Back in September the Conservative's released their much ballyhooed Clean Air Act. Meant to be the centre piece of their so called green plan, the proposed legislation was immediately panned by the media and opposition parties as a piece of industry friendly rhetoric that does nothing to combat global warming or improve air quality.
Today, that bill was sent back to parliament, drastically rewritten by a special committee to include short-term, mid-term and long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions; a commitment to a system of international emissions carbon trading; and penalties of $20 per ton for any company that exceeds their emissions target. Harper's rented mule has returned as a thoroughbred that will make substantial progress towards reducing greenhouse gases, holding industry accountable and addressing global warming.
The Conservative response? Hint at elections and release a new set of attack ads.
In a clear demonstration of their environmental leadership, next week the Conservatives will be unveiling their latest run of tabloids criticising Liberal leader Stephen Dion. Unfortunately for Harper and his cronies this is a tired ploy. After more than year in office its time for the Conservative's to demonstrate the environmental leadership they have been promising, and stop painting themselves as the policy victims of the previous government. Real leadership would be in passing the revised Clean Air Act that Harper himself sent to the parliamentary committee for revisions.
That committee has put forward a global warming plan that will create real change. And unless the Conservative ads are actually a set of secret announcements that the government will begin cutting greenhouse gases, Harper and company can boast to being no more than a collection of environmental obstructionists who are failing even to do better than the party they have spent 12 months criticising.
Will you be playing the role of pot or kettle Mr. Harper?