Is Harper committed to the Copenhagen targets?

Elizabeth May wants to know
Green Party leader Elizabeth May speaks in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa June 2, 2011. REUTERS/Chris Wattie (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR2N7VP

Elizabeth May would like to know the answer to that question.

Here she is asking two weeks ago. Here she is asking last week. Here is she asking again on Monday.

You will note that in none of those instances do her questions receive a straight answer—the Prime Minister, the Environment Minister and the parliamentary secretary to the Environment Minister each basically avoiding the question.

That’s curious enough. But it is perhaps all the more curious when you know the government is otherwise willing to answer the question.

After Ms. May’s question last week, I contacted Leona Aglukkaq’s office and asked, Does the government still intend to meet its 2020 GHG emission reduction targets under the Copenhagen accord?

The initial response from Ms. Aglukkaq’s director of communications was similar to what Ms. May had received.

The government remains committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and is doing so in a way that grows the economy. We will continue to work on getting our emissions down and we will do so without the Liberal and NDP carbon tax, which would raise the price of everything.

I responded that I did not read this as a straight answer and that thus might this lead one to believe that the government was no longer intent on meeting its GHG targets under the Copenhagen accord. Along came a new response to my question about the government’s commitment.

Absolutely, we are committed.

That was last Friday. I got distracted by other work and didn’t get a chance to post anything. On Monday, Ms. May stood up in the House and asked her question again, again failing to receive a direct response.

Today, just to be sure, I followed up: Does the government intend to fulfill its commitment? The response was perfectly simple.


Is there any reason the government wouldn’t want a minister to be seen and heard being so straightforward in public or have we reached the point at which our politicians are incapable of engaging in a coherent exchange of human communication?

Either way, there is your answer, Ms. May. Of course, if her asking the question was intended to encourage a member of the press gallery to ask the question, then I guess I’ve been successfully manipulated.

Whether the Harper government will be able to meet its Copenhagen targets remains an open question. And the government’s current rhetoric requires some parsing.