Sunday, August 27, 2006

Elizabeth May! Hooray!

OK - I'm paraphrasing from my 22 month old daughter, who's been adding the word 'hooray' after many things lately (as in, Oatmeal! Hooray!, etc.) - but I really was excited to see Elizabeth May win the leadership of the Green Party this weekend.

In particular, I'm hoping that she can kick-start a serious national discussion of how to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and do our part to slow global warming. Following her victory on Saturday, she said

We must stand up to the big lie that Canada cannot meet its Kyoto targets.(From the Globe and Mail)

Those are fighting words! According to May, she'll be "holding policy sessions across the country and calling on experts to put together a comprehensive platform with new ideas." I can't wait to see the results.

As a party, the Liberals seem to be hamstrung by the idea that anything serious they put forward will be labeled the National Energy Program Mark II by the Tories. However, Stephane Dion, and Michael Ignatieff both have interesting things to say.

In an excellent column in the Montreal Gazette, Henry Aubin writes:
Meanwhile, two Liberal leadership contenders have pulled away from the pack as far as this issue goes - Dion, with his call for mandatory controls, and Michael Ignatieff, with his candid talk of a carbon tax.

And I'm sure we're all eagerly anticipating the Tories' "Green Plan II"! Aubin says in his column:

Will it ruffle Alberta's feathers? If it doesn't, the plan won't be serious. Harper's home province, with the second-largest oil reserves in the world after Saudi Arabia, is the heart of the problem. The plan will demonstrate whether the prime minister - a la Nixon goes to China - can sell mandatory limits on greenhouse-gas emissions to his power base or whether, true to form, he mollycoddles it with voluntary measures.

The NDP also has quite a detailed plan on dealing with climate change and other environmental issues. They just need to do a better job getting the word out on it.

It seems that we have lots of good ideas out there. Unfortunately, according to David Suzuki, many people still don't understand the problem, or what we should do about it. The Suzuki Foundation conducted a focus group on global warming. Suzuki says:
Apparently, according to the average Joe, global warming is happening because we've created a hole in the ozone layer, allowing the sun's rays to enter the atmosphere and heat up the earth - or something like that. The cause of the problem is cars, or airplanes, or aerosol cans. No one really knows for sure.

We desperately need to increase the visibility and level of debate on this topic. I'm hoping that by adding Elizabeth May to the mix of voices on our national stage, the Greens will do just that.

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