By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 0 Comments
After the National Roundtable released its report on January 7, 2008—see yesterday’s post—John Baird met with reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons to respond. Here is a transcript of that news conference, emphasis mine.
Reporter: So the NRTEE says carbon tax or a cap and trade system on that idea alone. Is your government ready to consider a carbon tax?
Baird: No. Not at all. What we are prepared to do is we believe that we have to put a price on carbon. That’s what our regulatory regime does. We’re regulating mandatory reductions for all the big polluters in the country. They’re going to have to reduce their emissions significantly by 2010 and then constant improvement. We think that’s the best way to go. There will be many compliance mechanisms. The first are real and deep reductions in the carbon that’s emitted by Canadian industry. And then we’ve said we’re keen and enthusiastic about trading, not just within Canada but working with the United States, with Mexico, with states like California and others. Anyone who wants to trade in North America. So we’re very keen on that.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 18, 2012 at 12:52 PM - 0 Comments
Talking to the House this weekend, Peter Kent discussed the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy and carbon pricing (emphasis mine).
Peter Kent: … One major point of disagreement with the National Roundtable report was, it again recommended carbon pricing. And I’ve got to say again, our government is not going to impose a carbon tax on Canadians…
Evan Solomon: But they’re not saying carbon tax. To be fair, they said it could be a price on carbon, which could be a cap-and-trade. They have not said or recommended, quite specifically, a carbon tax at all.
Peter Kent: Carbon pricing in any form is a carbon tax, because to be a realistic dollar figure, it would get Canadians at the gas pump for example, and right across the economy, but at the gas pump, it would get us to where Europeans are.
Evan Solomon: But you know they have one in Alberta, provincially. They have a $15 a tonne, it goes to a fund, nonetheless it’s a price on carbon.
Peter Kent: But that will do nothing to get GHG actual emissions down. The carbon market in Europe is under $10 a tonne, half of what it was when they began that market. The EU is no longer issuing. It’s a volatile market, which is probably the most unstable market in the world … we believe that the emitters who are regulated are the ones who will actually get emissions down.
During the 2008 campaign, the Conservatives loudly opposed a carbon tax, while promising to pursue a continental cap-and-trade system. But, according to the Environment Minister, a carbon tax and cap-and-trade are the same thing.
Continental cap-and-trade wasn’t merely a campaign promise either. The Harper government repeated the promise in its 2008 Throne Speech. Jim Prentice identified continental cap-and-trade as an exciting opportunity in November 2008. Mr. Prentice then referenced it in his December 2008 speech to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. In September 2009, Mr. Prentice lobbied the Alberta government on the virtues of cap-and-trade. And, in December 2009, the Harper government claimed to be “working in collaboration with the provinces and territories to develop a cap and trade system that will ultimately be aligned with the emerging cap and trade program in the United States.”
Peter Kent ran, unsuccessfully, as a Conservative candidate in 2008. Presumably, he endorsed the party’s platform. Even if he didn’t, as recently as last May, the Environment Minister allowed that cap-and-trade “can always be something to consider in the future.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 11:59 AM - 0 Comments
On its way out of town—clause 183 of the budget bill eliminates it—the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy releases one last report.
The report shows that Canada is making significant progress toward its 2020 target but will not get there with only existing and proposed climate policy measures by all governments. More precisely, the NRT found that:
-Combining all existing and proposed federal, provincial and territorial climate policies and actions would lead to a reduction of 104 Mt CO2e in 2020, which represents almost 50% of the required emission reductions to meet Canada’s target of 607 Mt CO2e in 2020 – but an emissions gap of 117 Mt CO2e remains.
-Provincial policies are driving the largest portion of emission reductions to date – 75% of all emission reductions by 2020 – although the federal portion should rise to approximately a third by 2030.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 1:49 PM - 0 Comments
The former Conservative MP has concerns about the Harper government’s environmental policies.
“I always thought that ‘conserve’ was part of the Conservative mantra, but I might be wrong,” Mills said at a news conference organized by Green party leader Elizabeth May. “Stephen Harper puts other priorities, I think, ahead of the environment, and I think that’s a mistake.”
Mr. Mills was appointed to the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy in 2009 by former environment minister Jim Prentice.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM - 0 Comments
Pressed this afternoon to explain John Baird’s linking of the National Roundtable’s demise to its support for a carbon tax, Environment Minister Peter Kent seemed to distance himself from Mr. Baird’s comments.
Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Foreign Affairs is entitled to his opinions.
Rising next, the NDP’s Matthew Kellway briefly took notice of this before proceeding with his own question.
Mr. Speaker, I think I see tire tracks across the back of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, May 14, 2012 at 6:56 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Thomas Mulcair challenged the government side to live up to the principles Stephen Harper once championed and so John Baird stood and claimed a different high road altogether.
“Mr. Speaker, this Prime Minister, this Minister of Finance and this government are focused like a laser on the economy,” he assured the House. “They are focused on economic growth, job creation and not on partisan games.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister proceeded then to lament that the NDP’s Peter Julian had spoken for too long in response to the Finance Minister’s budget speech.
A moment later, Bob Rae stood to review the budget bill one clause at a time. “Mr. Speaker, under these proposed budget changes, the Inspector General of CSIS will be gone,” he reviewed from a piece of paper he held in front of him. “The Centre for Rights and Democracy will be gone. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy will be gone. The First Nations Statistical Institute will be gone. The Governance Institute will be gone. The National Aboriginal Health Organization will be gone. The National Council of Welfare will be gone, environmental assessment will be gutted, Parks Canada will be gutted and old age security will be gutted.”
There was some degree of mumbling and grumbling from the government side. Mr. Rae proceeded to his point. “These are basic protections for Canadians. These are basic ways in which Canadians have rights and governments do not have all the rights,” he explained. “When will the government learn it is taking the wrong path?”
The question was rather rhetorical and the answer surpassed the question in this regard. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 2, 2012 at 5:59 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Kirsty Duncan rose and reminded the Environment Minister of what he had said three days ago.
“Mr. Speaker, last week the Minister of the Environment said of the Round Table on the Environment and the Economy: ‘It was created before the Internet when there were few such sources of domestic independent research and analysis on sustainable development.’ This is no longer the case. There are now any number of organizations and university-based services that provide those services.”
“Very well,” the Liberal MP said, pausing for a moment as if about to say something quite dramatic.
“Can the minister name these organizations and services?” she finally asked.
Peter Kent stood here, not to answer Ms. Duncan’s question, but instead to essentially repeat what Ms. Duncan had just said he said. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 2, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
The opposition frets that budget cuts target important sources of information, including the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy. Environment Minister Peter Kent is apparently unconcerned.
Mr. Speaker, our government appreciates and has thanked the round table for its service over the years for any number of reports addressing environmental issues. However, the reality is that the round table was created a quarter of a century ago. It was created before the Internet, when there were few such sources of domestic, independent research and analysis on sustainable development. That is simply no longer the case. There are now any number of organizations and university based services that provide those services.
When the National Roundtable was founded in 1988, Brian Mulroney appointed David Johnston to be its first chairman. And two years ago, Mr. Johnston, as Governor General, celebrated the National Roundtable’s work. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, April 20, 2009 at 6:09 PM - 28 Comments
The Scene. In the 15 minutes between 2 o’clock and the start of Question Period, three different Conservatives were sent up to demonstrate their loyalty to the cause.
“Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party sure loves taxes,” sang Candice Hoeppner.
“This is a very troubling revelation and it should have Canadians worried,” moaned Bruce Stanton.
“The Liberals want to make Canada the most taxed country in the world,” reported Ron Cannan, who took the opportunity to compare some recently reported remarks of Michael Ignatieff’s to an earthquake in Italy this month that killed nearly 300 people and left tens of thousands homeless.
Ignatieff’s side balked and squawked at this last comment. Then their leader stood and offered the day’s first question. “Mr. Speaker, the government is presiding over the worst collapse in employment on record, 300,000 jobs lost in the first three months of 2009. Mayors and municipal councillors I spoke to in southwestern Ontario last week were promised federal help months ago to create jobs. It has not arrived. When will help arrive?” he wondered. ”What additional measures will the minister offer to protect jobs in a recession which the Minister of Finance has finally acknowledged is serious?”
The Prime Minister was away, as were both the Finance Minister and the Finance Minister’s parliamentary secretary. So up came John Baird, who took the opportunity to ignore the question and instead offer a few thoughts on the airplane scare in Montego Bay. Continue…