Jim Prentice

Sat, 2012-09-29 15:15Carol Linnitt
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Death in the Woods: Canadian Federal Government Delays Release of Caribou Recovery Strategy - Again

This post is a part of DeSmog's investigative series: Cry Wolf.

Yesterday, the Canadian government told the nation's federal court that it will not release its long-awaited Woodland Caribou Recovery Strategy. The Recovery Strategy, already 5 years overdue, represents conservationists' strongest measure of defense for dwindling caribou populations in Alberta that suffer increasing habitat loss from industrial development and intensive tar sands expansion.
 
The outlook for caribou in Alberta is grim, especially as they find themselves in a stand off against industrial giants backed by a federal government in favor of increasing tar sands and other industrial activity. Habitat disruption is a crucial issue for caribou who need large buffered areas of old growth forest to survive. The majority of Alberta's 12 caribou herds currently struggle with low calf survival - an issue directly related to disturbed habitat.
 
The Canadian and Albertan governments have historically hesitated to take meaningful measures to protect Alberta's caribou herds because such measures would not only advertise the deleterious effects of tar sands development on local wildlife and their habitat, but would require setting aside protected areas made unavailable for oil and gas development.
Mon, 2011-01-31 12:21TJ Scolnick
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Why Wait For The US? Report Recommends Unilateral Canadian Action On Climate Change

Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE), a panel composed mainly of government appointees from industry and former Conservative politicians, has released a new report assessing whether Canada should “lead, lag, or harmonize” climate policies with the US, and the consequences of doing so.

In recent years, the Canadian federal government has opposed unilaterally acting on climate change, instead committing to harmonize greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions with the US in a continental approach. This has been a favourite position for Canadian Environmental Ministers wishing to postpone acting on climate change for fear of locking Canada into GHG emissions reductions, and notably for Jim Prentice who quit as Environment Minister late last year:

“Our determination to harmonize our climate change policy with that of the United States also extends beyond greenhouse gas emission targets: we need to proceed even further in aligning our regulations.”

“We will only adopt a cap-and-trade regime if the United States signals that it wants to do the same. Our position on harmonization applies equally to regulation…Canada can go down either road — cap-and-trade or regulation — but we will go down neither road alone.”

Thu, 2011-01-06 15:19Emma Pullman
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Minister of Environmental Destruction Says He Will Not Let Emissions Rules Hamper Tar Sands Development

Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent is off to a great start convincing Canadians that he is concerned about the environment.  After just than two days in office, he has already tried to persuade Canadians that Alberta’s filthy tar sands oil are “ethical oil” and unworthy of the negative reputation that countless citizens, politicians, and environmental organizations have given them.  Today, he’s promising that the Harper government will not impose any greenhouse gas reductions on the oil patch that will discourage investment. 

Curbing regulation in favour of profits doesn’t really sound like the work of the Minister of the Environment.  This suggests, rather troublingly, that the profits of the oil and gas sector, and in particular Alberta’s tar sands, are more important to the Harper government than their environmental impact.  Let’s get something clear: is Kent the Minister of Environment, or the Minister of Environmental Destruction? And who is he working for? Corporate interests, or Canadians?

Thu, 2011-01-06 11:00Emma Pullman
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Canada's New Environment Minister Promises More of the Same: Climate Inaction and Disappointment

Another day, another Minister of the Environment, it seems.  On Tuesday, Harper’s mini-shuffle installed Peter Kent, a former journalist with the CBC and Conservative MP from Thornhill to the post.  What could embody the lack of leadership on the climate any more clearly than the fact that Kent is the fifth to hold the position in five years?

Kent’s appointement comes at a time when Canada’s reputation on fighting climate change is in the toilet. Ottawa’s watered-down leadership on the environment, well, stinks.  Already commentators and opposition leaders are openly concerned that Kent will do little more than his predecessors. Well, unless you count political spin as action. 

Fri, 2010-02-12 10:10Richard Littlemore
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China Condemns "Conniving" Canadians

Canada’s (Trash-the-)Environment Minister Prentice Denies Charge

The Guardian has turned up a leaked document from a Chinese think tank that condemns Canada for being “devoted to conniving” at the international climate conference in Copenhagen last December.

