Up until now I refused to jump on the "Stephane Dion is not a leader" bandwagon waiting instead to see what this guy could really do ... up until now that is. If the recent vote on Kyoto in the House of Commons is any indication my question has been answered.
The opposition parties ganged up on Harper's minority Conservative government ramming through a private members bill introduced by Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez in an attempt to force the government to meet Canada's commitment to the Kyoto accord as well as come up with a plan on how they will do so within 60 days. The bill passed by a vote of 161 to 113.
That the Liberals are suddenly concerned with global warming and the Kyoto accord is just a tad hypocritical. Let's take a walk down memory lane. Under the treaty, which the previous Liberal administration agreed to, Canada has an obligation to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 6% below 1990 levels. Under that same Liberal regime Canada's greenhouse gas emissions have risen to almost 35% above that target! Despite all the enviro-talk and cozy photo-ops the Liberals failed miserably to meet the objectives they themselves agreed to. Look at those numbers again - not only did the Liberals fail to bring emissions down by 6% below 1990 levels, emissions have risen 35% above the target under their watch! And they suddenly have the audacity to force the Conservatives to not only comply with the accord but to do so within 60 days? What the hell were they doing for 10 years when they were in power aside from engaging in secret meetings in Italian restaurants and exchanging brown envelopes? They dragged their feet on the issue when they were in power because they knew the specified targets were unrealistic and could not be met.
If this is Stephane Dion's idea of leadership he has much to learn.
No one has suggested PM Stephen Harper is not serious about pollution control. In fact the Conservatives are currently drafting legislation to that effect. But they realize that the targets as set out in Kyoto are unachievable just as the Liberals knew it when they formed the government.
There is even talk that the Conservatives may altogether ignore the legislation if it passes a vote in the Senate. I'm not sure that that is such a great idea but once again the Liberal hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Because the bill has not been declared a "money bill," it is not a confidence matter therefore not really binding at least in the sense of a potential election call. This has the Liberals in an uproar crying the government should respect the will of the House whether the vote is binding or not. Isn't this exactly what they did not very long ago? Remember when the Liberals lost a vote in the House then refused to step down saying it wasn't binding? Then Paul Martin had the nerve to appear on national television during his infamous AdScam address telling us all how he has respect for the institution of Parliament?
All of this may be academic anyway as some are suggesting an election call may be looming on the horizon. If so I can hardly wait.
[cross posted to Rite Turn Only]