What became apparent over the duration of the House of Commons Environment Committee meeting was that Minister Leona Aglukkaq's grasp of her file is very limited. Her responses were vague and evasive, and left my NDP colleagues and I as much in the dark on her priorities when she left as we'd been before she came. Here are a few highlights -- or lowlights, as the case may be.
Once again, Canada's Conservatives are bound and determined to roll right over, close their eyes and sleep through the alarm bells on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) most recent assessment is a reminder of the urgency of addressing global warming, and the dangers of ignoring rising sea levels and increasing temperatures. In contrast, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in response that the newest report released by the IPCC is a wake-up call, and "those who deny the science or choose excuses over action are playing with fire." Our largest trading partner gets it. So where's Canada's government on this critical environmental and economic issue?
The NDP recognizes that we need action on climate change and we are the only party to have advanced legislation to commit Canada to the reductions required to avoid a two-degree rise in temperatures. But the Conservatives and Liberals chose to vote against the NDP motion that addressed Canadians' concerns.
If the Earth were in distress, say, heating up to dangerous temperatures, the public would band together. We'd all scrutinize the problem to help climate scientists and environment ministers find a solution... wouldn't we? Many people wouldn't. When the issues are really complicated, some would avoid the crisis altogether.