According to The Guardian, the Chinese text says that Canada spent the conference trying, “to convince the world that its pledge of a 3% emissions reduction between 1990 and 2020 is significant, while having no intention of meeting its Kyoto protocol target of 6%.”

Canada’s “Environment” Minister Jim Prentice took issue with that characterization:

“Canada has always been completely open, completely transparent and we have been constructive,” Prentice told Canwest News Service. “We have not been conniving.”

That said, Canada has indeed abandoned its Kyoto commitments and recent reports suggest that it has no plan to reach the 3% target (20% below 2006) that it has been promising more recently.

Mon, 2009-12-14 11:18Richard Littlemore
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US Secretary Chu Embarrassed to be Seen with a Canadian?

Update: Some several hours after the Star filed the story referenced below, Environment Minister Prentice’s office sent a copy of the photo to the left. Note there is absolutely no evidence that Secretary Chu is there under duress. (But the photo is not of sufficient quality to tell whether they have been photo shopped into the same room.) (Kidding. We’re kidding.)

U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu stiffed Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice today, refusing to help him “change the story” from the embarrassing spoof press release alleging that Canada was going to take a responsible position on greenhouse gas emissions.

The Toronto Star reports here that Prentice’s staff was desperate to get a photo op with the Energy Secretary, but that Nobel Laureate Chu has higher standards.

Serves Prentice right on a couple of counts, one of which is that he used this alleged media availability” as an excuse to cut short an earlier news conference. He said he would be “available” again later, but didn’t mention that he would only be available to shutter bugs, not to anyone who actually wanted to ask him a question.

Sat, 2009-12-12 11:20Richard Littlemore
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Everyone loves Canadians; it's Canada they hate

After 6-minute press conference: no wonder

Canada has, in certain circles, been getting a lot of respect hereabouts. UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer was quoted this week praising Canada for working “very constructively” during the talks and a Danish negotiator (to remain nameless) was positively fullsome on the level of ambition and quality of the contribution that individual Canadians have been making to the process.

Yet Canada is consistently derided by Environmental NGO’s monitoring the talks and it is a clear leader in the Fossil of the Day awards given to the country most guilty of obstructing the likelihood of a fair, ambitious and binding agreement.

A hint as to the reason for this apparent contradiction arrived today in the form of Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice. In a late-in-the-day press briefing COP 15 President Connie Hedegaard celebrated the early arrival of ministers from around the world, saying that, as the ministers arrive, so does the good will. Prentice may mark the exception.

Sun, 2009-12-06 09:06Richard Littlemore
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Apologies for Canadian Environment Minister Prentice

As the editor of a blog that works to achieve appeal beyond the borders of Canada, I must apologize everyone else for our Canadian obsession.

Even more, however, I have to apologize for the obstructionist and embarrassing approach of the Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice. There was a brief respite from this action yesterday, when the Minister said that irrespective of the debatable contents of the stolen email, Canada would still struggle to take a responsible position in Copenhagen.

Overlooked, however, was the story in which Prentice said he was just kidding:

“There’s always a lot of hype and drama that gets built into this sort of international event, much of it intended to force the hand of participants,” Mr. Prentice said in a speech to Montreal business leaders on Friday. “We aren’t going to buy into that. We are not going to panic. We are confident about the actions we are taking on the domestic and the continental fronts.”

Sat, 2009-12-05 14:47Richard Littlemore
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Canadian Environment Minister Dismisses Stolen Emails

“It does not change the position of Canada”

Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice told the National Post that the emails stolen from the University of East Anglia would not change the position that Canada is taking to the COP15 climate conference in Copenhagen this week.

“The science overall is relatively clear on all of this and as a conservationist and as a responsible environmental steward Canada wants to see carbon emissions reduced,” Prentice said.

Prentice and the Canadian government have been winning criticism lately for being neither preservationist nor environmentally responsible in the position that it brings to the climate conference. Canada has abrogated its Kyoto commitment, nominated an inadequate target for emission reductions and made no public plan to meet even that disappointing goal.

The minister also seems to show his hand in saying that the science behind climate change is only “relatively” clear - leaving the door ajar for those who continue to argue the contrary case.

But it has to be an optimistic sign that he would not choose, at this juncture, to use the emails as an excuse for Canada’s intransigence. You might even hope it presages a new and more responsible international position.

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