What do separatist leader Gilles Duceppe and Newfoundland Conservative Premier Danny Williams have in common? They both think Harper is unqualified to be Prime Minster due to his pitiful record on climate change.
It’s not often that a prominent Newfoundlander and a Quebec separatist have much to agree on, but it’s part of a growing movement within Canada to vote for the environment by voting against Harper.
In Toronto last week, Danny was delivering his “Anything But Conservative” (ABC) message to the heart of the business community at the Economic Club of Toronto.
“Over the last month, I have cautioned the Canadian people about the trustworthiness of this government, and their propensity to provide misleading and inaccurate information to further their own interests,” Williams said…[climate change activist] Gore last week described the federal Conservatives' environment plan as a “complete and total fraud … designed to mislead the Canadian people.”
The same day, Gilles Duceppe was trashing the Tories non-record on combating climate change:
“In refusing to take measures to combat climate change, the Harper government carries a heavy responsibility and will carry a heavy responsibility toward future generations.”
Duceppe was speaking at from the scenic north shore of the St Lawrence where climate-related erosion is already severely impacting the scenic coastline.
“Stephen Harper has already qualified the Kyoto protocol as a socialist plot and he has long chosen to protect the oil industry rather than the environment,” he said.
It is not often that an anglophone premier and a separatist leader are found pulling in the same direction. In fact, Harper is accomplishing what few federal leaders ever done – uniting French and English Canada towards a common purpose: defeating Stephen Harper.
This is part of a remarkable asymmetry developing around the politics of climate change. On one side, every national opposition political party has credible plans to combat climate change.
On the other side are Harper’s Conservatives - remarkable in that their name implies it is somehow “conservative” to proceed with an uncontrolled experiment with the planet’s atmosphere against the advice of the entire scientific community.
Harper is so isolated on this issue that he is now less progressive than even the US Republicans. Even John McCain is pledging a mandatory cap and trade system that will limit carbon to 60% below 1990 levels by 2050.
Harper’s woefully inadequate plan relies instead on “intensity” targets and involves neither cap and trade or a carbon tax. It is like trying to enforce the speed limit with neither fines or traffic cops.
If Harper is the next Prime Minister - regardless of who wins the US presidential election - Canada truly will have the worst record in the developed world on the most important issue of our times.
Likewise, any other political party in Canada is far more qualified to tackle climate change than Harper’s Conservatives.
No wonder such strange bedfellows as Gilles Duceppe and Danny Williams find themselves shacking up.