A good indicator of a man's character is the company he keeps. So DesmogBlog decided to have a closer look at the all-powerful staff in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Office.
We started at the top with Guy Giorno, who was appointed Chief of Staff when Ian Brodie had to slink out of the building in humiliation after he was caught leading information to the media that seriously impacted the U.S. nomination race between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton - part of the so-called NAFTA-gate.
Giorno is a Toronto-based lawyer, corporate lobbyist and chief of staff to then-Ontario premier Mike Harris during the so-called “common sense revolution”.
Giorno was also a vocal opponent of the Kyoto protocol – to the point that he was a key member of an anti-kyoto front group group called Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions (CCRES).
According to Source Watch, CCRES was set up by National Public Relations - Canada’s largest public relations firm - when Giorno worked for them.
National Public Relations is also the Canadian affiliate of the often controversial international firm Burson-Marsteller.
In classic Astroturf fashion, CCRES members are a who’s who of industries that would be affected by mandatory CO2 emission reductions. They include:
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Canadian Energy Pipeline Association
Petroleum Services Association of Canada
Propane Gas Association of Canada
Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors
Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association
Alberta Chamber of Resources
Alberta Chambers of Commerce
The Cement Association of Canada
Canadian Council of Chief Executives
Giorno organized a wine and shrimp fete in 2002 to allow CCRES members to lobby top-level Ontario cabinet ministers in an effort to oppose action on climate change.
The As Harper’s chief of staff, Giorno is now one of the most powerful people in the country, from which position it must be considerably easier to represent industries that are hostile to climate change regulation.
Keeping in mind the unfolding economic mess south of the border, it is also interesting that Giorno is an enthusiastic fan of the policies that have failed so miserably in the US.
Ten years after the disastrous reign of Mike Harris in Ontario, Giorno wrote in the National Post, “Despite the caterwauling about the severity of its agenda, the Harris government's spending cuts were too timid.”
Having lived in Ontario in 1990’s, I can assure you that statement is enough to make George Bush blush.