind turbine in my yard, I will be off the grid and self-sufficient for energy. The affordability of this is soon here and the more governments encourage it, the more jobs will be created. 

    The direction in the future needs be a micro approach to energy rather than macro with large powerplants

    With now 7 billion people on this planet, should we continue in the present, we will likely self-destruct. I fear that I can already begin to hear the canary singing.

    To me, it’s about our health with clean water to drink and air to breathe, the essence of life.

    It’s also about the health of the planet. No doubt that rising temperatures are affecting our climate and our industries poisoning our natural environment, killing many species to date.

    Why can’t the proponents of the tar sands not realize the extent that they will have poisoned the Athabasca river and everyhing down stream to the Arctic ocean as well as the acid rain moving eastward through our boreal forests and lakes?
    Why can’t Canada lead the world to a sustainable vision of the future?

    • Why can’t Canada lead the world to a sustainable vision of the future?

      Because it will bankrupt all of us. I have not idea whether what you said is accurate or not.

      However, when you see Obama lose $500 million in a solar panel company that tells you all you need to know about the feasability of the green economy.

      When you hear people talk about the noise of wind turbines in their backyard and they are making them sick it has to tell you a lot. When you see the potential of electric cars which would result in us driving cars about the size of tin cans you know about the future of the green technolgy.

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