Stephen Harper

Sat, 2009-12-19 05:05Richard Littlemore
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Canada Demoted from "Honest Broker" to "Lunch Date"

There was a time - hell, there was half a century, beginning with the Nobel Prize-winning work of later-to-be-Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1956 - when Canada could be counted upon as an honest broker on the world stage. It was a country that you wanted at the negotiating table, because it could be relied upon to take a prinicpled position and because it had the capacity to exercise a little influence in the North American sphere. Uncle Sam has never had the capcity to listen closely but when Canada spoke, at least they listened.

Alas, apparently no longer. Regardless that Canada can surely claim status as a fossil fuel “super-polluter,” we Canada didn’t make the short list of five countries that actually negotiated the Copenhagen Accord. Canada didn’t even make the long list of 17 countries that U.S. President Barack Obama gathered around him when he first arrived at COP15.

But there was one list that Harper topped: a group of mostly second-and third tier nations whose leaders were just bursting to tell the folks back home that they’d met the U.S. President. Admittedly, Harper and Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres had met Obama before. But they were reduced to rubbing shoulders with former East Block “giants” like the presidents of Georgia and Montenegro.

Mon, 2009-12-14 15:59Richard Littlemore
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Document shows Canada removing emission restrictions

As if Canada’s performance on climate were not already the second worst among all countries surveyed by GermanWatch for the Global Climate Change Performance Index (we were aced for last place by Saudi Arabia), new documents discovered by the CBC show the Conservative government actually looking to WEAKEN the pathetic greenhouse gas emission limits that barely restrain the Alberta oil and gas sector.

The government, which has presented no plan to meet its humiliating target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by three per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, is now leaning toward giving the oil and gas sector even more room to pollute, leaving the responsibility for reducing emissions (should the country ever decide to do so) on individuals and businesses outside the industry that is primarily responsible.

As long as Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s oil patch buddies are making money, though, what can go wrong?

Tue, 2009-12-01 15:22Richard Littlemore
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Canadian Health Professionals Call for Climate Action

 The Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Nurses Association and the Canadian Federation of Medical Students have joined together to call on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put the health of the world’s citizens first at the upcoming UN climate summit in Copenhagen. All three organizations called on the federal government to to commit to science-based reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to help protect the world’s people from the disastrous human consequences of climate change.

“Canada’s physicians strongly believe that the health of the world’s population must be the central consideration when governments deliberate on public policy whether at home or abroad,” says Anne Doig, president of the Canadian Medical Association. “In Copenhagen, Canada must step up and take a collaborative approach for action on climate change.

Mon, 2009-05-11 14:51Mitchell Anderson
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The Stephen Harper War on Climate Science

The government of Prime Minster Stephen Harper just appointed two “climate skeptics” with connections to the oil industry to important federal scientific bodies. The scientific community is appalled.

Mark Mullins, Executive Director of the right wing Fraser Institute has just been installed on the board of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which funds university research projects including studies on climate change.

The Fraser Institute has a long history of unethical tactics around the so-called climate debate. Desmog blog readers will remember their ham handed attempts to discredit the largest peer-review exercise in scientific history, including a video targeted at youth. They have so-far received $120,000 from ExxonMobil.

Mullins (trained as an economist) makes no bones about his understanding of climate science: “the climate-change issue is somewhat sensational and definitely exaggerated.” You can listen to his entire wacky podcast here.

Besides his complete lack of scientific expertise, his obvious political bias and of course potential conflict with his current employer, Mullins does have one significant qualification important to the Harper government: his was a former policy advisor for Harper’s former party, the Canadian Alliance.

The other jaw-dropping intervention in the Canadian scientific community was the appointment of Harper’s “best friend” and climate denier John Weissenberger to the board of Canada Foundation for Innovation, which funds large research projects.

This is the second time that Harper picked a plum for his old buddy. In 2007, he appalled political observers by quietly appointing Weissenberger to be chief of staff to the Minister for Citizenship and Immigration.

Fri, 2009-02-20 14:08Kevin Grandia
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President Obama's best strategy for Harper and Climate Change

This just might be the soundest strategy for US President Obama to employ when dealing with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the issue of climate change and greenhouse gas reduction.

obama-harper-hand-climate-change

Tue, 2009-01-13 23:17Jim Hoggan
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Canada to study economic impact of climate change

It’s hard to know whether to celebrate or to weep.

CanWest News Services reporter Mike de Souza has learned that the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is calling for a lightning fast (eight-week), bargain basement ($40,000) report on the potential economic impacts of climate change in Canada.

We certainly laud the Prime Minister’s sudden interest, but if this is anything more than a public relations exercise designed to lobby the anti-science cohort in his own caucus, it is an affront - so terribly inadequate to the task as to only further humiliate Canada on the international stage.

Wed, 2008-10-15 09:44Richard Littlemore
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Change your leaders: Take II

Congratulations today to Stephen Harper, who has convinced a critical plurality of Canadians that he is more capable of leading the country through difficult economic times than Liberal leader Stephane Dion would have been.

Returning to belligerent reality, however, it's clear that Canadians who care about climate change have their work cut out for them. In his excellent new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman says:

“It is much more important to change your leaders than your lightbulbs.”

Having passed up this opportunity to change our leaders, the only option now is for Canadians to get those leaders to change.

Thu, 2008-10-09 15:11Richard Littlemore
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Jack Layton: Captain of the team to re-elect Stephen Harper

If Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper is re-elected next week as Canadian prime minister, he will owe the biggest vote of gratitude to the New Democratic Party and its leader Jack Layton.

There has been comment enough about the lack-luster performance of Harper's most dangerous opponent, Liberal leader Stephane Dion, but the Liberals aren't losing this election because Dion lacks charisma. The Liberals are losing because the NDP has pushed tax-averse voters into Stephen Harper's lap.

Fri, 2008-09-26 13:27Richard Littlemore
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Economists Denounce Harper "Climate Plan"

Conservative policy “highly likely” to fail

Three top economists, led by Dr. Mark Jaccard of Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, have released an analysis (attached) of the Conservative government's climate policy, saying that, as designed, the might make no headway whatever in reducing Canadian CO2 emissions.

Jaccard and fellow economists Nic Rivers and Jotham Peters, say the Tory plan is particularly faulty on two counts: it sets “intensity targets” that allow allow absolute emissions to continue going up, and it allows companies to purchase “offset” that completely absolve the firm of making any CO2 reductions itself. Both of these policies are proven failures in actually limiting or reducing the total emission of CO2.

Thu, 2008-09-25 09:44Richard Littlemore
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Cynical New Democrats playing into Harper's hands

Canada's New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton continues to opt for cheap partisan opportunism over sound environmental policy - most recently decrying the British Columbia carbon tax as “unfair for ordinary working families” and tying it to Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper.

There was a time when the NDP had real credibility as Canada's most environmentally conscious party - a position that they have given over, apparently in equal parts, to the Green party and to Stephane Dion's Liberals.

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