Volume 96, Issue 6
Friday September 6, 2002

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Chretien's Kyoto is just plain dirty

From the Far Lane
Emmett Macfarlane

News Editor

Jean Chrétien's apparent decision to ratify the Kyoto protocol by the end of the year came as a surprise to just about everyone. It put smiles on many a tree-huggers' face – after all, any step to protect the environment and curb global warning simply has to be positive.

Unfortunately, those smiles belong to people who haven't put too much thought into Mr. Chrétien's latest spur-of-the-moment declaration. For anyone who hasn't realized it yet, right after announcing his 2004 retirement, Chrétien traded in his lust for power for his desire of a legacy. Since he hasn't accomplished much in the last nine years as prime minister, I guess he settled on Kyoto as a starting point. But, if Chrétien truly cared about the environment, he wouldn't have talked out of both sides of his mouth on Kyoto for years.

Second, as much as I hate to slap a smile off anyone's face, Canada ratifying Kyoto will not have the slightest impact on the environment. The most positive thing it will do is allow Canadians to give themselves a pat on the back while looking south at the pollution-spewing US with disdain.

Perhaps the most frightening aspect of the Chrétien legacy grab is the fact that the Liberal government has no plan for implementing the Kyoto restrictions. It doesn't take an economist to realize that cutting fossil fuel emissions by 20 to 30 per cent is going to cost a lot of money.

Chrétien would surely argue that most Canadians support ratification of the accord. While it is true most Canadians are concerned about global warming, do Canadians truly support the implementation of the Kyoto? Absolutely not, because not even Chrétien knows how it will be implemented.

With no plan on exactly how emissions will be cut, without the promised consultation of the provinces or even the support of the entire Liberal caucus, Chrétien, as per usual, is doing things ass-backwards.

Kyoto advocates argue the accord is a step in the right direction, even if the United States turns a blind eye to the global warming issue. Some even say ratifying Kyoto makes Canada an international leader, but in reality, the opposite is true. As Canada spends itself into a recession, the US will keep polluting.

Call me a cynic, but if you take a drop of oil out of the barrel, you've still got a barrel of oil.

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