Led by the new gas-guzzling black SUVs in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motorcade, the federal government nearly doubled the amount it spent on sport-utility vehicles during the first full year of the Conservative government.
Documents show that government spending on SUVs purchased through Public Works and Government Services Canada reached more than $31 million in 2006-07.
Even as the government offers rebates to encourage Canadians to drive more fuel-efficient cars, Public Works ordered 844 new sport-utilities last year, a large leap from the 500 purchased the year before and the 366 in 2004-05, the last full fiscal year under a Liberal government.
Public works spokesperson Lucie Brosseau attempts to put lipstick on the pig:
She said more than one-third of the SUVs purchased had gas-electric hybrid engines, which cost more, but offer improved fuel efficiency over conventional SUVs. The department now purchases only "greener" passenger vehicles and mini-vans, except for law enforcement or security uses, Ms. Brosseau said.
One-third? Why not every vehicle, was there a study that showed hybrid's don't perform well during border patrols? In reality, there is no logical reason to explain why the government has not only failed to go "green', but has more than doubled its fleet of gas guzzlers. Seems to me, if you are "modernizing" the fleet, you should use the latest technology. In other words, a perfect opportunity to purchase more fuel-efficent vehicles and send a clear message to Canadians.
In the grand scheme, a few government vehicles are a miniscule part of the equation. However, in terms of symbolism and messaging, the government's apparent lack of commitment contradicts much of the rhetoric (how surprising). Flaherty tells us to buy fuel efficient cars, offers rebates, while the government simultaneously moves in the other direction, puking out carbon at an unprecedented rate. And, these people wonder why nobody buys their commitment to dealing with climate change.