The poisonous combination of economic woes, the juvenile governance of the newly renamed “Harper Government”™, and the complete abrogation of meaningful responsibilities by Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition has done real damage to Canada. One of the places where this is most obvious is a subject which almost nobody in Canadian politics seems to be seriously talking about anymore: climate change. Remember climate change? A few years ago the country was so upset at Harper’s attempted turfing of the issue that he was forced to make some symbolic half-measures of restitution. Now, nada. Never a real leader on the issue, Canada has slipped far behind Europe. Oh, our government knows climate change is happening. They wouldn’t be spending billions of dollars buying military toys for the Arctic if they didn’t. They just don’t want to interfere with their friends in the oil industry’s last few years of record profits. I believe that future generations will regard our calamitous failure to act against a disaster we knew was coming as the greatest failure of leadership in the 20th and 21st centuries, and possibly ever.
Oh, the Harper Government is still taking half-measures. They’re still preparing for a new debate on climate change, if one emerges. For example, they’ve created the Canada School of Energy and Environment, which is dedicated to funding research on climate change, clean energy, and what is ambiguously referred to as “technology commercialization.” And if you’re a small-government conservative who believes the first duty of government is to do nothing about climate change, who do you put in charge of your new Centre for Excellence in climate change research? A scientist? An engineer, maybe? Nope:
The answer is Bruce Carson. There’s no reason you should recognize his name. He is a Conservative Party insider, a mere partisan hack. Before 2008, he was Stephen Harper’s Director of Policy Research in the Opposition years, then Senior Policy Adviser after 2006. Obviously Harper intended to keep a very close watch on the climate change program to make sure it didn’t, you know, do anything actually independent. Naturally, once he showed up on the University of Calgary campus, fellow right-winger Jack Mintz was happy to snatch him up and make him a fellow at the corporate-funded School of Public Policy, too.
Sometimes, when you create a new institute, you put in a party loyalist as the head to keep up appearances, then you give him (or her) a deputy with actual subject matter experience. But the Conservatives didn’t do that, either. Carson’s deputy director is Zoe Addington. She is also a Conservative insider — industry minister Tony Clement’s policy director until 2009, and before him his predecessor in that office, Jim Prentice. I have to wonder what key political battles Addington and Carson lost to get saddled with a centre that the government clearly doesn’t want to succeed.Tweet