From the 1st Pacific Economic Summit: Green Governor and “Liars”
California’s Arnold Schwarzenneger, already dubbed by media ‘the green governor,’ is in Vancouver on 31 May 2007 for meetings with Mayor Sam Sullivan and BC Premier Gordon Campbell. The environment has arrived, and is now a very real element in bilateral if not international relations.
Schwarzenneger’s meeting with Campbell is likely to place environmental issues atop the agenda, as both leaders have indicated the topic must be accorded the highest priority. The ex-Terminator is saying his intention is to announce at least a few climate-friendly initiatives which shall almost certainly receive Campbell’s endorsement. For his own part, the BC Premier has gone on record numerous times with his own various pledges. The Premier, who has grown into a vocal advocate of alternate fuels, promises that by the 2010 Olympics Vancouver and Whistler Village will be linked up by a “hydrogen highway.”
Schwarzenneger also observed that politicians must be held accountable for their environmental promises. The surest way to find out if a public figure is a “liar,” he noted, is to catch him or her saying they are doing all that can be done for the environment. It is a “good thing” for politicians to want to do more and more for the environment, and it is “good” for the public to make more and more demands, added the governor [Schwarzenneger’s remarks reported by CKNW Radio News, 31 May 2007].
But what must Ottawa be thinking about all this? He is not Minister of Development. Nor is he Industry Minister, though perhaps some members of the public may be excused for believing he is. Rather, John Baird is Tory Environment Minister. Just this past month he attacked the Kyoto Treaty, arguing that if serious effort were made in meeting all targets, the price of gasoline could spike so high an economic meltdown so severe would result, that no one could live with that eventuality. Then on 30 May 2007 Baird again made headlines when in committee he described the Ontario Premier’s green plans as a cynical vote-getting ploy: “Federal Environment Minister John Baird accused Ontario [Liberal] Premier Dalton McGuinty of dishonesty in order to ‘get votes’ when he promised to shut down the province's coal-fired electricity plants... ‘This is a perfect example of another Liberal making a promise on greenhouse gases and on reducing smog and pollution that you can't deliver,’ said the environment minister. ‘We're not going to tell people what they want to hear to get votes’” [cited in Allan Woods’ ‘Baird Attacks McGuinty Promises,’ The Toronto Star
, 30 May 2007. Story posted at http://www.thestar.com/News/article/219247
Just yesterday PM Harper agreed to a photo-op with a lowly governor, but one with a pedigree in film superstardom. So undoubtedly there was going to be commentary about chemistry, and some observers found things going on. For his part, Harper cultivates the image of one strongly believing that all environmentalists cling to the pedigree of destructive, radical tree-huggers. The PM “is an economist who frets about the fiscal impact on industry of change not directly driven by the marketplace.” And so their photo-op pairing reveals a most “Odd Couple”: “What do an extroverted, muscular California politician and a slightly flabby, straight-laced Canadian prime minister have in common? Not a lot” [quotes from Barbara Yaffe’s ‘Harper and Schwarzenneger an Environmental Odd Couple,’ CanWest News Service, 31 May 2007. Story published by the Vancouver Sun
and posted at http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=5460c5d4-179c-4cd1-ba36-b38ef375776f
Posted by Stan Markotich
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