Cold Hard Wonk

No sentiment but politics

The World Needs More Hypocrisy

Posted by JJ in Federal Elections, Doubletake/Doubletalk, Gaia (Thursday December 8, 2005 at 12:54 am)

Canada remains, of course, a shining beacon to the world. Or, at least, that’s what its current foreign policy position seems to be.

Which, the frozen wonk surmises, is why Paul Martin is busy telling other countries that they need to meet Kyoto standards. Indeed, he went so far as to rely on that old standby of Canadian politics: badmouthing the United States.

The problem being, of course, that Canada lags the United States in meeting those standards, despite the fact that Canada, unlike the US, is a ratified party to the international agreement. Under the agreement, Canada is required to reduce its emissions by 20% from 1990 levels by 2008. Instead, Canadian emissions have risen by 24%.

Prime Minister Martin says that the “now is the time to listen [to global conscience]” and take action. Yes, Prime Minister, but it’s been time for fifteen years, and you’ve been on the watch for twelve.

The plan thus far, including spending of $3.7 Billion between 2000 and 2003, hasn’t reduced emissions. The problem is the usual one with taking the easy way out in politics. Money and spending are easy to announce, and the usual assumption is that the size of the budget must have something to do with the success of the program.

The problem, as usual, is obvious. A program which offers spending but provides no concrete enforcement mechanisms for achieving its goals is worse than worthless — it’s a waste of money from the get-go. The NDP are proposing a goal-oriented series of Acts, but there isn’t much information to go by. The Green Party’s offerings are, surprisingly, even less detailed. The Torys, perhaps in homage to Alberta’s known opposition to the Kyoto protocol, have nothing on offer.

What to choose? NDP seems best. Goals are the only way to accomplishment, and no one else is really offering them. Whether those goals will succeed is, admittedly, an open question. The only certain thing is that the Liberals’ plan’s been costing money for 5 years without accomplishing anything, and they’re promising more of the same.

Which consists, apparently, of campaign grandstanding, by way of hypocrisy on the international stage. Small wonder the highly-regarded international publication, The Economist, rates our government poorly even as our economy forges ahead.

But hey, who cares what the world thinks of us? Or, for that matter, what we do to it?

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