Rona is a good MP, a good politician, and a good Minister. Many of the problems she has had in the Environment portfolio aren't of her own making, and (to her credit!) she hasn't moaned about it at all, she's just stood up day after day to be crucified by the opposition, environmental groups, and the media. This mess isn't her fault, and getting a new face in the Minister's seat will give the Tories a chance to re-boot the message and try to spin it another way. Same (far from perfect) plan, different communications strategy.
The ironic part about all of this, is that she's doing a better job than the government that was in power BEFORE this one, and most of her criticism is coming on behalf of that same party.
Let's review: The Conservative have plans to set emission targets by a certain date. A date that is, admittedy, so far in the distance that even Rona herself will be nearing retirement age. But, there IS a plan, however flawed it may be.
The Liberals, during their stay in government, offered precious little other than platitudes and lip service to the issue of Greenhouse emissions. They talked about how bad they were, about how evil we all were for idling our cars in the winter, about how Greenhouse Gases kidnapped the Lindberg Baby... but they DID absolutely NOTHING, other than sign the Kyoto Accords, frame them in an office somewhere on Parliament Hill, and do absolutely JACK to meet the targets, other than pay Rick Mercer to scold us all.
Tell me to lose 10 pounds, and I'll at least know what I have to do. Reduce my emissions by 1 tonne? What's THAT going to take? So much for Chili night...
The Liberals were either so out-to-lunch on Greenhouse Gases, or thought so little of the average Canadian's grasp of environmental issues, that when they signed the Kyoto Accord, they had a group of children bring a big Santa-sack of asthma inhalers to Uncle Jean's throne, where (coincidentally) the media were all assembled, to give the inhalers to St. Jean for magically healing all of the juvenile asthma in Canada. By signing something that said Greenhouse Gases were bad. The ones that melt the ice caps. Global warming. Not smog. Not air pollutants. Not asthma. Greenhouse gases.
Of course, the media ate it up, as though children routinely walked across the nation collecting all of the asthma inhalers that are no longer needed because Botswana sold us emission credits and lugged them, in a big sack, to the Prime Minister's Office.Happens all the time. Totally believable. Makes perfect sense. Except for one teeny, tiny little thing...
KYOTO has JACK ALL to do with AIR POLLUTION and ASTHMA. It's about Greenhouse gases and global warming, period. The Conservatives admit that global warming exists, and generally agree that it's probably, at least partially, the fault of man. So we're already doing better than American conservatives. They're introducing targets, however flawed, to reduce our greenhouse emissions, and also setting targets for air pollution. You know, the crap in the air that ACTUALLY causes Asthma?
The Conservative plan is not perfect, but it's a plan... the Liberals offered nothing but photo ops and platitudes while in power, so shame on them for pretending to be holier-than-Steve on this issue. Are the current Liberal policies on the Environment more "green" than the Tories? Perhaps... but where the Liberals offered only pretty words, the Tories actually offered us a PLAN, in less than one year. And however flawed that plan may be, it's better than nothing, which is exactly what Chretien and Martin gave us in 13 years.