"She has publicly said Canada will not engage in post-2012 commitments until after Canada has developed a new plan," Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute said in an interview.
Government officials say such a plan is at least a year away, which is unacceptable given the urgent need to take action, Bramley believes. "There are no mysteries about how to reduce emissions," he said. "It's been studied to death all around the world. There's no excuse to waste time dreaming up a new plan."
Earlier this month, a coalition of environmental groups sent the government a list of programs that could be put into place immediately. These include incentives for energy efficiency, wind power and other renewable energy technologies and regulating industrial greenhouse gas emissions.
There is some public pressure on the issue, since a large majority of Canadians and their elected representatives support Kyoto and the need for emissions cuts.
"It's like being back in the early 1990s when we were begging politicians to do something about climate change," said Bennett.
At "least a year away" translates into a big nothing for a minority government, with a limited life span. The fact that the Conservatives plan to put off action on emissions until after the next election should serve as a warning sign to Canadians. All this government will be able to present to Canadians are cutbacks, withdrawals from commitments and Bush-like rhetoric.
Of all the issues on the horizon, the Conservatives backward attitude on emissions serves as the most glaring weakness to be exploited. It is imperative that the Liberal Party finds a way to seriously champion the environment through the leadership process. Canadians are ripe for bold ideas and Harper's complete inaction will serve as a massive failure. The Liberals need a "vision" and our environment desperately needs a caretaker. Perfect fit, with the added bonus of exposing the Harper government's inaction, unless of course parroting the Bush approach is considered policy.
It looks like the Tories are aware they have a weak spot heading into the next election. Prediction, alot of fluff, little substance.