("Welcome?) Revisionism Among Canadian Conservatives

There appears to be a rash of forgetfulness breaking out in the Canadian Conservative Party as Tories from the top down begin acknowledging (or stop denying) the truth of climate change.

The most important example is that of Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself. Harper is not just acknowledging climate change as a serious issue (as we reported on Wednesday), now he's trying to say that this has been his position all along. Harper told CBC's Don Newman this week:

“I think my criticism was principally that the (Kyoto climate-change accord) targets were unreachable, Canada had taken on the most onerous targets in the world; I saw no evidence that there was a plan to meet them. … If anything in the last four or five years, the evidence has strengthened that we have to take real and substantive action.”

He did not go on to explain how that can be reconciled with his previous comments (eg., “The science is still evolving” or “It's a scientific hypothesis, a controversial one….”) or with his ongoing policy of cutting all climate change remediation efforts from Canadian government spending.

The other current instance of revisionism comes from Public Safety Minister and creationist Stockwell Day, who deleted from his website some embarrassing musings about climate change that he had posted earlier this month.

This is incredibly encouraging. It now appears that both leading Canadian political parties are repudiating their previous shameful performances in addressing this issue. Let's just hope that one of the two has the courage and the political support to begin implementing sensible climate change policy in 2007.


Let’s see, how did that go again… /// quote

Climate-change “skeptics” hopeful Harper accepts their view.

Peter O’Neil, CanWest News Service; Vancouver Sun. Published: Monday, October 16, 2006.

OTTAWA - Canada’s top climate-change ”skeptics” say they’re encouraged by a recent statement raising questions about global-warming science by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose government will table this week legislation to reduce smog and the greenhouse gasses that cause global warming.

But groups such as the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute, which has received research funding from U.S. energy giant ExxonMobile Corp., say it’s too soon to know if the Harper government will accept their view that the dangers of climate change are grossly exaggerated.

Harper, in a recent French-language interview with Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, raised doubts about global climate-change research.

“It’s a complicated subject that is evolving,” he said. “We have difficulties in predicting the weather in one week or even tomorrow. Imagine in a few decades.”

Harper’s statement is at odds with the conclusions of the United Nations, which says science clearly shows warming will lead to ‘frequently flooded coastlines, disruption to food and water supplies, and the extinction of many species.”

But it is remarkably similar to the line used by Dr. Tim Ball, a Victoria-based retired climatologist, who has regularly briefed Tory MPs and party members.

“Environment Canada can’t even predict the weather,” Ball said at one June meeting on Vancouver Island. “How can you tell me that they have any idea what it’s going to be like 100 years from now if they can’t tell me what the weather is going to be like in four months, or even next week?”

Ball was speaking at the time on behalf of Calgary-based Friends of Science, a group partly funded by the energy sector. end quote ////

I had lost the link on that story. Fortunately, Harper seems to have lost the link, too. Let's hope he is more serious about the position that he is taking this week.